Peacocks are often instantly recognizable by their large tail plumage, which can be 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Technically referred to as peafowl when discussing both males and females, peacocks are the males of the species and females are peahens. The males have the impressive tail display in two of the three types of peafowl.
Originally from eastern Asia, Indian peacocks have bright blue feathers over much of their heads, necks and chest. These are commonly seen in zoos in the United States. An Indian peacock has brightly colored tail plumage fashioned with eye-shaped dots you can see when he fans out his train, and it takes him about five to six years to develop his full feather display. Peahens are attracted to his color and size during courtship. The Indian peacock also has a tall fan of feathers on his crest, or the top of his head.
Green peacocks hail from Indonesia, and like Indian peacocks, their bright tail feathers are used to court peahens. Green peacocks come by their names naturally; instead of blue feathers on their upper bodies, they have bright green feathers. Their train feathers are similar in pattern to the Indian peacock with a green instead of blue cast. The crest over their heads is fan-shaped with green tips.
All peafowl are members of the pheasant family, but the Congo peacock most closely resembles the pheasant. It's smaller than the other types and doesn't have the impressive tail feathers. A Congo peacock has bright blue feathers on his upper body and wing feathers that lean toward green. He has a crest on his head, but it's shorter and less elaborate than the crests of the other peacock types. This is the only peacock native to Africa.
Peahens aren't colorful like the peacocks are. Peahens tend to be drab in comparison. Indian peahens are a mottled brown, while green peahens sport some dull green coloring. Congo peahens have a mixture of brown and green feathers. Peahens sit on their eggs for about a month, and their dull coloring helps camouflage them from predators while they are exposed on their nests.
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