Peacocks are eating differently: Study By Himanshu Nitnaware, Pune Mirror
Updated: Feb 21, 2019, 06:00 IST
Changes in omnivorous national bird’s dietary pattern, with an increased dependence on grains, is egging on wildlife activists to scale up conservation bid.
A study on peacocks shows that dietary patterns of the national bird have changed making the omnivorous bird more dependant on grains. It also showed that farmers and locals take pride in culturally embedded effort to conserve the bird. The study was conducted by the biodiversity department of the Abasaheb Garware College to understand the diet, communications, reproductive behaviour and population of the bird in different parts of Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Extended over a period of three years, the researchers studied peacocks in areas like Morachi Chincholi and hills near Pune and Gangapur dam, Pandavleni and outskirts of Nashik in Maharashtra. While in Rajasthan the research was conducted in Sawai Madhopur, Shahpura, Govindpura and Kalakhora.
“The idea was to understand the impact of human habitation on the bird and vice-versa, the perception of the locals and if at all any efforts are made by them to protect the bird,” said Dhanashree Paranjpe, a researcher from the college. Focusing only on the dietary patterns in the first phase, the researcher said it was found that 70 per cent of the diet of these birds consists of grains.
“There is less dependence on other foods like insects, worms and reptiles which is known to be primarily consumed by them,” she added. Speaking about the human and peacock interactions, Paranjpe said in some parts it was observed that locals take special pride and are a matter of identity where peacocks dwell.
“This is true in reference with places like Morachi Chincholi where eco-tourism has flourished because of the peacocks. Also, in Rajasthan the religious and cultural beliefs also encourage the people to take pride,” she added.