Ever since our childhood, we have been told that the Peacock is a symbol of elegance. In school, we are taught that it was our national bird, and for good reason. We must all remember being fascinated by this bird, while looking at pictures in our text books.
With a brilliantly coloured tail, reflecting a myriad of shades of blue and green, the Peacock is easily one of the most beautiful birds out there in the animal kingdom.
It is categorised under the Birds of Paradise nomenclature, which consists of birds with heavily modified beauty features, either in the form of feathers or some other body common well known of the different types of peacocks is the majestic Indian Peacock.
With its distinctive blue green feathers and extensive plumage, it is quite famous among tourists. The distinctive colour of the Peacock’s feathers has encouraged us to create a new shade of blue, dubbed as the Peacock Blue. There are also the females, commonly referred to as Peahens.
They have a competitively full plumage, largely consisted of Colours like dark green, grey and brown. They have occasional flecks of green and blue scattered across their body. The males have their attractive appearance as a part of courting the female of the species. These birds have flight, but cannot fly for extended periods.
The Indian peacock has been associated with the rains, since these birds have been known to dance with the arrival of rains. This fact is often mentioned in children’s books and has been used by poets since times immemorial.
Cultural and Historic Significance
Peacocks have immense cultural significance, currently as well as historically. It is a bird of extreme importance in India. Almost every mythological character is some way or the other connected to a Peacock.
The Indian God of War, Karthikeya is depicted as using a peacock as his holy vessel. According to Hindu mythology, he slayed a demon king, then turned his body into the holy peacock and a rooster that adorns his banner.
Peacocks are also prominent in Buddhist culture. Mahamayuri, A Buddhist goddess is depicted as riding a peacock. Peacock feathers also adore the shrine of the ruby red sunset coloured Buddha. Speaking about history, peacocks are prominent figures in not only Indian but others countries too.
In Roman and Greek history, peacocks were considered as a symbol of royalty. In Indian ancient history, the Maurya Empire, the first of the great dynasties who successfully connected and unified the kingdoms in India, has their name derived from a peacock.
Maurya literally means of a peacock. It is derived from the Sanskrit word Mayura, meaning Peacock.
Diet and Nature
Peacocks are also symbols of pride and leadership. Peacocks are known to be immune from poison. They even deliberately consume poison to make themselves more immune.
Also, it is said that they do it to make their plumage more vibrant, since every poisonous and venomous creature is brightly coloured. Peacocks are omnivorous birds, meaning they eat anything and everything they can fit into their beaks.
They eat berries, vegetables, insects, anthropoids and reptiles. The Indian Peacock is well known for their appetite of snakes. Domesticated peacocks are known to eat grains, bread, rice, cheese. Zoo keepers have observed that these birds usually prefer protein rich foods.
Thanks to its cultural and historical significance, peacocks have been protected with extreme prejudice. Due to such extensive conservation efforts, the peacock population now exceeds a lakh. These birds have to be protected since their tail feathers are rare and thus, expensive.
Countries have banned the collection of peacock feathers by any means. Except that by natural shedding of these feathers.
People often buy these for their beautiful shade of colours. It is also used extensively in decoration, especially during Indian festivals, where the shrine or statue of Hindu Gods, are adorned with these feathers.
It is duty to spread awareness against the hunting and killing of peacocks for their feathers, especially since it is our national animal and a reason for pride amongst us Indians.