Of all the national birds India’s Peacock is arguably the most magnificent.It is a fairly large bird most known for its extravagant plumes and a distinctive loud call which can be mistaken for a human being’s distress call.Although there are peacocks that are totally white, the common variety has its long neck covered with iridescent blue/violet feathers, white and brown striped wings and a prominent bluish crown.However, it’s greatest adornment is the long tail made of up to 200 long feathers. Each of these ends in an elaborate “eye” with surrounding greenish/purplish fine feathers. With a mask-like face made of blue and white sections, the elaborate costume of the peacock is complete. All of his feathers are iridescent and offer different colors to the onlooker’s eyes from different angles.In stark contrast, the peahen has a drab grayish cloak with none of the exuberant features of peacock. During courtship the peacock’s tail becomes a spectacular, quivering fan of colorful, shimmering feathers.
Painting of peacock is by Dr. Raghuprasad
Peacock features prominently in Hindu mythology; Lord Krishna is depicted as wearing a crown filled with peacock feathers and peacock is a constant escort ofanother deity, Lord Subramaniam.The long tail feathers are often used in decorative art in Indian homes.The feathers have even gained a place in “Ayurveda”, the traditional Indian medicine as a medicinal product.As a predator of snakes, this bird plays an important role in Indian life in this way as well. Needless to say, Peacocks had always occupied an important part in Indian culture, long before it was adopted as the national bird.