The National Bird of India

What’s the national bird of India?

And the answer: peacock.    

Photo credit: Paul Lakin. 

The Pavo cristatus, popularly known as the Indian peacock, is a colorful bird about the size of a swan, with long tail feathers. Fun fact: Just the males are known as peacocks. Females are known as peahens, while babies are called peachicks.

Peacocks, peahens and peachicks are widely considered to be the more fashionable cousin of turkeys and chickens. These colorful birds live in abundance on their native soil of India, but also thrive in pockets throughout the world. The Indian Peafowl are known for their remarkable deep blue coloring across the neck and head; yet not every peacock resembles this national bird. In fact, every peafowl has a distinctive feather pattern, coming in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes. The three main types of peafowl are the blue Indian Peafowl found in Indian and Sri Lanka, the Green Peafowl of Southeast Asia and the islands of Java, and finally the lesser-known Congo Peafowl, found in African rainforests.

Peafowl are some of the largest flighted birds in the animal kingdom. These massive birds can weigh nearly 9 pounds, and reach up to 4 feet tall. What's more: the males' magnificent tail feathers spread to around 6 feet in diameter in mating rituals or courtship displays. Peahens are usually comprised of more muted colors, but are of a similar stature.

Peacocks' feathers have unique microscopic qualities. Their complex biological structure creates color-changing properties that greatly influence the hue, luster, and overall appearance of the peacocks' train. The structures that comprise their feathers can even create a fluorescent appearance.

Watch these large birds dance a mating ritual below.

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