One of the most recognizable birds in the winged world is the peacock. They’re colorful, sport an extravagant display of feathers, and are pretty hard to ignore when you see one in person!
But while you definitely know a peacock when you see it, there is actually a lot more to these beautiful birds than meets the eye. In fact, you may be surprised to see how much you didn’t know about peacocks.
To test your knowledge, we created this list of little-known peacock facts. How many are new to you?
Their Feathers have crystal-like structures
Ever wonder what makes the peacock so colorful and iridescent? The answer lies deep within the feathers and you need a microscope to see it! Their feathers are made up of many small, flat branches that give the feather its shape. On these small branches are hundreds of indentations, which can only be seen up close. At the bottom of these indentations is a tiny, crystal-like structure called lamellae, which creates unique reflections. The result is the extravagant display we see when they stretch their wings!
Their Name Isn’t What You Think it Is
When people say “peacock” they are typically referring to males and females, but that’s not actually the case. Peacock is only the name used for the flashy, dazzling males. Females, which are far less colorful, are called peahens. If you want to refer to the entire family of birds, you should call them peafowl. Who knew one family of birds could have so many names?
They are one of the largest flying birds
Peafowl is one of the largest birds that actually have the ability to fly. Unlike the Ostrich, they’re able to fly for short periods of time and even retreat to the protection of a tree branch if they need to evade a predator. They fly mostly to and from branches or, in the cases of our own resident peafowl, to the tops of buildings. Even though they can fly, you still mostly find them walking around on the ground.
Peafowl live long lives
When they live in a secure and predator-free place, with plenty of access to food, water, and shelter, peafowl can live to reach the ripe old age of 50. In the wild, where there is more competition and life is harder, the average life of a peacock is around 20 years. The age that they reach in the wild does depend on many factors, like the abundance of resources and protection from predators.
From how they get their amazing color to their unique ability to fly, it’s easy to see why people are so fascinated with peafowl. And now you know a few fun facts to test the kids with the next time you visit our park and see our resident feathered friends.
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