Peacock Nomenclature – All You Need to Know!

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peacock nomenclature

There’s a lot to know about peacocks, all of it quite fascinating. Whether you are a bird-lover or just curious about the world, here’s our guide to peacock nomenclature.

Peacock nomenclature: When you want to know more about an animal, the first place to start with is its name. Peacocks are actually only male while peahens are only female. As for their babies, they are called peachicks. The entire species is called peafowl. There are three distinct species of peafowl and they prefer the tropical climates of southeast Asia and Africa. However, of the three, Indian peafowl is the most populous and the most common. These birds, with their traditional blue and green plumage, are what you will most likely see in a zoo, and are almost exclusively what you will find on a hobby farm. As for what a group of peafowl is called, well there are actually many names. The most interesting is ostentatious of peafowl, which makes sense given a peacock’s propensity to look fabulous. You can also call them a pride, a party, or a muster. If you feel confused about peafowl, in particular with their Latin, scientific names, just know that you are not alone.

What is the scientific name of peacock?             

Animals have both a common name and a scientific name and although common names are used regularly, it can be interesting to find out the scientific name of different animals.

There are actually three species of peafowl and each one has its one specific name. These scientific names are usually rooted in Latin as it transcends other living languages around the world.

The most common type of peafowl is the Indian peafowl. These are the birds we most often think of when it comes to peacocks.

The scientific name for Indian peafowl is Pavo cristatus. These birds are found in India and the male peacocks of the species have bright blue and green tail feathers.

Another species is the Green peafowl. These are similar to Indian peafowl but have brighter green necks.

You can find Green peafowl in southeast Asia. Their scientific name is Pavo muticus.

Finally, the third species is known as Congo peafowl. These birds live in the Congo basin in Africa.

While they share some physical characteristics of Indian peafowl, their plumage is less inspiring. Their scientific name is Afropavo congensis.

If you forget these names, don’t worry. They are used to classify animals but are not commonly used when talking about different animals.

What is a female peacock called?

While we regularly call both male and female birds peacocks, this is actually inaccurate. In fact, females are known as peahens.

If you forget the term, simply think of it in terms of chickens. Similarly, female chickens are called hens while male chickens are roosters, but are also known as cocks.

What is a male peacock called?

A male peacock is simply a peacock. While the term peacock is commonly mixed up and used for both male and female birds, in actuality it just refers to males.

Male peacocks are the most noticeable of the species, so it makes sense why we have mixed up this terminology. It seems easier to refer to all peafowl, regardless if they are male or female, as peacocks.

What is a group of peacocks called?

group of peacocks

One of the most interesting parts of any animal nomenclature is finding out what a group of species is called. For example, a group of crows is a murder and a group of lions is a pride.

Similarly, a group of peafowl has a specific name. Or rather, it has multiple names. You can say a pride of peafowl or an ostentatious of peafowl.

While pride makes sense, saying an ostentatious of peafowl is quite neat as that is the perfect word to describe the male peacocks.

You can also describe the group as a bevy of peafowl, a muster, or a party. Since not many people will actually know the correct term, be sure to explain what you mean when you say these terms. It’s a fascinating piece of trivia you can use at the next party you go to.

What is a baby peacock called?

Just as males and females have similar names to chickens, so do baby peafowl. Regardless if they are male or female, babies are peachicks.

You can use this term to describe baby peafowl until they are about one year old. At this time it will become obvious if the peachicks are male or female.

If they are male, they will start growing longer tail feathers with characteristic eyespots. And if they are female, they will start growing brown feathers. All peachicks start out with light yellow feathers.

Descriptive Terms for Peacock or Peafowl

Crest

Atop the head of both peacocks and peahens, you will find a crest. This is a clump of feathers although the base of the feathers is bald and there are hairs only at the top.

For Indian peafowl, the most common species, expect the crest to be a clump of about 20 feathers. They are one to two inches in length.

The feathers on a peacock’s crest are metallic blue in color while the feathers in a peahen’s crest are a bronze-brown color.

Crown

Just to make things confusing, the crest of peafowl is often called a crown. However, the bird does not have two groups of feathers.

Rather, it is the same part of their body, just with two different names. If you’re not sure which to use, a crest is a scientific name.

Hybrid

While you can’t breed peafowl with other species of birds, you can find hybrids within the species. This happens when certain genetic mutations occur.

For example, white peafowl doesn’t have the presence of color in them, meaning the male peacocks have all-white feathers along with all-white eyespots.

Breeders now recognize the demand for unique-looking peafowl and as a result, they harness the genetic mutations that cause such coloring.

You can find all-white peafowl or you can find hybrids called pied peafowl, that have more mottled looks, or even half and half looks.

While you can find hybrid peafowl across the United States if you want to purchase an animal, expect to pay a premium. They are a lot more than the more common peafowl.

Mandible

A peafowl mandible is just another word for a beak. Both peacocks and peahens have sharp mandibles.

Peafowl is foragers and likes to peck at dirt for a tasty snack. They will eat insects as well as mice and sometimes snakes.

Just be careful around peafowl. They don’t have a lot of natural defenses and if you get too close, they will peck you with their sharp mandibles in an attempt to move you out of their habitat.

Eye spots

At first glance, you may think that there are actual eyes on the fail of a peacock. These spots are blue and green in color and a patch of light blue surrounds the area. Then, a yellow-green ring further surrounds the whole spot.

Only peacocks have eyespots on their tail feathers. Peahens do not have these markings.

There are many reasons that peacocks have eyespots and they all have to do with mating. During the mating season, which lasts from early spring to late summer, peacocks need to prove they are worthy mates for peahens.

Once activity peacocks do to show how worthy they are of passing on their genes are to spread their tail feathers wide and show off their eyespots. Essentially, the more eye spots a peacock has, the bigger catch he is.

Because of this natural selection, peacocks with large, bright eyespots have continued to pass on their genes while those with smaller eyespots have had their genetic line died out.

Train

The great expanse of feathers we see on a peacock is actually called the train. These are feathers that sit atop their tail feathers.

The train on a peacock consists of around 50 feathers. They are iridescent blue and green and have eyespots on them.

Most peacocks have trains that are over 5 feet long. Because of their length, it is hard for peacocks to fly and most birds are only capable of flying up to tree branches and gliding from tree to tree.

Peacock vs Peafowl: Difference

Peafowl is a type of bird are there are three species under this umbrella, Indian peafowl, Congo peafowl, and Green peafowl.

Even though there are different species, the terms for male and female birds are the same. Male peafowl is called peacocks and female peafowl are called peahens.  

Conclusion

Even though we often use the word peacock to refer to these majestic birds, this is only true of the males. Females are called peahens and the entire species is called peafowl. We hope that now you have a better understanding of peafowl nomenclature, these impressive birds are a little less mysterious.

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