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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Peacock (Peafowl)

                               Peacock (Peafowl)

              
     The male Indian Peacock.The elongated upper tail coverts make up the train of the Indian peacock.

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Galliformes
Family - Phasianidae
Subfamily - Phasianinae
Genus - Pavo

Species:

Pavo cristatus
Pavo muticus

Description: 

The male (peacock) Indian Peafowl has iridescent blue-green or green coloured plumage. The peacock tail ("train") is not the tail quill feathers but the highly elongated upper tail coverts. The "eyes" are best seen when the peacock fans its tail. Like a cupped hand behind the ear the erect tail-fan of the male helps direct sound to the ears. Both species have a crest atop the head. The female (peahen) Indian Peafowl has a mixture of dull green, brown, and grey in her plumage. She lacks the long upper tail coverts of the male but has a crest. The female can also display her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young.


The Green Peafowl appears different from the Indian Peafowl. The male has green and gold plumage and has an erect crest. The wings are black with a sheen of blue. Unlike the Indian Peafowl, the Green Peahen is similar to the male, only having shorter upper tail coverts and less iridescence. It is difficult to tell a juvenile male from an adult female.



                                                                   The Male Green Peafowl (i).



                                       
                                                                      The Male Green Peafowl (ii).

As with many birds, vibrant plumage colours are not primarily pigments, but optical interference Bragg reflections, based on regular, periodic nanostructures of the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers. Slight changes to the spacing result in different colours. Brown feathers are a mixture of red and blue: one colour is created by the periodic structure, and the other is a created by a Fabry–Pérot interference peak from reflections from the outer and inner boundaries. Such interference-based structural colour is important for the peacock's iridescent hues that change and shimmer with viewing angle, since unlike pigments, interference effects depend on light angle.


Colour mutations exist through selective breeding, such as the leucistic White Peafowl and the Black-Shouldered Peafowl.

Behaviour:

The peafowl are forest birds that nest on the ground but roost in trees. They are terrestrial feeders.
Both species of Peafowl are believed to be polygamous. However, it has been suggested that "females" entering a male Green Peafowl's territory are really his own juvenile or sub-adult young (K. B. Woods in lit. 2000) and that Green Peafowl are really monogamous in the wild. The male peacock flares out his feathers when he is trying to get the female's attention.
During the mating season they will often emit a very loud high-pitched cry. They also travel in hunting packs between ten and ninety.

                    

Diet:


Peafowl are omnivorous and eat most plant parts, flower petals, seed heads, insects and other arthropods, reptiles, and amphibians.
 
In common with other members of the Galliformes, males possess metatarsal spurs or "thorns" used primarily during intraspecific fights.



Presence:

Peafowl have left captivity and developed permanent, free-roaming populations in India, Japan, and England



                                        The "ocellate" tail coverts of a peacock.


Cultural significance:


In Hinduism, the Peacock is associated with Saraswati, a deity representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and knowledge. Peacock is also the mount of Hindu God of war Murugan. The peacock is the steed of Kartikay, the brother of Ganesha. Similar to Saraswati, the Peacock is associated with Kwan-yin in Asian spirituality. Kwan-yin (or Quan Yin) is also an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, good-will, nurturing, and kind-heartedness. Legend tells us she chose to remain a mortal even though she could be immortal because she wished to stay behind and aid humanity in their spiritual evolution.


MuruganIn Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock is identified with the goddess Hera (Juno). The eyes upon the peacock's tail comes from Argus whose hundred eyes were placed upon the peacock's feathers by the goddess in memory of his role as the guard of Io, a lover of Zeus that Hera had punished. The eyes are said to symbolize the vault of heaven and the "eyes" of the stars.

Photo: Peacock with bright feathers
In Babylonia and Persia the Peacock is seen as a guardian to royalty, and is often seen in engravings upon the thrones of royalty.

In Christianity, the peacock is an ancient symbol of eternal life.[6] The Peacock symbolism represents the "all-seeing" church, along with the holiness and sanctity associated with it. Additionally, the Peacock represents resurrection, renewal and immortality within the spiritual teachings of Christianity. Themes of renewal are also linked to alchemical traditions to, as many schools of thought compare the resurrecting phoenix to the modern-day Peacock.


Melak Ta’us, the Yazidi Peacock AngelMelek Taus (ملك طاووس - Kurdish Tawûsê Melek), the Peacock Angel, is the Yazidi name for the central figure of their faith. The Yazidi consider Tawûsê Melek an emanation of God and a benevolent angel who has redeemed himself from his fall and has become a demiurge who created the cosmos from the Cosmic egg. After he repented, he wept for 7,000 years, his tears filling seven jars, which then quenched the fires of hell. In art and sculpture, Tawûsê Melek is depicted as a peacock. However, peacocks are not native to the lands where Tawûsê Melek is worshipped.


                                                            The Indian Male Peacock.

                                            The Indian Male Peacock (White).


In 1956, John J. Graham created an abstraction of an eleven-feathered peacock logo for American broadcaster NBC. This brightly hued peacock was adopted due to the increase in colour programming. NBC's first colour broadcasts showed only a still frame of the colourful peacock. The emblem made its first on-air appearance on May 22, 1956.[7] The current version of the logo debuted in 1986 and has six feathers (yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green).

A stylized peacock in full display is the logo for the Pakistan Television Corporation



Two Different species:


• Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus, a resident breeder in South Asia. The peacock is designated as the national bird of India and the provincial bird of Punjab.



• Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus. Breeds from Burma east to Java. The IUCN lists the Green Peafowl as vulnerable to extinction due to hunting and a reduction in extent and quality of habitat.

 

 Refer Posts Indian Peafowl & Green Peafowl for more details.

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