National Things
National Bird of India
Category : National Things
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Why is peacock the national bird of India?

In 1963, the peacock was declared the National Bird of India because of its rich religious and legendary involvement in Indian traditions. The criteria for this choice were many. The bird must be well-distributed within the country so it could truly `national`. It must be recognisable to the common man. It must lend itself to formal depiction, i.e. abstract depiction on government publications, etc. It must not be confused with the bird emblem of any other nation. It should be associated with Indian myths and legends. The peacock fit the bill.

The Indian peacock, Pavo cristatus (Linnaeus), the national bird of India, is a colourful, swan-sized bird, with a fan-shaped crest of feathers, a white patch under the eye and a long, slender neck.

Know the Peacock Bird:
Peacock birds, commonly called peafowl (peacock refers to the male), are large pheasants, family Phasianidae, of the Indian-Asian region. Indian peacocks are found in dry forests, mostly in small groups containing of one male and several females. Peafowl rarely fly; instead, they run from danger. True peafowl include the blue peacock, Pavo cristatus, of India and Sri Lanka, and the green peacock, P. muticus, of Burma and Indochina. A rare and aberrant form, the Congo peacock, Afropavo congensis, is found only in forests of the Congo basin in Africa.

Mythological Significance of Peacock Bird:

The peafowl or peacock bird is prominent in the mythology and folklore of the Indian people. The Hindus consider the peacock bird to be sacred because the god Kartikeya (son of the Lord Shiva and Parvati and brother to the god Ganesh) rides on its back. Legends hold that the peafowl or Indian peacock can charm snakes and addle their eggs. Peacock bird always accompanies the images of Lord Krishna. And the beautiful peacock`s feather is also part of Lord Krishna`s crown.

The peacock bird finds reference in the Greek myth, in the bible, and was known to the pharaoh of Egypt and to the 14th century Europe, where it was roasted and served to in its own plumage.

Physical Features of Peacock Bird:

The male Indian Peafowl, commonly known as the peacock, is one of the most recognisable birds in the world. The brightly colored Indian peacock birds have a distinctive crest and an unmistakable ornamental train. The train (1.4-1.6 meters in length) accounts for more than 60% of their total body length (2.3 meters). Combined with a large wingspan (1.4-1.6 meters), this train makes the male peafowl one of the largest flying birds in the world. The train is formed by 100-150 highly specialized uppertail-coverts. Each of these feathers sports an ornamental ocellus, or eye-spot, and has long disintegrated barbs, giving the feathers a loose, fluffy look. When displaying to a female, the peacock bird erects this train into a spectacular fan, presenting the ocelli to their best advantage.
The more subtly coloured female Peafowl is mostly brown above with a white belly. Her ornamentation is limited to a prominent crest and green neck feathers. Though females (2.75-4.0 kg) weigh nearly as much as the males (4.0-6.0 kg), they rarely exceed 1.0 meter in total body length.

Social Characteristics of Peacock Bird:

Peacock bird or peafowl Large bird belonging to the pheasant family, in East Asia being its native region. The crested common peacock bird during courtship displays his elongated upper tail which converts into a magnificent green and gold erectile train adorned with green blue " eyes " before the duller plumaged peahen. The peacock bird is a ornamental bird and is of quarrelsome nature and does not mix well with other domestic animals.

Habitat of Peacock Bird & Diet:

Indian peacocks are omnivorous, obtaining most of their food by scratching the leaf litter with their strong feet. Indian Peafowl do most of their foraging in the early morning and shortly before sunset. They retreat to the shade and security of the forest for the hottest portion of the day. Foods of Indian peacock bird include grains, insects, small reptiles, small mammals, berries, drupes, wild figs, and some cultivated crops.

Peacock & Conservation:

The peacock bird is widely found in the Indian sub-continent from the south and east of the Indus river, Jammu and Kashmir, east Assam, south Mizoram and the whole of the Indian peninsula. The Indian peacock enjoys immense protection. It is fully protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection) Act, 1972.

This long and close association with humans has proven the peafowl’s adaptability to human-altered landscapes. This species does not appear to need any additional legal protection or conservation attention.