Life cycle of a peacock
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Tony
Possessing a span of feathers that are intended to impress, peacocks are one of the most ornamental of birds. There are several subspecies of this member of the pheasant family, each featuring different colour combinations; some are all white.
The name peacock is more correctly used to describe the male, while the female is the peahen.
In the wild, peacocks can live about 20 years. In captivity, they have been reported by some breeders to live between 40 and 50 years.
The male peacock uses his iridescent, multi-hued tail in courtship displays to attract a mate. Females may pick their mates based on the size and quality of a particular display. Male peacocks will gather a harem of several females if available.
Once mating has occurred, the peahen will lay a clutch of three to six eggs. She will incubate them for about 29 days with no help from the male.
The newly hatched chicks are born with flight feathers and are able to fly short distances within three days of hatching. The chicks stay with the peahen for the first few months, learning what to eat, how to care for their feathers and how to communicate with other peacocks.
Peacocks are almost fully grown within a year. Two-year-olds resemble adult males but their tails do not have the characteristic eyes, or ocelli. They become sexually active at about 3 years of age.
Peahens mature earlier than males and some mate when they are 1 year old. Others wait until the second year.