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Where did peacocks originate?

Updated April 17, 2017

Originally birds that only the wealthy could afford, and then becoming popular with zoos and public gardens, peacocks have now become fairly common in rural areas, where they're raised as companions and for their feathers, which they shed in the autumn.

Native range

The common peafowl, also known as the blue or Indian peafowl, is native to southern India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka , where large wild populations still thrive.

Current range

In addition to their native habitat, blue peafowl have established feral colonies throughout the world, including large populations in California, Hawaii and New Zealand.

Mythology

The peafowl appears in Indian Hindu belief as closely linked to the god Kartikeya, who is said to ride on the bird's back. The peacock is also mentioned in Greek myths.

History

Evidence shows that Phoenician traders brought blue peacocks as gifts to the pharaohs of Egypt as long ago as 1000 B.C. When they were relatively rare, peacocks remained popular ornamental birds among wealthy classes in the Middle East and Europe.

Breeding

Selective breeding has introduced varieties of Indian peafowl not seen in the wild, including ten different colour varieties ranging from white to bronze, and five different marking patterns, such as barred wings.

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About the Author

Yvette Clark has been working as a freelance writer and writing teacher for over 10 years, specializing in animal, nutrition and lifestyle topics. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.