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Where Did Peacocks Originate?

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Peacocks are renowned for their gorgeous plumage. Technically peacocks are the male peafowl; females are called peahens. Three distinct species of peafowl exist, with different coloration. They are found worldwide in zoos and as exotic pets, but come from several areas in the Old World originally.

Blue Peacock

The blue peacock (Pavo cristatus) originally comes from India and Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. It is the national bird of India. The peacock's body is mostly blue; females tend to be a drabber brown. Even though they are native to steamy, tropical climes, they can survive northern winters, which makes them popular in outdoor zoos throughout the world. Blue peacocks are known for getting along with other fowl much better than green peacocks.

Green Peacock

The green peacock (Pavo muticus) comes from Java and Myanmar, formerly Burma, in southeast Asia. They look very similar to the blue peacock, though the male has an iridescent green body; the female looks much like the female blue peafowl. They are not as cold-tolerant as the blue peacock, and are more aggressive towards other ground birds. They should not be kept with other fowl, as they may be very aggressive toward them. Still, their beautiful plumage gets them a place in many zoos throughout the world.

Congo Peacock

The Congo or African peacock (Afropavo congensis) is much less well-known than the two other species. It hails from remote African rain forests in the Congo region. While other peacocks have been known since antiquity, the African peacock was discovered only in 1931. It's also the only large member of the pheasant family—which includes all peacocks—to be found in Africa. Though it is the national bird of the Democratic Republic of Congo, it is the only endangered peacock, and little is known of it compared to the other species.

Zoos and Pets

Many zoos feature peacocks. The males' beautiful plumage makes them a popular attraction. Most zoos keep blue and green peacocks, though some keep the Congo peacock as well. Peacocks are relatively hardy and not difficult for a zoo to care for. Some people even keep them as exotic pets for the same reasons. However, their early-morning cawing sessions make them magnets for noise complaints from neighbors.