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. Continue reading