The Indian peacock, also known as the common peafowl or the blue peafowl, is the national bird of India. The female peafowls are about 86 cm (34 in) long and weigh 2.75-4 kg (6-8.8 lbs), while males average at about 2.12 m (7.3 ft) in full breeding plumage (107 cm/42 in when not in full breeding plumage) and weigh 4-6 kg (8.8-13.2 lbs). The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen. The Indian Peacock has iridescent blue-green plumage. The upper tail coverts on its back are elongated and ornate with an eye at the end of each feather. These are the Peacock’s display feathers. The female plumage is a mixture of dull green, gray and iridescent blue, with the greenish-gray predominating. In the breeding season, females stand apart by lacking the long ‘tail feathers’ also known as train, and in the non-breeding season they can be distinguished from males by the green color of the neck as opposed to the blue on the males.
Peafowl are most notable for the male’s extravagant display feathers which, despite actually growing from their back, are known as a ‘tail’ or train. This train is in reality not the tail but the enormously elongated upper tail coverts. The tail itself is brown and short as in the peahen. The ornate train is believed to be the result of female sexual selection as males raise the feathers into a fan and quiver it as part of courtship display. Peahens lay a clutch of 4-8 eggs which take 28 days to hatch. The eggs are light brown and are laid every other day usually in the afternoon. The male does not assist with the rearing, and is polygamous with up to six hens.
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