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February 22, 2014 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Indian Peafowl

Weekend Birding usually features native wild birds, but this winter the weather has been horrible with endless amounts of snow and ice that makes walking in the forest preserves treacherous. Other than backyard birds, I haven’t been out to take any new photos in weeks, which is why today’s bird is a non-native species, the Peafowl.

Peafowl are members of the Pheasant family and are native to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Most people call the birds Peacocks, but that name only refers to the male. Females are Penhens and the young are Peachicks.

Peahen and Chick

Peahen and chick

I took these photos a few years ago at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. They have a free-ranging flock and the birds are allowed to wander the grounds and occasionally startle visitors with their loud squawk or quick hop onto a tree branch. In the winter the birds move to a large heated area where they are provided with plenty of food and warmth as the species is not adapted to Chicago’s harsh winters.

I’m accustomed to seeing them roaming around and don’t usually stop to take photos, except this time I spotted a couple of hens with their chicks, something I don’t see very often.

Peachick

Peachick

Since I know very little about Peafowl, I looked up a few facts:

  • The Peahen builds the nest and sits on the eggs for four weeks, then she raises the chicks by herself.
  • First year male and female Peachicks look just like their mother but are only half her size.
  • The males will get their blue coloring in their second year
  • They forage on the ground for grain, insects, small reptiles and mammals, berries, figs, leaves, seeds, and flower parts
  • They roost overnight in groups in tall, open trees.

Peacock

Indian Peacock

I finally found one of the males strutting around on the other side of the grounds. The male is very flashy with his bright blue head and neck. The female and her chicks are subdued brown color. Since it was not mating season he wasn’t displaying his beautiful tail of feathers but did pause long enough for a photo.

 


Saturday Snapshot was originated by Alyce at At Home With Books. It is now hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

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21 Comments

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  1. S Stull / Feb 22 2014 10:51 am

    Beautiful photos!

    Like

  2. irene / Feb 22 2014 11:10 am

    ‘The male is very flashy with his bright blue head and neck… Since it was not mating season he wasn’t displaying his beautiful tail of feathers but did pause long enough for a photo. ‘ Just like anyother male! Love this part. Great photos. It was so cold here that I was not even very sucessful at spotting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I’m not good enough at identification to spot anything other than common birds, and the week prior to the count, I saw lovely Blue Jays for a short time, and many hawks, but nothing on the weekend.

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    • Leslie / Feb 23 2014 1:00 am

      The weather was awful here too for the Backyard Bird Count. I was unable to get to the forest preserve trails so I counted the birds in my backyard, which was only about 10 species.

      Like

  3. Sandra Nachlinger / Feb 22 2014 11:36 am

    I enjoyed your beautiful photos, as well as your write-up about peafowl. We stayed at a B&B once that had peafowl roaming its garden. The thing I remember most is the ungodly shriek they made. Sounded like someone was being murdered! But the beauty of the males made up for that.

    Like

    • Leslie / Feb 23 2014 1:00 am

      Yeah, they can be quite noisy.

      Like

  4. laurelrainsnow / Feb 22 2014 11:43 am

    They are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing them…and these fun facts. And thanks for visiting my blog.

    Like

  5. Arti / Feb 22 2014 11:46 am

    Again informative and interesting. At first I thought you saw this in your area. 😉 But you’re right about “…snow and ice make walking in the forest preserves treacherous”. Let me add one more. Yesterday I braved the cold and ventured out by the river cause I saw a huge flock of ducks. But just as I steadied myself in the snow and clicked on my camera, a Coyote was alerted and saw me. Lucky he was more scared than i was and quickly ran away. I took a few pic. of it running. Adding to my terror was how it looked. He had lost half of its fur, very skinny and no fur on its tail. No disrespect, but he was an ugly looking wild animal.

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    • Leslie / Feb 23 2014 1:08 am

      Last year I had a squirrel hanging out in my yard that was missing half the fur on it’s body and tail and it was scratching itself raw. I called the wildlife rehab people to see if anything could be done for it and they said it probably had mange. They said it’s highly contagious and even humans can get it so if I rescued the squirrel to use heavy gloves. I was hoping there was some medicine I could put in food to leave out for it – no way I was picking it up – but no, it needed a medicinal bath to kill the mite infection. Ewwwwh. That’s probably what was ailing your poor coyote. Good thing he ran away from you.

      Like

  6. Suko / Feb 22 2014 12:32 pm

    Beautiful photos as usual! Thank you for this birding lesson on the Peafowl and Peacock. We saw numerous Peacocks at a “village” in Kauai.

    Like

  7. Vicki / Feb 22 2014 2:06 pm

    Beautiful! The last time I visited St. Augustine, Florida I took a photo of an all white peacock.

    Like

  8. Ginny / Feb 22 2014 4:12 pm

    Nice to see the peahen. They never seem to get much publicity.

    Like

    • Leslie / Feb 23 2014 1:17 am

      The females never do. It’s almost always the male with the fancy plumage.

      Like

  9. BermudaOnion / Feb 22 2014 7:52 pm

    I had no idea that peacock only refers to the males. They’re gorgeous birds!

    Like

  10. susanmillerlindquist / Feb 22 2014 9:19 pm

    Are peacocks related to turkeys, I wonder ….

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    • Leslie / Feb 23 2014 1:14 am

      Good question. I looked up the scientific classification and found they are both members of the Phasianidae family. So I guess they would be related.

      Like

  11. Greg / Feb 22 2014 10:23 pm

    Beautiful pics. Love the green coloring on the neck of the peahen, and of course the peacocks have amazing coloring. I smiled at the idea of them startling visitors with their squawking! I’ve heard they’re quite loud…

    Like

  12. samstillreading / Feb 23 2014 4:22 am

    Gorgeous pics! My neighbour used to have a family of these- they liked to live on our roof!

    Like

  13. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Feb 23 2014 6:58 pm

    They are sooo gorgeous.

    Like

  14. faith hope & cherrytea / Feb 23 2014 11:19 pm

    gorgeous! birds and photos – thx for sharing ..
    visiting from Mailbox Monday

    Like

  15. Louise / Feb 24 2014 5:48 am

    I hope your weather improves soon, but I always enjoy seeing a peacock. A surprising number of people keep them on properties here.

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  16. stacybuckeye / Feb 24 2014 7:26 am

    I love these pics (and the info). I didn’t know only those flashy males are called peacocks. That lieele baby is adorable.

    Like

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