A Vain Bird

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When photographing the posing peacock at Monte Urpinu Park (post) one cannot escape the impression that a peacock is a vain bird (video) and wonder why it is the male that struts around in his best, brightest and quite striking feathers, while the female peahen and her peachicks are rather dull and discrete? In contrast to the polygamous peafowl, the males and females of the monogamous pigeons and crows are poorly distinguishable and there is hardly any sexual dimorphism. It is said that the peacock evolved due to the females that naturally selected the partner with the longest tail, showing the most eyes when feathers are fanned. Supposedly because these have the better DNA as they are the healthiest ones that can afford to invest a lot of extra food and energy into their fancy appearance.

As I sprinkle some parrot food from the pet-shop on a park table with the ‘scary’ photo camera close and on stand-bye, I notice that first the expendable peachicks take the bait, courageous and not yet fully aware of the possible dangers in life. Only after they have played the part of the canary in the mine, the peahens follow. Ultimately the peacock appears and the peachicks have to leave the table. Is the peacock not only vain but also a coward that would have left the titanic first? In the case of an attack on the family, he should be the slowest with all that pomp to carry around. Must he be the hero that has to be offered; while acting as a decoy so that the faster and camouflaged peahen and peachicks can escape? Polygamous means also no mourning is involved as the next in line immediately can take his place. The pigeons only appear after the peafowl have left the table and they all fly away at the first click of the camera. The crows even never show up and stay watching in the distance. They are said to be the smartest ones, the monogamous cowards.

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One thought on “A Vain Bird

  1. Pingback: Peacocking « Had NO Clue!

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