Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Not-so-Humble Peacock

Peacock Taking Flight, Sri Lanka
A few days ago I posted a shot of a running chicken - OK, an endemic Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl that LOOKS like a chicken.  In that post, I made the point that if that bird were not so utterly familiar it would be considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world...

The same exact argument can be made for what can fairly be described as the most astonishing bird on the planet - the Peacock.  Consider: if we did not see them so often, in zoos, and parks and in every form of media, we would better appreciate how breathtaking they really are.

Having seen them in the wild in Sri Lanka, I was astonished that they not were getting gobbled down by every predator in the area - a fully-dressed male peacock is burdened by what must be ten pounds of decoration. So why aren't they getting eaten by jackals or leopards or...?  The fact is, I saw hundreds of them walking around on the ground without a care in the world, taking flight only with great reluctance. So why aren't they being eaten? Truthfully, I have no idea, but I would imagine they're pretty tasty - sort of like chicken...

In any case, I did not spend a lot of time photographing peacocks because, after all, the world hardly needs more pictures of them. But when I saw one in a high tree, set against a misty mountain background, I couldn't resist.  And when he suddenly dropped off the branch and into flight, I fired off a series of pictures. This is one of them, and although distant, it shows what an extravagant bird the peacock really is.

Nikon D300, 300mm f2.8 and TC14x


  1. Thanks... One of those shots where I wished that I was closer - and then realized the shot was better for having some distance.

  2. Yes.. It looks like a painting you'd find on a temple or palace wall somewhere. Perfect composition.

  3. It's unfortunate your bias against the chicken and the peacock have marginalized their wild ancestors so much in your mind. Of course these are naturally selected creatures and so their wild forms must be appreciated for what they are- naturally selected, wild species. Incredible photograph I just wish your commentary was a bit more objective.

  4. Thanks for your comment. Maybe I didn't express myself very well; my point was that both chickens and peacocks are stunning creatures, worthy of our respect, despite their familiarity. The fact is, we tend to overlook things that are common or familiar, and lose our sense of wonder about them. Seeing them in their wild setting only renewed my appreciation for both birds.