I wanted to bring a peacock to our #NatureDoodlewash hike today, but got to wondering what they looked like in flight. So tonight, we have a doodlewash of this flying peacock. Also, admittedly, this version actually fits in my sketchbook so that was also a bonus. Though peacocks can only fly a rather limited distance, when a predator approaches, these magnificent birds run like hell, hop a bit, and take off into the sky. Well, towards the sky, at least, as they can’t fly particularly high, but the effect is beautiful and strikingly different than the usual peacock pose.

Actually, only the males are called peacocks, the females are peahens, the babies are peachicks, and collectively they’re referred to as peafowl. The tail feathers the male uses to attract females with by being generally fabulous don’t actually start growing until around the age of three. During medieval times, these birds were considered a delicacy and after being plucked and prepared for the feast they were reassembled with their feathers for the final presentation. Though pretty, medieval Yelp reviews were not kind and said that the birds tasted horribly, were hard to digest and also criticized by physicians as “causing bad humors.”

Thankfully, these birds are not on the menu much anymore and we can simply enjoy their intricate beauty. Out of 200 tail feathers, around 150 will have that famous eye pattern. Apparently, this was an evolutionary trait that came about due to the preference of the ladies. Peahens are hot for those eyes, even though they’ve evolved and have been lost many times. I guess it just depends on the latest fad in peacock world. Luckily, eyes are currently still the “in” trait so we can enjoy their beauty as well.  And if you’re lucky enough, you might even be able to see one fly.

Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month! 

World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue, Viridian, Permanent Green Pale, and Neutral Tint. Sennelier: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pens with Platinum Carbon black ink and second pen with blue ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal – Photo reference by Captain Supchat.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

52 replies on “When Peacocks Fly

  1. Medieval Yelp reviews – you are hilarious, Charlie. I take my grands to a park where peafowl are featured, and the kids always look to see if the males are strutting their stuff and fanning their feathers. They do not perform to requests – not human requests, anyway. I love your spectacular and unusual view of this one in flight. You captured everything we love about these magnificent birds.

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  2. seriously, Charlie….. this has to be one of the most entertaining sites I have found!!!! I’m nearly always smiling, laughing or ROFL. Well done. Awesome. loved the “run like hell..” now, your pretty boy bird, is beautiful! very cool to think to do him flying. out of curiosity… if I may?? what is your ‘day job? please don’t tell me its peacock keeper, either. lol

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    1. Awww thanks Debi! 😃💕Thrilled you enjoy my little posts. I’m rushing so fast I often don’t even know what I’m writing half the time! 😊 My day job I’m the Creative Director for a packaging and retail design studio called Venn49. But wow…peacock keeper sounds cool, too!! Lol

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      1. made you laugh this time!! yay! anyway, thanks for sharing – its very cool you’re in a creative field. makes life just that much more pleasant!! though, everything – has its own dramas. lol 🙂 even the poor peacock keeper, must surely roll his eyes once or twice.

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  3. Only you would think outside the box so much (and be brave enough) to show a peacock in flight! Clever, awkwardly graceful, and amazing, Charlie! Ummm, Yelp way before its time? LOL! Kind of morbid and probably unsanitary to display the feathers with the cooked fowl, but I am sure that was a presentation reserved for the rich and famous of the time 😉

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  4. Wow, this is playing with my head! I’m so used to seeing the peacocks stationary and have never really considered that they might, y’know, be able to use those wings. It was well worth coming out on this hike to catch such a glimpse, what a glorious specimen it is! Awesome doodlewash!

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  5. Despite your lovely painting I’m going to have to be the dissenting voice on peacock. When we lived in the country an escaped peacock adopted us and started living in a neighbour’s tree. Every summer morning at about 4.30 he’d wake is with his horrible cry: a guttural honk followed by a series of piercing shrieks. One day our greyhound decided to chase him down the garden. The dog grabbed him by his grandiose tail which he jettisoned and escaped to a nearby tree. He spent the rest of the summer with only three or four miserable feathers in his depleted tail.

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    1. Haha… bring on the dissenting voice, Michael! Actually someone on Instagram had a similar story… the honking is a fairly miserable thing to endure it seems. But poor guy isn’t going to get much action with a tail like that. Though I’d be with you, as they’re pretty to look at, but wake me at 4:30 in the morning and I’m not going to be a fan! lol

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  6. What a beautiful Peacock! They sure are intriguing birds. I grew up in an area with Pea families…(would that be correct?), they make a lot of noise especially at night. They sound like cats in heat, moaning and screeching, very haunting.

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    1. Thanks so much Cathe!😃💕I think pretty much “pea” anything with these guys is correct. Yeah… I guess I’ve luckily never had to encounter one in the evening. That seems to be a regular complaint with these guys. I wonder what they’re fussing about? hehe


  7. Your painting is amazing, Charlie! A wonderful rendering.
    They are quite remarkable in flight arn’t they. One would think they are a bit like ostriches or penguins, but this just adds to their interest.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A magnificent peacock, Charlie! I’ve never thought of a peacock flying, I always thought they were flightless. I’ve Googled a few images since seeing your post, and in flight they put me in mind of a phoenix. I wonder if that’s where the legend has come from? Hmmm….

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