I love the colours of the peacock: the blues and greens shimmer in the light and show off the brilliant colours of nature. It is not often, though, that one comes across this male bird in all of its glory. On a beautiful summer’s day, I was lucky enough to witness this bird strutting in front of its audience: the disinterested female birds and the handful of tourists gathered in the courtyard at Ngwenya Glass Factory in Swaziland.
When I first saw this proud bird, his plumage was trailing behind him as he climbed the steps to higher ground. The feathers looked beautiful, and I wished that I could see them in full light.
Once he had reached the top of the steps, the bird sauntered along the edge of the courtyard. Had it been waiting for an audience? I snapped a picture without the expectation of seeing more of its plumage. The haughty way it held its head brought to my mind the carriage of emperors as they walked among their people. Suddenly the bird opened its feathers to show off its plumage. The tourists wandering in the courtyard stopped to look – and I was among them with my camera snapping pictures!
The peacock strutted around the courtyard. Who was he showing off for? The three or four peahens eating around the courtyard, or the admiring people gathered in the courtyard? He strutted, showing off his plumage for 10 minutes or so and giving everyone the photo opportunity that they were taking advantage of.
I took many pictures within that time frame (the blessing of a digital camera). I could not believe the sight in front of me: I had never yet see a peacock showing off such depth of colour. The peacock did not just strut, but waved its feathers in an attempt to get the attention of the peahens pecking around the courtyard.
Even from behind, the peacock was a sight to see.
This is one of my favourite shots: it shows off the colours of the plumage, as well as the width of the bird’s tail. I did not expect the span to be so large.
The head shot I took shows off, I hope, the rich blues and greens that I saw that day.
The peacock is such a contrast to the female of the peafowl. And yet the peahen has a beauty of her own that distinguishes her from other birds.
When the peacock folded his feathers, I was not disappointed – I had seen a sight unseen before; and had a few pictures to remind me of it.
Have you seen a peacock showing off its plumage?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012