Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Maltese peacock

Indian male peacock housed in San Anton Gardens, Malta
Among the surprises I encountered in my recent visit to Malta was a friendly peacock showing off at San Anton Gardens. These public gardens are the residence of the President of Malta in the town of Attard, and besides trees, flowers, fountains, swans and a few other exhibits, parading  in front of everyone and showing off his feathers was this peacock who was putting quite a show for tourists and visitors. He knew that people were looking at him, and photographers were snapping away one photo after another, and so he just stood there majestically showing off his priceless possession, his feathers and his deep blue-green face. 

The male Indian peafowl (peacock) has iridescent blue-green or green-colored plumage. The peacock tail ("train") is not the tail quill feathers but the highly elongated upper tail covert feathers. The "eyes" are best seen when the peacock fans its tail. Both species have a crest atop the head. The female Indian peafowl (peahen) has a mixture of dull green, brown, and grey in her plumage. Although she lacks the long upper tail coverts of the male, she has a crest. The female also displays her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young. Their offspring or babies are called peachicks.

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