Peacocks are the national bird of India, and for good reason. The males have one of the most impressive displays of coloured feathers in the animal kingdom. During courtship rituals, they spread their lower back feathers wide and display hundreds of coloured spots that resemble large eyes. Their beautiful, iridescent blue plumage is incredibly striking and they make sure that the females don't miss the huge feather fans by quivering, creating a loud rattling sound. They dance back and forth, turning to show prospective mates all angles.
This adult male lives in a forested area of Delhi, India, near a condominium complex where the birds are protected and provided with some grain each morning. The result is that the residents are able to enjoy the presence of these wild birds as they walk throughout gardens and pathways. There are several males and dozens of females that come to feed each day. Occasionally, this courtship dance will catch the eye of a female who is willing to breed, but these particular hens are more concerned with the food and they pay the male very little attention.
Peacocks are the males of the species, with the term peafowl being used to describe both males and females. They are enormous birds, having feathers that stretch out behind them like a bridal gown train. It is widely believed that the feathers are part of the tail, but they actually extend from the back of the bird. The tails of the birds are very short. Although these back feathers appear cumbersome and awkward, the peacock is capable of flight, even for considerable distances. Although they prefer to avoid predators by walking or running through brush, they will sometimes fly to a tree for safety. They fly to high branches to roost at night.
Peafowl eat grains, berries, and insects but they even prey on small rodents, snakes, and lizards. They are beneficial birds to have in any garden. It is very common for people to put out food to attract these birds, even if just to enjoy the sight of them.
Peafowl have a loud and unmistakable call, usually used to sound the alarm for the presence of a threat, such as a tiger, or to indicate that they are agitated. These calls increase in frequency before the monsoon season.
Peacocks have been revered by many cultures for centuries, both for their beautiful plumage and also for their reputation as snake killers. Folklore has even suggested that consuming peacock meat enhances a person's resistance to snake venom.