For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peacock

Peacocks were introduced to South Africa by the first British settlers and became a status symbol for the rich and famous. They are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails. These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful "eye" markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird's back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.
The term "peacock" is commonly used to refer to birds of both sexes. Technically, only males are peacocks. Females are peahens, and together, they are called peafowl.

Suitable males may gather harems of several females, each of which will lay three to five eggs. In fact, wild peafowl often roost in forest trees and gather in groups called parties.
Peacocks are ground-feeders that eat insects, plants, and small creatures. There are two familiar peacock species. The blue peacock lives in India and Sri Lanka, while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). A more distinct and little-known species, the Congo peacock, inhabits African rain forests.

Peafowl such as the blue peacock have been admired by humans and kept as pets for thousands of years. Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations, but wild birds are themselves bursting with vibrant hues. They can be testy and do not mix well with other domestic birds.
Their lifespan is about 20 years and on average weigh 8.75 to 13 lbs (4 to 6 kg) with the males tail growing up to 5 feet.

Did you know? A male peafowl is one of the largest flying birds when the combined length of its train and its large wingspan are considered.
The picture below is of a young male just starting to get its green feathers on his back. I find the combination of colors interesting.

36 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

We had peacocks on the farm in Zimbabwe, the noise used to send me crackers:) Diane

Firefly said...

I did a post on the peacocks at St Georges Hospital here in PE the other day, but I didn't know much about the actual bird.

JM said...

I find peacocks as extraordinary as the birds of paradise. The thing is we are so used to them that sometimes you just don't pay attention enough.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thats what I always remember about them too from my childhood Diane. You culd always hear them miles away and most annoying too!! :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I went to a farm with a friend this weekend and they were there so could not resist taking a few photographs. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

How right you are Jose. So much is taken for granted because we see them too often and they become everyday like your lizard. :)

Mary said...

Peacocks are such gorgeous creatures. It doesn't seem fair for one bird to have so much beauty :-) Their colors just amaze, although I've seen white ones that are beautiful, too.

troutbirder said...

Practically speaking, one long strand from a peacock tail feather, rapped around a small hook is irresistable to a trout. Just saying!

JRandSue said...

Love the deep rich colours,also love your Macro images.

birdy said...

You presented the peacock very beautifully; with some interesting information.

Anna said...

Hey Joan I hope few things about peacocks will come way in my life time, lol, seeing the male to open his tale again, I saw once 20 years ago, and never again. Always have my camera ready when at the zoo. We also have white one too. They like to sit on the trees too, up high, I remember one day sitting under the tree, and next thing this big think lands just beside me. So what's second, to see them in flight, somethings I just cannot see that they can actually fly, and one of them is peacock.

Joan as always very interesting and educational post, thanks again. Nice photos. Anna :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Mary, I always love the tails but was surprised to learn how much it weighs. I have seen the white ones too and took a picture of one with the post I did on the Casino but it is not near as beautiful as this.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! You have a one track mind TB .... fishing!! I have to agree with you though, it would make a great fly. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks John and Sue. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Birdy. You must see them quite often and I was wondering if there are still many found in the wild?

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Anna. I am sure that must have given you a fright. :) I know I would have got one if one landed beside me like that. To be honest I do not ever remeber seeing one flying? You are right, I do not see how it could get that great big body off the ground but like most big birds, I suppose it just does short distances and keep close to the ground.

Vagabonde said...

I have taken pictures of peacocks but did not know that much about them. I did not realize that they lived that long. Another informative post – thank you.

Gaelyn said...

The Peafowl are so marvelous in iridescent colors yet can be quite aggressive and mean.

Actually the condors' current two nests north of the park along the Vermilion Cliffs, not far from the release site, will mean 8 wild born in AZ.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Vagebonde. It is always interesting to do research and come up with such interestng info.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

That is wonderful news Gaelyn. Are they being monitored? What about those under the bridge?

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Joan: They are so beautiful when they strut for the ladies.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

No wonder they say "as proud as a peackock" but I would hate to have to drag that tail behind me all day. :) Thanks Tom.

Craig Glenn said...

I had no idea you were so rich bug lady!

Craig Glenn

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Someone just told me that our streets here are paved in gold and diamonds so I must be because I pick them up as I walk. LOL!! I wish!! Thanks Craig.

Philip said...

These are beautiful Birds Joan every time I see them "struting their stuff" I always have the wrong lens on LoL !!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Typical of our luck sometimes Philip. :) They wouldn't display for me either as it was probably too cold and also not mating season so they do not need to impress the girls. :)

Gaelyn said...

All the released condor's were numbered tags with radios so are very well monitored. The young wild ones will be captured and tagged in about a year. The condor's just roost under the bridge, often hiding in the afternoon shade. And they love to play in the river below.

The Early Birder said...

An absolutely gorgeous species in its own right. Lovely post Joan.
P.S. Sorry I've been away so long.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

That seems like a great program Gaelyn. I thought those under the bridge had babies with them but maybe they were already fledgelings.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Wonderful to hear from you again Frank. I missed you. Where have you been? :)

The Early Birder said...

Hi Joan. Not far, just walking, watching and snapping. With an ever growing reading list I have found it impossible to keep up with everyone day by day. I have been keeping an eye on you even if I haven't left a note. Like the snail I need to take a slower pace from time to time.
Take care. FAB.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It being summer, I thought you might have been away Frank. I have so many projects on the go, I do not have much time right now either and have cut down on my blogs because of it too. I hope to be finished with most things in about a months time then I can get back to normal. Take care too Frank. I always love hearing from you.

Rambling Woods said...

Male birds are so often more colorful than the females....

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are right Michelle, the females in most bird species are dull and uninteresting. Thank goodness in humans it is the other way around. :)

Becky and Gary said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous birds, and I wonder where the white ones come from. Love their cry!
B.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Nowdays they seem to find one which is different in color because of the lack of a gene in it and then they try to breed them from there. They can be really noisy at times. :) Thanks Becky.