Saturday, March 15, 2014

Raising peacocks

When I was little, one of my favorite books was "Riistalintujen tarhakasvatus". How to raise gamefowl in aviaries. There are two forms of fowl; the gamefowl or landfowl and the waterfowl. I'm not too interested of the waterfowl, even though I eat goose and duck with pleasure ;-). It's the landfowl, the Galliformes, I'm interested in.

One of the most specific features of Galliformes is that the males and females are VERY different. The males are usually VERY flashy, the females different shades of browns and greys, camouflage colored :-)

I like all the different domesticated forms, and I'd like to domesticate the Finnish native Galliformes; different grouses. Now, it's very difficult to raise grouse, as they are very adjusted to their wild environment, and it's hard to replicate that in domestic setting, but it's possible.

The landfowl I'm most interested in is, of course, the peafowl. I found out only recently that there are several different color forms of peafowl! I LOVE colors!

Now, I saw a Himalayan Monal today. Amazing colors!

I would like to raise the different birds, especially Phasianinaes, for their feathers. I can imagine all kinds of wonderful things that can be done with feathers like that, hats, jewelry, fashion (and flyfishing ;-))... and as these birds are basically just colorful hens, it's not any less ethical than raising chicken. The meat is good, the eggs are like hens' eggs.

So - what birds ARE there in the Phasianinaes group?

Genus Lophophorus
Gr. lophos crest; L. -fera -carrying

Himalayan Monal, Lophophorus impejanus
(It really does look like that...)

Sclater's Monal, Lophophorus sclateri

Chinese Monal, Lophophorus lhuysii

Genus Polyplectron, Peacock-Pheasants
Gr. polus, many, plektron, a cock's spur
Bronze-tailed Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron chalcurum

Mountain Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron inopinatum
Germain's Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron germaini
Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron bicalcaratum
 The "eyes" of the plumage look almost black, colorless, but when the light hits them in right angle, they shine in amazing colors from purple and indigo to chartreuse green, depending on the angle.
Hainan Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron katsumatae
Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron malacense
Bornean Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron schleiermacheri
Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, Polyplectron emphanum

Palawan courting
Genus Rheinartia
Named after Lt.-Col. Pierre-Paul Rheinart (1840-1902)

Crested Argus, Rheinartia ocellata

Genus Argusianus
Argus or Argos was a 100-eyed giant, who guarded Io, and was slain by Mercury.
Hera transplanted his eyes after his death on the tail of a peacock.

Great Argus, Argusianus argus

Genus Pavo
Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus

Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus

Genus Afropavo
Congo Peacock, Afropavo congensis

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