Spectacular Courtship Ritual of Peafowl

August 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Best known for the spectacular courtship display put on by the males of the species, peafowl originate in Asia and belong to the genus Pavo of the Phasianidae (pheasant) family. While the term “peacock” is often used to describe the entire species, irrespective of sex, “peacock” is the correct term for the male in the species, with the female being referred to as a “peahen” and their offspring are known as “pea chicks”. The name for a group of peafowl – pride or ostentation – is very descriptive and this colorful bird has long been associated with high social standing and royalty, particularly in Asian cultures. It also features in Hindu mythology as the mount of the god of war, Karthikeya.

The species of peafowl are the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus), the Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) and Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis). The Indian Peafowl is found in South Asia and is the national bird of India. The male of the species has a brilliantly blue colored body and head, which is topped by a fan-like crest of feathers. Its most prominent feature is its long train of upper-tail covert feathers covered in colorful, iridescent spots resembling eyes. During courtship, this breathtakingly beautiful tail is spread out into a fan and quivered by the male in an attempt to attract a mate. The female of the species has a duller brown plumage with its neck being a greenish color. Although they can fly and often roost in tall trees, Indian Peafowl are usually found on the ground, where they forage for berries, grains and other plant material, with lizards, snakes and small rodents also being on the menu.

While Indian Peafowl are considered to be of “Least Concern” by the IUCN, the Green Peafowl is listed as “Endangered”. Found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia, the Green Peafowl is a target of predators such as Leopards, Tigers, Jungle Cats and humans. Hunting and a loss of habitat has resulted in numbers of these beautiful birds dwindling to the extent that they are now considered to be endangered. The males and females of Green Peacocks are relatively similar in appearance, with the male’s upper tail coverts being longer than the female during breeding season. After breeding season the male molts, resulting in the appearance of the two sexes being even more similar.

Found in the Congo Basin, the Congo Peacock looks like a cross between a peafowl and a guineafowl, with the male’s feathers being a deep blue, tinged with green and violet, while the female is brown with shiny green feathers over its back. Due to habitat loss and hunting, the Congo Peacock has the IUCN status of “Vulnerable”.

Bird watching in Thailand

May 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Birding Tips

Many bird watching enthusiasts have already discovered the magnificent opportunities that wait in Thailand. With almost a thousand bird species, Thailand is a treasure trove of birding experiences that can be enjoyed in various provinces around the country. Tourist operators also specialize in bird watching excursions, offering daily hikes and even week long hiking packages, through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Thailand. Bird watching here, is a unique and unforgettable experience.

Some of the more popular bird watching sites include Khok Kham, the Khao Kieo Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Doi Chiangdao Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Pra-Bang Kam Wildlife Sanctuary, Chiangsaen and the Koh Similan National Park. Although there are various bird species that overlap in all the provinces, some bird species prefer specific provinces according to landscape and food supply.

In the Samutsakhon Province for instance, the habitat is blanketed in fish ponds, swamps, mangroves and mudflats, luring species such as the Nordmann’s Greenshank, Streaked Weaver, Malaysian Plover, Ruddy-Breasted Crake, Pheasant-Tailed Jacana and the Asian Dowitcher to this region. Birds such as the Large Hawk Cuckoo, Asian Golden-Weaver, Forest Wagtail and Black Blaza prefer the woodlands and rice fields of the Nakhonpratom Province, while Grey Peacock Pheasants, Blue-bearded Bee-eaters, Violet Cuckoo, Green Magpie and White-hooded Babbler feel at home in the forests, by water streams and waterfalls located in the Petchburi Province.

Some of the larger national parks have a variety of habitats within their borders, having a larger variety of birds in one area. The Khao Yai National Park, in North-Eastern Thailand, gives visitors the opportunity to see birds such as the Siamese Fireback, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Scaly-breasted Partridge, Coral Billed Ground Cuckoo and many more. Other breathtaking species to be seen in Thailand include the Black-backed Forktail, Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Long-tailed Minivet, Collered Owlet, Hume’s Pheasant, White-bellied Redstart, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, Sapphired Flycather and the Crested Tree Swift. In general, many national parks have more than two hundred different species of bird living and breeding within the park, giving visitors the experience of a lifetime. To see truly amazing bird life, Thailand is the perfect bird watching destination.