The Indian peafowl is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
Taxonomic source(s)Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International. Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.
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In captivity, birds have been known to live for 23 years but it is estimated that they live for only about 15 years in the wild.
Cross between a male green peafowl, Pavo muticus and a female Indian peafowl, P. cristatus, produces a stable hybrid called a "spalding", named after Mrs. Keith Spalding, a bird fancier in California. There can be problems if birds of unknown pedigree are released into the wild, as the viability of such hybrids and their offspring is often reduced (see Haldane's Rule and outbreeding depression).
Carl Linnaeus in his work Systema Naturae in 1758 assigned to the Indian peafowl the technical name of Pavo cristatus (means "crested peafowl" in classical Latin).
Owing to its spectacular appearance and religious associations, the Indian peafowl is protected in many parts of its range, especially in India, where it is considered sacred by Hindus (3).
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The Indian peafowl or blue peafowl (Pavo cristatus), a large and brightly coloured bird, is a species of peafowl native to South Asia, but introduced in many other parts of the world.
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del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
In its native range, the Indian peafowl can typically be found inhabiting the undergrowth in open forest and woodland, usually near a river or stream (4). The Indian peafowl is also known to occur in farmland, villages, and increasingly, more urban areas (7).
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While the Indian peafowl is revered in many parts of its range, in others it has suffered from the effects of hunting for its meat and feathers (4). In some parts of India, it is threatened by retaliatory killings to reduce crop depredation (7). Nevertheless, this species is extremely abundant and widespread and there is little threat to its survival at present (6).
Recommended citation BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pavo cristatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/11/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/11/2016.
ReferencesBrazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.
The native range of the Indian peafowl encompasses India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Captive specimens are found throughout the world, and introduced, feral populations now occur in Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and the USA (6).
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The Greek word for peacock was taos and was related to the Persian "tavus" (as in Takht-i-Tâvus for the famed Peacock Throne). The Hebrew word tuki (plural tukkiyim) has been said to have been derived from the Tamil tokei but sometimes traced to the Egyptian tekh.
Peafowl forage on the ground in small groups, known as musters, that usually have a cock and 3 to 5 hens. After the breeding season, the flocks tend to be made up only of females and young. They are found in the open early in the mornings and tend to stay in cover during the heat of the day. They are fond of dust-bathing and at dusk, groups walk in single file to a favourite waterhole to drink. When disturbed, they usually escape by running and rarely take to flight.
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The most common calls are a loud pia-ow or may-awe. The frequency of calling increases before the Monsoon season and may be delivered in alarm or when disturbed by loud noises. In forests, their calls often indicate the presence of a predators such as the tiger. They also make many other calls such as a rapid series of ka-aan..ka-aan or a rapid kok-kok. They often emit an explosive low-pitched honk! when agitated.
The bird is celebrated in Indian and Greek mythology and is the national bird of India. The Indian peafowl is listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
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Peafowl is the term given to 2 species of bird which are members of the pheasant family. The Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is a native bird to the Indian subcontinent and the Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) breeds from east Burma to Java. Males are known as ‘Peacocks’ and females as ‘Peahens’. The Peacock is the national bird of India. Peacocks are well known for their magnificent, beautiful tail feather displays during courtship.
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The earliest usage of the word in written English is from around 1300 and spelling variants include pecok, pekok, pecokk, peacocke, peocock, pyckock, poucock, pocok, pokok, pokokke, and poocok among others. The current spelling was established in the late 17th century. Chaucer (1343–1400) used the word to refer to a proud and ostentatious person in his simile "proud a pekok" in Troilus and Criseyde (Book I, line 210).
Poaching of peacocks for their meat and feathers and accidental poisoning by feeding on pesticide treated seeds are known threats to wild birds. Methods to identify if feathers have been plucked or have been shed naturally have been developed as Indian law allows only the collection of feathers that have been shed.
In Anglo-Indian usage of the 1850s, to peacock meant making visits to ladies and gentlemen in the morning. In the 1890s, the term "peacocking" in Australia referred to the practice of buying up the best pieces of land ("picking the eyes") so as to render the surrounding lands valueless. The English word "peacock" has come to be used to describe a man who is very proud or gives a lot of attention to his clothing.
A 2013 study that tracked the eye movements of peahens responding to male displays found that they looked in the direction of the upper train of feathers only when at long distances and that they looked only at the lower feathers when males displayed close to them. The rattling of the tail and the shaking of the wings helped in keeping the attention of females.
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Peafowl produce loud calls especially in the breeding season. They may call at night when alarmed and neighbouring birds may call in a relay like series. Nearly seven different call variants have been identified in the peacocks apart from six alarm calls that are commonly produced by both sexes.
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Authenticated (04/11/2010) by Dr. S. Sathyakumar, Wildlife Institute of India. http://www.wii.gov.in/
In the 1970s a possible resolution to the apparent contradiction between natural selection and sexual selection was proposed. Amotz Zahavi argued that peacocks honestly signalled the handicap of having a large and costly train. However, the mechanism may be less straightforward than it seems – the cost could arise from depression of the immune system by the hormones that enhance feather development.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.