Thursday, May 30, 2019

Indian Peacock

There are three species of peafowl: (1) the Congo peafowl native to the Congo Basin of Africa; (2) the green peafowl native to portions of Southeast Asia; and (3) the Indian or blue peafowl native to India and Sri Lanka. 
Two peacocks in Udawalawe NP.
Peacock in Yala NP.
Peafowls were in every national park we visited in Sri Lanka, as well as many areas outside the national parks, and the guides pooh-poohed them, to the point of not ever stopping when we saw them. Toward the end we did stop a couple of times, at our insistence, but we got very few photos as a result. I wish I'd taken more photos of them, including peahens (I only took photos of peacocks). Sanjay told us they were not native to Sri Lanka, but it appears that they are. 
Native distribution of Indian peafowl, per Wikipedia. Note that Sri Lanka is part of that native distribution. 
Peacock in Bundala NP.
The male is called a peacock and the female is called a peahen. The Indian peacock has a metallic blue crown and feathers on the head are short and curled. The crest is fan-shaped and has feathers with bare black shafts tipped with bluish-green webbing. It has a white stripe above the eye and a crescent shaped white patch below the eye, both formed by bare white skin. The sides of the head have iridescent greenish blue feathers. 
Peacock in Yala NP.
The back has scaly bronze-green feathers with black and copper markings. The scapular and wings are buff and barred in black, the primaries are chestnut and the secondaries are black. The tail is dark brown and the "train" is made of elongated upper tail coverts (more than 200 feathers) and about 20 tail feathers, most with an eye-spot. 
Feathers on back and side. 
The underside is dark glossy green shading into blackish under the tail. The thighs are buff colored. 
Peacock in Uduwalawe NP. Note chestnut primaries. 
The peacocks we saw were as wild as the other birds we saw and had to fend for themselves. Perhaps they are derided because they are so common and do not spook easily. 


  1. With their bright colors, long tails, and ungainly flight, it's amazing that all peacocks haven't been consumed as easy prey. That we saw so many is a mystery to me.

    1. I agree, they seem like low lying fruit. I mentioned that to Sanjay and he said that they have amazing senses that keep them out of harms way - I can't remember if it is sight, hearing, smell or some or all of the above.