The peacock is arguably one of the world's most beautiful creatures. Outrageous plumage combined with stunning, iridescent colours, it really is a jewel amongst birds. Native to India, in Babylonia and Persia, the peacock was introduced into Mesopotamia 4000 years ago, and since then this magnificent bird can now be seen all over the world.

Peacock facts
1. While peafowl are often and incorrectly called peacocks, only the male is accurately called a peacock. The female is a peahen, and the offspring peachicks.

2. White peacocks are not true albinos. They have a genetic mutation known as Leucism, which causes the lack of pigments in the plumage.

3. The peacock is the national bird of India and is protected in that country.

4. Peafowl are forest birds that nest on the ground but roost in trees.

5. Peafowl are omnivorous and eat most plant parts, flower petals, seed heads, insects and other arthropods, reptiles, and amphibians.

Peacock facts
6. During the Medieval period, the aristocracy and landed gentry were privileged to more exotic foods, and as such peafowl were eaten as an ostentatious display of wealth.

7. In the wild the peafowl are preyed upon by tiger and leopards. The peafowl often acts as an early warning system for other game animals.

8. Incredibly, the average male train will contain over 200 feathers.

9. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, colour, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.

10. A group of peafowl is called a 'party' or a 'pride'.

11. In the Hindu religion, the peafowl is a sacred bird because the spots on the peacock’s tail symbolize the eyes of the gods.

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