500+ Words Essay on Peacock – The National Bird of India
The term peacock is used as an umbrella to term all birds that come under peafowl. Actual peacocks are male peafowl, and the female peafowl is called a peahen. There are two different kinds of peacocks – those with blue feathers and those with green feathers.
The blue feathered peacocks originate from India, while the green feathered peacocks come from Southeast Asia. They are omnivorous animals and come under the category of birds even though they can’t fly. Some people like to keep peacocks as pets because they can be domesticated after a lot of effort.
Characteristics of Peacocks
Peacocks are especially popular for their beautiful, vibrant plumage. Their iridescent and hypnotic feathers trail behind them as they walk, and they occasionally display them in their entirety. They do this by fanning out their feather train, which reveals every single long feather. Each feather is marked with a spot that looks like an eye.
Peacocks also have crests on top of their heads, which some people refer to as ‘crowns.’ This is part of the reason why peacocks are considered to represent royalty – because of their gorgeous large feathers and the head crest. Their eyes are also surrounded by distinct patches of white, which stand out against their bright blue or green plumage.
Most peacocks are either blue or green, depending on the region they are from. However, many variations exist within these main broad categories. They can be purple, black, jade and brown with tinges of several other colours. Although not common, some peacocks appear white- these peacocks either have a condition called leucism or have albinism. Leucistic peacocks have no colour in their plumage and have blue-grey eyes. Albino peacocks are completely white and instead have pink or reddish eyes.
As mentioned before, peacock feathers are iridescent. This means that they appear to gradually change colour when you look at them from a different angle, just like soap bubbles. These different shades we see are because of microscopic differences in colour of peacock feathers, which are naturally not visible to our naked eye. Depending on the angle at which light reflects off their feathers, we can all see peacock feather patterns differently.
Scientists still debate about the purpose of a peacock’s beautiful train of feathers. Most agree that peacocks fanning out their feathers is related to mating habits. It can also serve to keep predators away, to warn them that they might be poisonous since substances that are brightly coloured in nature usually tend to be harmful.
Nevertheless, they always perch on the highest branches of trees so that they can avoid confrontation with predators. Because they can’t fly very well, they generally prefer running from predators. They have thin, lanky legs that quite a lot of people consider ugly in comparison to their gorgeous feathers. Nevertheless, these thin legs are strong and help peacocks run quite fast.
Peacocks have cultural significance in several parts of the world. However, this importance is most prominent in India because it is native to the country. In Hinduism, the peacock is the vehicle of Kartikeya, the god of war and son of Shiva, who is the god of destruction.
Peacock feathers also play a role in Hindu mythology. In the story of the Mahabharata, Lord Krishna, who is an avatar of the God Vishnu, always wears a peacock feather wherever he goes.
Even today, Indians hold the peacock with great value. It is the national bird of the country and was given that status in 1963. What is unique about the Indian perception of peacocks is that they believed to be a symbol of power, pride, and sometimes vanity. It was initially believed that peacocks were colourful and bright because they consumed poisonous substances a lot, making them immune to poison.
However, the peacock has cultural value in other countries and cultures as well. The peacock is the third animal of the zodiac of Sri Lanka. In Buddhism, peacocks support the throne of celestial Buddha, also known as Amitabha. Peacocks can be seen engraved into old Persian and Babylonian artefacts. Historians claim that this means that just like Indians, they too associated the peacock with royalty.
In Greek imagery, the chariot of the Queen Goddess Hera was pulled by peacocks. Greek legend also tells that Hera preserved a hundred eyes of her guard Argus in the peacock’s feathers, to commemorate his loyalty. Christians also used similar imagery- the ‘eyes’ of the peacock’s tail symbolize an all-seeing God as well as the power of the Church.
Some Jews believe very specifically that a golden peacock symbolizes joy and creativity. Because of this, Jews use golden feathers as a metaphor for a writer’s inspiration. Peacocks generally have inspired a lot of artistic works, and also have influenced fashion and pop culture thanks to their feather train.
The cultural significance of the peacock is not only limited to visual symbolism. In the Medieval period, they were also consumed as food. The peacock was considered food for the wealthy as it was expensive.
They were only eaten by kings, along with other birds symbolizing royalty like swans. Peacocks are not as commonly consumed as food these days, but those who do eat peacock claim that it tastes even better than chicken.
It is often claimed that peacocks are useless birds and serve no real purpose to humans except to look beautiful. However, peacocks play a crucial role in the cultures of many countries and people. By associating peacocks with certain human attributes and values, we give them certain importance in our lives that cannot be ignored.
They certainly are beautiful creatures, and we must take care of them just as much as we work to preserve other animals on Earth.