This little farm on the Key Peninsula Highway has always intrigued me. I had to look twice the first time I noticed a peafowl on the roof of the house on the property. A fowl roosting should not be a surprise me. But this particular fowl and its train of magnificent plumage made me look.
When I searched for “peacock plumage” on the internet, I found this little debate brewing: How necessary are the peacock’s plumage for natural selection? Apparently, these colorful birds confounded the world’s leading proponent of natural selection, Charles Darwin. Here is an entry on nature.com:
“ ‘The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail,’ Charles Darwin wrote in 1860, ‘makes me sick.’
“The seemingly useless, even cumbersome, gaudy plumage did not fit with his theory of natural selection, in which traits that help to secure survival are passed on. But Darwin eventually made peace with the peacock’s train, and its plumage has become the poster child for his theory of sexual selection, in which ostensibly useless traits can evolve when they are preferred by choosy females.”
For more on the debate on whether a peacock’s plumage do indeed attract peahens, go here: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110418/full/news.2011.245.html
Here is what I found on tonyhill.net about peafowl: “Indian Peacocks or peafowl have been domesticated for about 3000 years. A common fixture on zoo grounds, animal parks, and many farms and estates around the world, peacocks are among nature’s most dramatically beautiful birds. Their native range is through India, Pakistan, western China, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Peafowl’s preferred habitat in the wild is lowland and foothills with brush and scattered trees which they use for roosting. Related species include pheasants, grouse, guinea fowl, quail, chickens, and other gallinaceous birds. Life expectancy is generally considered to be 15-20 years.”