We are so used to seeing only the extravagant male of this national bird of India (Pavo cristatus) that we habitually refer to the species as the peacock. The poor, drab female is a peahen and the offspring a peachick. Peafowl strut on the lawns of parks and large gardens throughout the world but, as in the wild, prefer to spend the night perched high in trees. In its native lands it is very wary, being both conspicuous and a food source, and scuttles into the undergrowth at the slightest sign of danger.
The male's splendid tail is fully formed by the time he is 3 years old. It continues growing for a further 2-3 years but is lost through moulting every summer. Throughout the history of most of the world's most major civillizations, peacocks have been valued for their plumage and presented in offerings along with gold, silver and precious stones.