This bird lost out the title of 'National Bird' to Peacock!
India has more than 1301 species of bird. Yet, the peafowl made it to the title. Do you also wonder why?
Yes, the national bird is the peafowl and not just the peacock! Actually, a peafowl is the name of the family of the birds. We know a male peafowl as a peacock and a female peafowl as a peahen. The young ones are called peachicks!
The process of selecting a national bird, in the year 1963, was through a process wherein, the decision makers wanted to ensure that the national bird should have a wide occurrence, be popular, should be capable of cultural depiction, should be unique and should have heritage value.
In fact, it is interesting to note the cultural and mythological value attached with the peacock.
The Peacock passed the following qualifiers to emerge as the national bird of India!
Bird should be widely well-distributed within the country.
The bird should be recognisable to the common man
It must lend itself to formal depiction, i.e. abstract depiction on government publications.
It must not be confused with the bird emblem of any other nation.
It should be associated with the myths and legends.
The peacock is believed to have taken bird from the feathers of bird Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu. Since India is a predominantly a Hindu country, most folklore is from the Hindu takes, however, peacock feathers have a deep root in Feng Shui as well as Vastu Shastra. In Christianity too, a peacock is considered to be a symbol of eternal life.
Probably, the selectors/decision-makers did not have a difficult time deciding upon the national bird. Well, our guess is wrong. There was indeed a strong contender and it lost over a very trivial issue.
The Great Indian Bustard was almost announced as the national bird. However, the concern was about India being reduced to a laughing stock resulting from a spelling or a pronunciation error of the name of the bird - Indian Bustard.
Today, the Great Indian Bustard is heading towards becoming India's Dodo. It needs protection - from being one of the commonly found birds to almost being announced as the national bird to facing extinction. It has come a long way.
We will leave that to story to another day.