The majestic peacock is considered a colourful bird, maybe not just for his brilliant hues. To the people of India, this easily recognised member of the pheasant family might appear as a bit of a show-off when prancing in flamboyant style and unfurling his elongated tail feathers to signify impending rain. According to the Indif.com India Facts website, a peacock displays his tail at the sight of clouds darkening the sky.
Only the males are called peacocks; females are referred to as peahens. Unlike their male counterparts, females lack the male's tail, with its stunning blue and green plumage displaying shiny, eye-shaped markings of red, blue and gold called "ocelli." These birds now inhabit much of Mexico and the United States and are indigenous to India and Sri Lanka.
According to the National Geographic website, peacock tail feathers, or coverts, fan out into an elaborate train equivalent to more than 60 per cent of the bird's body length. To catch the attention of a peahen, the peacock uses his tail feathers to lift and splay his feather train into an arc that is 6 to 7 feet wide and over 3 feet high. A female's choice of mate depends on the colour, size and quality of the feather train. If a peacock is successful in his attempt to charm a peahen, he shimmies and shakes his tail feathers.
Although a pet peacock is admired for his vivid colours, the bird emits harsh vocal sounds that contradict his stunning appearance. Pet peacocks can be irascible and may not get along well with other birds.
Predators -- such as stray dogs, tigers, leopards and mongooses -- can easily spot the colourful plumage of a peacock. The bird, however, can make a quick getaway, because a peacock's feathers simply dislodge from his body when met with resistance, according to the San Diego Zoo website.
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