India is a country with a rich history and respected culture. The landscape is varied from the Himalayan Mountains to the miles of coastline on the Indian Ocean. Dense jungles and dry deserts provide habitats for thousands of species of animals. When it comes to birds, there are plenty of magnificent bird species in India, like flocks of pink flamingoes, impressive great hornbills and the colorful rose-ringed parakeet.
So how does a nation choose just one as its national bird? Read on to find out all about the national bird of India!
What is the National Bird of India?
The national bird of India is the Indian peacock. One look at the Indian peacock strutting around to impress his mate, and you understand why this majestic bird was chosen to represent the country. The beautiful feathers are spotted with green-blue iridescent spots and can be fanned to create an impressive display. Did you know the feathers can get to be five feet long? The male peacocks also have brilliant blue heads and necks that bob while they walk. Peacocks are the males’ names, while peahens refer to females, and both are peafowls.
Where do Indian Peacocks Live?
The Indian peacock (Pavo cristatus) lives in India and Sri Lanka. They mainly live in forests, foraging around on the ground for grain and berries, but they can also fly and roost in trees. In northern India, it is not uncommon to find peacocks wandering around near towns. Peacocks tend to remain in small groups of one male and 3-5 females or a group of females and their young.
What do Peacocks Symbolize in India?
Peacocks symbolize pride, grace, power and strength. The peacock is a sacred bird for the Hindus and is frequently in Hindu legends and art. Some legends say that the feathers of the peacock protect against evil. One legend explains that the Hindu god of rain, thunder and lightning, Indra, was fighting Rayana when a peacock spread its tail feathers to protect him. Because of its bravery, the peacock was given brilliant colored feathers. Peacocks continue to be featured in Indian art, architecture and literature.
Is the Indian Peacock Featured on the Indian Flag?
No. The Indian Flag has three horizontal stripes that are orangish-yellow (saffron), white and India green. The flag’s center is a blue wheel with 24 spokes representing the Ashoka Chakra. The wheel is meant to show “there is life in movement and death in stagnation.” The tricolor on the flag represents:
- Saffron: strength and courage of the country
- White: peace and truth with Dharma Chakra
- Indian green: fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land
What is the National Animal of India?
The national animal of India is the Bengal tiger. The subspecies of tigers found in India are called the royal Bengal tigers and are found in the wild. There are 27 tiger reserves in the country. Tigers are endangered animals, and the dwindling population is being actively monitored to ensure they remain a part of India and the world. Royal Bengal tigers can also be found in Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Bengal tigers can reach 6-11 feet high and weigh up to 300-650 pounds! They symbolize strength, agility and incredible power, making them an honored animal in the country.
What other Animals Live in India?
India has some of the most amazing animals on the planet. From the powerful Bengal tiger to the iconic Asian elephant, the country’s diverse habitats support some of the most unique animals. India is one of the few places you will find rhinoceros, another animal listed as endangered. You can also find Asiatic lions, blackbuck (a long-horned antelope), lion-tailed macaque, red pandas, Hoolock gibbons and pangolins.
With miles and miles of coastline on the Indian Ocean, there is a wide range of marine life just off the coast of India. Closer to shore, you might find lobster, crabs, puffer fish, jellyfish and sea horses, while further out, you can find dolphins, sea turtles, blue whales and sharks. There are several species of sharks in the Indian Ocean, like the hammerhead shark, dusky shark, enormous whale shark and the aggressive great white shark.
What other Birds Live in India?
One of the most common birds in India is the Indian myna. The myna is commonly found in urban areas, so it is familiar to the people of India. The rose-ringed parakeet is another familiar bird in the country. These parakeets are bright green and have a red ring around their necks. Like other parrots, they can mimic humans! The impressive black stork winters in India all the way from Siberia. Like the peacock, they have iridescent feathers that make them quite beautiful. Another bird with an unusual coloration is the grey junglefowl, a type of chicken. The males have a red wattle and comb, golden speckled neck and beautiful blue-green tail feathers.
Where can you find the National Bird of India?
If you are visiting India and want to see the national bird, the Indian peacock, there are several places you are likely to see them. There are several sanctuaries and national parks where peacocks are found, like the Bankapura Peacock Sanctuary, Naygaon Mayur Wildlife Sanctuary and Kasu Brahmananda National Park.
For a first-class experience, you can stay at the luxury hotel, the Rambagh Palace, where they have 130 peacocks that roam throughout their gardens. Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens and bring your camera to take amazing photos of these brilliant birds! The national bird of India does not disappoint!
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- National Geographic, Available here: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/facts/indian-peafowl
- Knowing India, Available here: https://knowindia.india.gov.in/national-identity-elements/national-bird.php
- Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/peacock
- Fodor's Travel, Available here: https://www.fodors.com/world/asia/india/experiences/news/why-are-there-so-many-peacocks-in-indias-arts-culture-and-legends