Peacocks Peacocks one of the many delights of a visit to the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City ….here is a short meditation on the Peacock and few things you probably didn’t know.
With its massive tail and iridescent colors, this bird has long fascinated its human observers—and we’re still learning its secrets. For example, a study recently published in The British Journal of Animal Behaviour says that when a peacock fans its ornamented train for the ladies during mating season, its feathers quiver, emitting a low-frequency sound inaudible to human ears. Depending on whether they want to attract females from far away or up close, they can change the sound by shaking different parts of their feathers. (They’re not the only animals that create infrasonic sounds. Elephants produce them with their vocal cords, most likely to communicate over long distances.) Here are a few other interesting facts about these impressive birds.
1. Only the males are actually “peacocks.”
The collective term for these birds is “peafowl.” The males are “peacocks” and the females are “peahens.” The babies are called “peachicks.”
2. A family of peafowl is called a “bevy.”
3. They’re not born with their fancy tail feathers.
The male peachicks don’t start growing their showy trains until about age three. In fact, it’s hard to tell the sex of a peachick because they’re nearly identical to their mothers. At around six months, the males will begin to change color [PDF].
4. They don’t have to be killed for their feathers.
Luckily, the peacocks shed their train every year after mating season, so the feathers can be gathered and sold without the birds coming to any harm. The average lifespan of a peacock in the wild is about 20 years.
5. They can fly, despite their massive trains.
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