Peahen, Paon, Pavo, Pauw (Pavo cristatus) ♀

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Erik van den Ham on October 15, 2011

Peahen, Paon, Pavo, Pauw (Pavo cristatus) ♀

Peafowl are two asiatic species of birds in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, best known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female peafowl is grey and/or brown. Peachicks can be between yellow and a tawny colour with darker brown patches..

The species are: Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus, a resident breeder in South Asia. The peacock is designated as the national bird of India and the provincial bird of Punjab. Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus. Breeds from Burma east to Java. The IUCN lists the Green Peafowl as vulnerable to extinction due to hunting and a reduction in extent and quality of habitat.


The male (peacock) Indian Peafowl has iridescent blue-green or green colored plumage. The peacock tail ("train") is not the tail quill feathers but the highly elongated upper tail coverts. The "eyes" are best seen when the peacock fans its tail. Like a cupped hand behind the ear the erect tail-fan of the male helps direct sound to the ears. Both species have a crest atop the head. The female (peahen) Indian Peafowl has a mixture of dull green, brown, and grey in her plumage. She lacks the long upper tail coverts of the male but has a crest. The female can also display her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young.

The Green Peafowl appears different from the Indian Peafowl. The male has green and gold plumage and has an erect crest. The wings are black with a sheen of blue. Unlike the Indian Peafowl, the Green Peahen is similar to the male, only having shorter upper tail coverts and less iridescence. It is difficult to tell a juvenile male from an adult female.

As with many birds, vibrant plumage colours are not primarily pigments, but optical interference Bragg reflections, based on regular, periodic nanostructures of the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers. Slight changes to the spacing result in different colours. Brown feathers are a mixture of red and blue: one colour is created by the periodic structure, and the other is a created by a Fabry–Pérot interference peak from reflections from the outer and inner boundaries. Such interference-based structural colour is important for the peacock's iridescent hues that change and shimmer with viewing angle, since unlike pigments, interference effects depend on light angle.

Colour mutations exist through selective breeding, such as the leucistic White Peafowl and the Black-Shouldered Peafowl.


Charles Darwin first theorized in On the Origin of Species that the peacock's plumage had evolved through sexual selection. This idea was expounded upon in his second book, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex.

“The sexual struggle is of two kinds; in the one it is between individuals of the same sex, generally the males, in order to drive away or kill their rivals, the females remaining passive; whilst in the other, the struggle is likewise between the individuals of the same sex, in order to excite or charm those of the opposite sex, generally the females, which no longer remain passive, but select the more agreeable partners.”


The peafowl are forest birds that nest on the ground but roost in trees. They are terrestrial feeders. Both species of Peafowl are believed to be polygamous. However, it has been suggested that "females" entering a male Green Peafowl's territory are really his own juvenile or sub-adult young (K. B. Woods in lit. 2000) and that Green Peafowl are really monogamous in the wild. The male peacock flares out his feathers when he is trying to get the female's attention.

During the mating season they will often emit a very loud high-pitched cry. They also travel in hunting packs between ten and ninety.


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

In common with other members of the Galliformes, males possess metatarsal spurs or "thorns" used primarily during intraspecific fights.

M.Kranenborg-Torn on October 16, 2011

Mooi koppie met zo'n hoedje. Like.

Groetjes van Greetje

Erik van den Ham on October 16, 2011

Moge Greetje ik vond het eens tijd worden dat er eens een dame op Pano kwam. Meestal zijn het die opzichtelijke 'Pauw' mannen die volop in de 'picture' staan. En deze dame mag er toch zeker ook zijn! Dank voor je Like!

Was't gezellig gister?

Groetjes, Erik

M.Kranenborg-Torn on October 16, 2011

Errggg gezellig heb je wel gemist....Fijn dat jo ons dames in de schijnwrpers zet....

Erik van den Ham on October 16, 2011

Ach ja daar ligt mijn hart he......

M.Kranenborg-Torn on October 16, 2011

zucht...ik weet het. Al weer helemaal opgeknapt?...

Erik van den Ham on October 16, 2011

Lijkt wel weer in orde te zijn ben alleen nog niet helemaal fit maar na wat eten zal dat ook snel beter worden.

Jack Tol on October 16, 2011

Ik zie ook eerlijk gezegd liever dames dan heren op een foto. Dus een goede keuze Erik en inmiddels weet ik ook alles van de pauw af, dankzij je uitgebreide biologieles. Waarvoor dank !

Groeten, Jack

T.Haveman 2 on October 16, 2011

Wat weer een verhaal Erik

Zo leren we allemaal

Mooie uitsnede


gr teunis

Nadia Kushnir on October 16, 2011


Ghiocela on October 17, 2011

Very elegant view, Erik! Sympathetic portrait! :) LIKE! I wish you a wonderful week! Simona

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Photo taken in Wörlitzer Park, Mittlere Elbe, 06786 Wörlitz, Germany

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  • Uploaded on October 15, 2011
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    by Erik van den Ham