1324. Pavo cristatus.
The Common Peafowl.
Pavo cristatus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i,p. 267 (1760) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 239; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 506; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 151; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 67; xli, pt. 2, p. 249; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xxxviii, pt. 2, p. 189; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 272 ; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 5 ; vii, p. 177 ; ix, p. 421; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 225; Hume & Marsh. Game B. i, p. 81; Hume, Cat. no. 803; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 342; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 731; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 75; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 302; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 300; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 405; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xxii, p. 368.
Mor, Manjur, H. &c.; Taus, P.; Landuri , Mahr.; Manja , Manir Uriya ; Mabja, Bhot.; Mong-yung, Lepcha: Moir, Assam; Dode, Garo; Myl, Tamul; Nimili, Tel.; Nowl, Can.; Monara, Cing.
Coloration. Male. Crown of head covered with short curly feathers, metallic blue changing to green ; feathers on lores, super-cilia, chin, and throat similar but less curly and dull green; crest of long almost naked shafts terminated by fan-shaped tips that are black at the base, bluish green at the ends ; neck all round rich blue ; back covered with scale-like bronze-green feathers with black borders, coppery inner areas, and green shaft-stripes, these pass on the rump into the bronze-green of the train, changing in the middle in certain lights into coppery bronze, each feather, except the outermost at each side and the longest plumes, ending in an " eye " or ocellus, consisting of a purplish-black heart-shaped nucleus surrounded by blue within a coppery disk, with an outer rim of alternating green and bronze; scapulars and outer surface of wing, including tertiaries, mostly barred black and buff, a few of the outer median secondary coverts black glossed with green and purple; primaries and their coverts pale chestnut, secondaries black; tail dark brown ; breast and flanks dark glossy green ; thighs buff; abdomen and downy lower tail-coverts blackish brown.
Females have the head and nape rufous brown, tips of the crest feathers chestnut edged with green; lower neck metallic green; the upper surface brown, faintly mottled paler in parts ; quills and tail-feathers dark brown, the latter with whitish tips; breast and abdomen buffy white, inner portion of each breast-feather dark brown glossed with green ; vent and downy under tail-coverts dark brown.
Young males resemble the females, but have the primaries partly or wholly chestnut.
Bill brownish horny; naked skin of face whitish; irides dark brown ; legs and feet greyish brown.
Length of male in full plumage 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet, without train 40 to 46 inches; tail 20 : wing 18; tarsus 5.75 ; bill from gape 1.9 Females measure : length about 38; tail 13; wing 16 ; tarsus 5.
Distribution. Throughout India proper and Ceylon except in a few localities, such as parts of Lower Bengal, that appear too damp or otherwise unsuited. The Common Peafowl abounds at the base of the Himalayas, ascending the hills to about 2000 feet, and locally somewhat higher, and it inhabits the whole Assam valley up to Sadiya, but no Peafowl is found in Sylhet, Cachar, or Manipur, and P. muticus replaces the present species farther south. To the westward, Peafowl abound in Guzerat, Cutch, and Rajputana, being protected and regarded as a sacred bird; but they have probably been introduced in many places and certainly in Sind, as in all the countries named they are found about villages in a semi-domesticated state. In Southern India the Peafowl ascends the hills to an elevation of at least 5000 feet, but in Ceylon it is essentially a bird of the low dry country forming the northern part of the island. As is well known, it is found domesticated in many tropical and temperate countries.
Habits, &c. Where truly wild, Peafowl are generally found in small parties in forests, or bushy, broken ground near water. They are often met with in cultivation, especially where, as is the case in many parts of North-western and Western India, they are protected by particular castes of Hindus. They feed on grain, buds, shoots of grass, insects, small lizards and snakes. The call of the Peacock is a loud sonorous cry, having a distinct resemblance to a cat's mew and audible at a great distance. Peafowl roost on trees and they are in the habit, like most Pheasants, of returning to the same perch night after night. The males moult their long trains after the breeding-season, with the other feathers, about September in Northern India, and the new train is not fully grown till March or April. In the South of India the change of plumage and breeding-season are several months later.
Peafowl are polygamous; several males, with their tails aud trains raised vertically and expanded, may be seen strutting about aud " showing off " before the hens. The latter Jay usually 6 or 7 eggs, for the most part in the rainy season from June to September. The nest is a hollow scratched in the ground, lined with a few twigs or leaves or a little grass, and the eggs are strong and glossy, closely pitted, whitish to reddish buff in colour, and they measure about 2.74 by 2.05.