Which has a fancier tail, a peacock or a rooster? Actually it is the rooster. The pretty fan we see raised above a peacock's back is not really its tail, but what is called a tail covert. When it is trailing out behind we call it the train.

The real tail is behind it, and is raised to help hold up the beautiful covert feathers. A rear view of a peacock isn't very pretty, as you can see by this picture. The real name of these birds is "peafowl." The male is a peacock. The female is a peahen. She doesn't have a train and usually lacks the beautiful colors of the male.

The tame peafowl that we see are the kind that came from India or Ceylon. There are tame peafowl all over the world, and have been for a long time. King Solomon had them brought to Jerusalem, along with apes, to add to his zoo. In the middle ages rich people served roast peafowl at their banquets. But in some countries, where the birds live in the wild state, they are almost worshipped.

How did the peacock get those beautiful spots on his tail? Some people, who think that birds evolved from some other kind of creature, would have to tell you that they "just happened." You can do an easy experiment to see if that could be so. Get a glass jar or other container with a fairly flat bottom. Put in a layer of tiny colored beads, at least two or three colors. If you don't have beads you could use little bits of cut-up crayon or even marbles. Be sure to have at least two good plain colors. Shake the container and look to see if there is a design on the bottom. Keep shaking and looking. If you decide that designs don't "just happen"," you can thank God, the great designer, for making something as beautiful as a peacock for us.

The peacock wants to be admired. He'll raise his train and strut when there are females around, even if they don't seem interested. When baby peacocks are hatched they are covered with an ugly brown down. They look alike for the first two years, but when the males are only a few hours old they strut around with their tiny tails raised.

Fascinating Facts About Birds
by Mina Arnold Young
Peacocks are nice to look at but not to hear. Their scream is hard to describe but once you've heard it you won't forget it easily.

Wild peafowl sometimes play games. Young ones will chase each other around a bush, with their heads held down and their necks parallel with the ground. They always go in the same direction--clockwise. Then suddenly they just stop and wander off.

An adult peacock was seen playing with a deadly snake. The bird stayed just out of reach but kept tempting the snake to strike. When he got tired of the game he ran off down the hill.

Sometimes tame peacocks do strange things. A peacock named Lucifer, in the Bronx zoo, fell in love with a black turtle named Geraldine. When he saw her he raised his train and moved into the turtle yard.

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