are peacocks birds of prey

Often brightly colored with large, fan-like tails that can span 60 inches, peacocks are the male members of a species of bird know as peafowl, which are in the same family as the pheasants native to North America. Peacocks are often kept as pets or farmed for their beautiful tail feathers, which have made them a national symbol in India. Though majestic, these birds are almost entirely defenseless, allowing many different animals to prey on them.

Behaviour and ecology edit

The male peafowl’s showy feathers, which grow from their back but are mistaken for a tail, are what make them most famous. Actually, the incredibly long upper tail coverts make up the “train.” Like a peahen, the tail itself is short and brown. The feathers’ microstructure and the ensuing optical phenomena produce the colors rather than any green or blue pigments. [27] The male’s tarsal spurs and long train feathers do not develop until after the second year of life. Birds older than four years old have fully formed trains. These start to develop in February and moult at the end of August in northern India. [28] The flight feather moult may occur over the course of the year. [29].

Peafowl typically forage on the ground in small groups called musters, which typically consist of a cock and three to five hens. Following the breeding season, only females and young typically remain in the flocks. They are typically found in the open in the early morning and remain hidden during the hottest part of the day. They enjoy sunbathing in the dust, and at dusk, they gather in single file to drink from a favorite watering hole. When startled, they seldom take flight and instead typically flee by running. [11].

Peafowl produce loud calls especially in the breeding season. When disturbed at night, they might call, and nearby birds might call in a relay-like fashion. Aside from six alarm calls that are frequently made by both sexes, nearly seven distinct call variants have been found in peacocks. [30].

Peafowl spend the night in groups atop tall trees, though they occasionally use pylons, buildings, or rocks as roosts. They selected tall trees with steep riverbanks in the Gir forest. Birds arrive at dusk and call often before perching on the roost trees [31][32]. Numerous population studies are conducted at these sites because of this habit of congregating at the roost [33]. The population structure is not well understood. A study conducted in southern India (Injar) that involved evening counts at the roost site revealed a ratio of 47 males for every 100 females, whereas a study conducted in northern India (Jodhpur) found that there were 170–210 males for every 100 females. [12].

Breeding edit Egg, collection

Peacocks exhibit polygamy, and their breeding season is widely distributed, seemingly contingent upon precipitation levels. Peafowls typically attain sexual maturity between the ages of two and three. [48] A lek site may attract a number of males, and these males are frequently related. [49] Males at leks seem to keep little areas close to one another, let females come and go, and don’t seem to bother watching over harems. Females do not appear to favour specific males. [50] During courtship, the males exhibit by lifting their upper tail coverts into an arched fan. The long feathers of the wings are periodically vibrated, creating a ruffling sound, while the wings are held half open and drooping. The cock first faces the hen, then prances and struts around, occasionally turning to show off its tail. [11] As a kind of courtship feeding, men may also freeze food to invite a female. [51] Males may display even in the absence of females. Females don’t seem to show any interest in displaying and typically carry on with their foraging. [12].

Peak season occurs in June in northern India, January to March in Sri Lanka, and April to May in southern India. The nest is a small depression in the ground covered in sticks, leaves, and other detritus. Nests have occasionally been observed atop buildings[52] and, in the past, white-rumped vulture nest platforms that have been abandoned have also been used. Four to eight fawn to buff white eggs make up the clutch, and only the female incubates them. The eggs take about 28 days to hatch. After hatching, the nidifugous chicks follow their mother everywhere. [8] Sometimes, downy babies will climb up on their mothers’ backs and be carried by the mother to a safe tree branch by flight. [53] There has been a report of an uncommon case of a male incubating a clutch of eggs. [11][54].

Sexual selection editSee also:

Early thinkers were perplexed by the peacock’s colors and how they contrasted with the much duller peahen. Charles Darwin failed to see an adaptive advantage for the ostentatious tail, which seemed only to be an encumbrance, and wrote to Asa Gray complaining that the “sight of a feather in a peacocks tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!” In order to solve the issue, Darwin created a second principle of sexual selection; however, due to Victorian Britain’s dominant intellectual currents, the theory was not widely accepted. [34].

In a 1907 painting, American artist Abbott Handerson Thayer attempted to illustrate, using his own creative vision, the significance of the eyespots as disruptive camouflage. [35] Using the painting, he contended that virtually all animal coloration had evolved as a means of camouflage in his 1909 book Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, rejecting the notion of sexual selection. In a long paper, Theodore Roosevelt chastised Thayer severely, stating that he had only succeeded in using sleight of hand to paint the peacock’s plumage as camouflage, “with the blue sky showing through the leaves in just sufficient quantity here and there to warrant the author-artists explaining that the wonderful blue hues of the peacocks neck are obliterative because they make it fade into the sky.” “[37].

A potential solution to the seeming conflict between sexual selection and natural selection was put forth in the 1970s. According to Amotz Zahavi, peacocks openly displayed the drawbacks of owning a big, expensive train. But the process might not be as simple as it first appears—the expense could result from the hormones that promote feather development suppressing the immune system. [38][39] Male courting female.

It is thought that the elaborate train is the product of female sexual selection. Males perform a courtship display with their elaborate trains, raising the feathers into a fan and trembling them. Recent research, however, has not been able to establish a connection between the quantity of eyespots displayed and the success of mating. [40] Marion Petrie studied a feral population of peafowl at Whipsnade Wildlife Park in southern England to determine whether or not these displays indicated a male’s genetic quality. She demonstrated how a male’s success in mating could be predicted by counting the eyespots on his elaborate feathers, and how this success could be manipulated. [41].

The removal of eyespots significantly alters the appearance of male peafowls, even though it reduces the success of males in mating [41]. It’s possible that females view these men as subadults or believe they are physically harmed. Furthermore, there is minimal variation in the number of eyespots in adult male feral peafowls in a population. Male adults almost never lose a large percentage of their eyespots. Thus, other sexual characteristics of male trains may influence the selection of females. Peahens do choose males based on plumage, so the quality of the train is a reliable indicator of the health of the males. A “high maintenance handicap” theory was put forth in a recent study conducted on a natural population of Indian peafowls in the Shivalik region of India. It claims that only the strongest males have the time and resources to keep their tails long. As a result, a long train indicates excellent physical health, which increases the likelihood of mating. [42] Females do not seem to use train length to select males, although train length appears to positively correlate with MHC diversity in males. [43] According to a Japanese study, peahens do not select peacocks based on the adornment of their plumage, such as the length, symmetry, and number of eyespots on their trains. [44] Two plausible explanations for the contradictory findings are presented by another French study. The first possibility is that a founder effect or genetic drift may have caused a genetic variation of the desired trait in various geographic locations. According to the second explanation, “the cost of trait expression may vary with environmental conditions,” meaning that a characteristic that is suggestive of one quality might not be appropriate in another. [41].

According to Fisher’s runaway model, there is a positive feedback loop between women’s inclination for ornate trains and the trains themselves. The male train is viewed in this model as a relatively recent evolutionary adaptation. The least ornamented species is actually the most recently evolved, according to a molecular phylogeny study on peacock-pheasants. [45] According to this research, “females evolve resistance to male ploys,” which is a form of chase-away sexual selection. [46] According to a Japanese study, the peacock train is an outmoded signal that indicates female preference has already diminished or vanished. [44].

Nonetheless, there has been some debate in recent years about whether female peafowl really choose males with more adorned trains. Despite the results of Petries’ study, a seven-year Japanese study of free-ranging peafowl concluded that females do not choose mates based only on trains. Mariko Takahashi discovered no proof that peahens showed a preference for peacocks with longer, more intricate trains (such as those with more ocelli), more symmetrical arrangements, or any other combination of these characteristics). [44] Takahashi concluded that, based on physiological data gathered from this group of peafowl, the peacocks’ train does not correlate with the physical conditions of men, and that it is not always the target of female mate choice. It also demonstrated minimal variation across male populations. In response to Takahashis study, Adeline Loyau and her associates expressed concern that alternate explanations for these findings had gone unnoticed, and that these could be crucial for comprehending the intricacy of mate choice. [41] They came to the conclusion that different ecological circumstances might in fact affect a woman’s choice.

Peahens’ eye movements in response to male displays were studied in 2013 and it was discovered that when males displayed close to the peahens, they only looked at the lower feathers and never in the direction of the upper train of feathers. The females’ attention was maintained through the use of tail rattling and wing shaking. [47].


Is A peacock a bird of prey?

All peafowl species are omnivores, subsisting on mostly plant material such as flower petals and seeds. Peafowls also eat animals such as insects, small reptiles, and amphibians. They will spend their days walking around the open areas searching through the leaf litter and other debris.

Is a peacock predator or prey?

Real ecosystems are complex. Lots of living things interact in different ways. Many animals, like our peacocks, are both predators and prey.

What kind of bird is a peacock?

Peacock (or peafowl): any of three species of birds of the pheasant family Phasianidae. AKA: The male is a peacock, the female is a peahen and the babies are peachicks. All are peafowl. There are three species of peafowl.

What class does the peacock belong to?

Indian peafowl