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Peafowl refers to the two species of bird in the genus of PAVO which is of the pheasant family,Phasianidae. Peafowl are known for male's gorgeous tail which is meant for courtship. The male is called a peacock while the female is a peahen and the offspring are called peachicks.

The female is brown or toned grey and brown, peachicks are between yellow with a darker brown, and the male of course with blue-green or green colored feathers.



The shimmering color of the peacock feather is due to a phenomena known as interference. Each feather consists of tiny flat flat branches. When light shines on the feather, we see thousands of glimmering colored spots, each caused by miniscule bowl shaped indentations. The same principle goes for butterflies, pheasants, birds of paradise, and humming birds.

Now enough about how beautiful and extravagant these male birds are but why do they get to have fancy feathers and none of the other birds do?

The blue peacocks tend to live in India and Sri Lanka while the green peacock is found in Java and Myanmar (Burma). The color tends to be different pending on the environment. Blue peacocks have been admired by humans and kept for pets for thousands of years. Selective breeding has created some unusual color combinations but wild birds are usually bursting with vibrant hues. 

The male peacock has about 150 of the long "eyed" peacock tail feathers. These feathers shed annually and is gathered as a valuable "crop" in many countries. So while these feathers are used for our advantage such as costumes, masks, feather fans, and jewelry, what advantages do these feathers have for the peacocks?

According to the theory of sexual selection, the peacock tail has gradually evolved because the peahen selects beautiful males for mating. There is no satisfactory explanation of how the sexual selection cycle can start or why the peahen should prefer beautiful features. 

When a peacock displays his tail feathers during courtship, a magnificent fan formation of feathers forms a backdrop to the body. With this "fan", the male hopes to attract the right mate. 

Could it be that a peacock has magnificent feathers solely for the reason of attracting a mate during courtship? 

Here's a video of a peacock trying REALLY hard to court a particular peahen.

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This is very interesting. I had no idea that the peacock with the gorgeous feathers was male! I watched the video of the male trying to attract the female, and I can honestly say, while I have been to my fair share of zoos, I have never seen a peacock spread its feathers so wide. I don't know how a female could not be attracted to that! Here is an article about male monkeys who attract females by urinating in their hands and then rubbing it all over their bodies. I guess males are more desperate than we thought!

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