Artistic Birds – Peafowls or Peacocks

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?  (Job 39:13)

Before we leave the Phasianidae Family, there is a bird that is very familiar to many that shows God’s Creative and Artistic Hand at work. We always enjoy watching them. The Peacock/Peafowl is also listed as a Bird of the Bible.

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Peafowl is a common name for three species of birds in the genera Pavo and Afropavo of the Phasianidae family, the pheasants and their allies. Male peafowl are referred to as peacocks, and female peafowl as peahens.] The two Asiatic species are the blue or Indian peafowl originally of the Indian subcontinent, and the green peafowl of Southeast Asia; the one African species is the Congo peafowl, native only to the Congo Basin. Male peafowl are known for their piercing calls and their extravagant plumage. The latter is especially prominent in the Asiatic species, which have an eye-spotted “tail” or “train” of covert feathers, which they display as part of a courtship ritual.

Malayan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron malacense) Feathers ©WikiC

Malayan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron malacense) Feathers ©WikiC

“For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” (1 Kings 10:22 KJV)

Peacock at Magnolia Plantation by Dan

Peacock Feather

Peacock Feather by Lee

“For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” (2 Chronicles 9:21 KJV)

13. Peacock

White Peacock

White and Regular Peacocks from email

White Peacock from email

Wow! What another beautiful artistic Avian Wonder from our Lord.

Artistic Work In Birds – Introduction

Wordless Birds

“Flag That Bird!” (Part 1)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 1)

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners; may the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.   (Psalms 20:5 — numbered as 20:6 in Hebrew Bible)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

“Flags” and “banners” herald symbolic messages and institutions, such as a nationality, a dynasty, a military force, or some other kind of organization.  In holy Scripture, the term “flag” (in the KJV) refers to riparian or lacustrine wetland plants, which somewhat resemble banners in their physical appearance (see Job 8:11; Exodus 2:3,5; Isaiah 19:6). The term “banner” denotes the word “flag” as it is commonly used today (see Exodus 17:15; Song of Solomon 2:4 & 6:4,10; Psalms 20:5 & 60:4; Isaiah 13:2).

Bald Eagle and a flag

Whenever birds are featured on a national flag (or on its “armorial banner” version, or on a national province or department), the odds heavily favor the banner-bird being an eagle.   Flags affiliated with American showcase the bald eagle; other nations usually present a golden eagle, like Mexico, or sometimes a mythical “double-headed” eagle, like Mount Athos.

ag of Mexico ©WikiC

flag of Mexico ©WikiC

Consider  –  for just a few representative examples  –  the eagles that appear on the flags  –  some present, some past  —  of these national and state/provincial flags:  Albania;  American Samoa;  Austria (armorial flag);  Brandenburg, Germany;  Ecuador (armorial banner);  Egypt;  Geneva, Switzerland;  Germany (armorial flag );  Iowa;  Italian president’s flag (AD1880-AD1946);  Jordan (armorial banner);  Mexico;  North Dakota;  Oregon (front side of state flag);  Pennsylvania;  Poland (armorial flag);  Prussia (armorial banner, AD1819-AD1850); (Moldova;  Mount Athos (autonomous Greek protectorate);  Russian Czar’s banner (18th century A.D.);  Serbia (during AD1882-AD1918); Silesia (until absorption by Prussia in AD1742 – parts of Silesia now lay within Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic);  United States Coast Guard and Marine Corps;  Utah;  Virgin Islands (of the USA);  Zambia; etc.

So what about the other birds?  Do any other birds get to show off their plumage on a national flag?  Yes, but just a select few.  Although this listing is likely incomplete (and it will be presented as a mini-series, God willing), herebelow are some non-eagle birds that appear on the official flags of some countries of the world.

For starters, consider the common – yet ubiquitously valuable – Chicken.

Gallic Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) ©WikiC

Gallic Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) ©WikiC

Gallic Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus).

The Gallic Chicken appears on the flag of Wallonia, Belgium.

Wallonia is a region of Belgium, where French is the language usually spoken.  (In Flanders, however, Flemish is spoken; Brussels is bilingual.)  The “Walloon Cock” (i.e., rooster of Wallonia) marches prominently at the center of the regional flag of Wallonia, Belgium.

Flag of Wallonia

Flag of Wallonia

During New testament times the country of France (and additional lands that border it) was called “Gaul”, and the symbol of Gaul was the “Gallic cock” (Gallus gallus domestic), i.e., a strutting rooster  –  the adult male of the domestic Chicken, deemed a subspecies of the Red Jungle-fowl (Gallus gallus).  “The cock is a traditional Gallic [i.e., Gaelic/Celtic] emblem and [it] recalls Wallonia’s linguistic and cultural ties with France.”  [Quoting Alfred Znamierowski, The World Encyclopedia of Flags (London: Hermes House, 2002), page 146.]  Chickens are bred and eaten all over the world  –  they even roam the streets of Key West, Florida!   Can you imagine life without chicken?  – think of the almost endless variety of culinary uses of chicken meat and chicken eggs!  Vive le poulet!

The next bird on this list is “bird hawk”, i.e., an accipiter hawk.

Among the birds of prey (“raptors”), there are two main categories of “hawks”:  (1) eagle-or-buzzard-like “buteos” (famous for snatching rodents, lizards, fish, and snakes); (2) and smaller forest-frequenting “accipiters” (famous for snatching birds).  Some would “lump” falcons with accipiters; other do not.  Other groups within the greater “hawk family” include eagles, kites, harriers, vultures, and various “buzzards”.

Buteos include such birds as Red-tailed Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk (which also eats insects), Ferruginous Hawk, Eurasian Buzzard, Broad-winged Hawk, and Osprey.

Accipiters are the smaller category of hawk-like birds  —  the “true hawks”  —  which include the likes of Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, etc.  “Accipiters are woodland, bird-catching hawks.  They rely on surprise and a blurring burst of speed to overtake prey.  Short, broad wings provide great acceleration, and slim bodies create little drag.”  [Quoting  Jack L. Griggs, All the Birds of North America (HarperCollins, 1997), page 66 .]  The smaller size of accipiters is a more fitting design for darting in between and around tree branches and shrubbery.  “An accipiter, like the Cooper’s hawk, can chase a songbird through a maze of trees without seeming to slow down, using its long tail as a rudder to help maneuver.  If a songbird does escape the initial attack, it is likely to survive the encounter, for accipiters are sprinters … [who] seldom engage in prolonged tail chases.”  [Again quoting Griggs, All the Birds of North America, page 66.]

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) ©USFWS

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) ©USFWS

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis).

The Northern Goshawk appears on the flag of the Azores, an Atlantic Ocean-surrounded archipelago.  These volcanic islands, located southwest of the European continent, arose from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, constitute an autonomous protectorate of Portugal.

Portuguese Flag (PD)

Portuguese Flag (PD)

The word “Azores’ derives from açor, the Portuguese word for “goshawk” (which means “goose-hawk”).  Yet it is ironic that both the name and flag of the Azores feature the Northern Goshawk (an accipiter common in continental Europe), because many historians doubt that the Northern Goshawk was a common resident of there, when the Azores were discovered by Portuguese sailors during the AD1400s.  Many think that a local variety of the Eurasian Common Eurasian (Buteo buteo) was mistaken for the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) – yet nonetheless the name “Azores” (meaning “goshawks”) stuck.  Accordingly, the depiction of a goshawk, matching the archipelago’s name, was superimposed onto the Azores’ territorial flag.)

The next flag-featured bird is a spectacularly colored fowl, famous for its fan-like display of extravagant covert plumage, the Peafowl.   Many call this iridescence-decorated fowl the “peacock”, although it is only the male that is appropriately called “peacock”; the female is a “peahen” and the young are “peachicks”.  There are three types of peafowl:  (1) the Blue Peafowl (a/k/a “Indian Peafowl”) of India and Ceylon; (2) the Green Peafowl of southeastern Asia (native to Burma, Indochina, and the Indonesian island of Java); and (3) the Congo Peafowl (native to the Congo River’s drainage basin in Africa).

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus).

The Green Peafowl appeared, briefly (AD1939-AD1941), on the British territorial flag of “British Burma” – then a British Commonwealth colony.  (Burma is now called “Myanmar”.)   That colonial flag contained a Green Peafowl prominently displaying its famous covert feathers.

Flag of the Third Burmese Empire

Flag of the Third Burmese Empire (PD)

The Green Peafowl, historically, had symbolized pre-colonial regimes of Burma.

For example, the flag of the “Third Burmese Empire” (Konbaung Dynasty, AD1752-AD1885 – a/k/a “Alompra Dynasty”, which ultimately lost the Anglo-Burmese Wars  –  after persecuting the Great Commission efforts of Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson, who translated the Holy Bible into Burmese), consisted of a fan-tailed Green Peafowl, superimposed on a white background.

Peafowl on Flag of the Third Burmese Empire (PD)

Peafowl on Flag of the Third Burmese Empire (PD)

One more non-eagle bird, displayed on a national flag, will be included, below.  (The remainder must arrive on this blogsite another day, God willing.)  The next bird we will “flag” is a parrot.

Sisserou Parrot {Imperial Amazon} The national bird of Dominica (PD)

Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis), a/k/a Imperial Amazon Parrot.

The Sisserou Parrot is a montane rainforest-dwelling parrot “endemic” to the Caribbean island nation of Dominica (not to be confused with another Caribbean country, Dominican Republic).  The term “endemic” means limited to that one location, so the Sisserou Parrot is native only to the island nation of Dominica.  And what a beautiful parrot it is!  As the national bird of Dominica, it is showcased “center-stage” on Dominica’s flag.

Dominican-Flag ©WikiC

Dominica’s-Flag ©WikiC

Sisserou Parrot Insert (Amazonaon Dominic )Flag ©Flickr-

Sisserou Parrot Insert (Amazonaon Dominic) Flag ©Flickr-

The flag’s depiction of the parrot is dominated by green and purple, with the beak and talons presented as yellow.  This coloring approximates the real parrot, though the “real thing” is obviously more beautiful!  The Sisserou is known to keep company with other parrots of Dominica, including the also-endemic Dominican Blue-faced Amazon Parrot (Amazona arausiaca, a/k/a “Red-necked Amazon”  –  no jokes about “rednecks”, please!)

There are more official birds to “flag”:   British Antarctic Territory (penguin);  Saint Helena, British crown colony in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean (Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a “wirebird”);  Fiji (dove);  Kiribati (frigatebird);  Papua New Guinea (bird of paradise);  Australian state of Western Australia (black swan);  Australian state of South Australia (piping shrike, n/k/a white-backed Australian magpie);  royal standard flag of Tonga (dove);  Bolivia (condor);  and Uganda (crested crane).

Till this mini-series continues, “flag those Jehovah-nissi birds!”  Yet more importantly, keep in mind that the Creator of all birds, flagged or otherwise, is JEHOVAH-NISSI (“the LORD our banner”), the One to Whom we pledge our ultimate allegiance!

And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi. (Exodus 17:15)

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More Articles by James J. S. Johnson

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Bible Birds – Peacocks in South Carolina

Peacocks at entrance to Magnolia Plantation

Peacocks at entrance to Magnolia Plantation

 

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22)

We have just arrived home from a shortened vacation due to a health issue. We got as far as Charleston, S. C. before turning around and drifting back home.

We were able to visit a few places, the Magnolia Plantation, for one, in Charleston. We were greeted at the entrance by at least 6 or 7 Peacocks. Also at the Petting Zoo, they had two female Peafowl with very young peachicks. As far as I could tell, these were Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus). Peacocks are actually Peafowl and belong to the Pheasant & Allies Phasianidae Family.

I have never seen peachicks before and thought it cute that they have the little tufts on their heads that will eventually grow those top feathers.

Peachicks at Magnolia Gardens by Lee

Peachicks at Magnolia Gardens by Lee

“First, the “Peacocks” are the males. The females are called “Peahen” and their chicks are called “Peachicks.”  Collectively the birds are called Peafowl. They all belong to the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.” (From Birds of the Bible – Peacocks II


Here are some of the photos of the peacocks there at the Plantation.

Dan photographing one of the Peacocks

Dan photographing one of the Peacocks

To find out more about Peacocks (Peafowl):

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PS. Sorry about the quickly edited photos. I’ve had the blog on “auto-pilot” for over a week, but ran out of pre-scheduled blogs.

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Bible Birds – Peacocks I

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22 KJV)For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (2 Chronicles 9:21 KJV)

(Relocated)

Birds of the Bible – Peacocks II

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22 KJV)

For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (2 Chronicles 9:21 KJV)

In my reading today in I Kings 10, I came to the peacocks arriving to Israel via the Navy of Tharshish or Tarshish. We have written about them in Birds of the Bible – Peacocks (2008) and Birds of the Bible – Pied Peacock and Allies (2011). It’s time to see what else can be discovered about these beautifully created birds by the Lord.

Peacock Feather

Peacock Feather

We know He, The LORD, questioned Job about the Peacocks “goodly wings” in Job 39.

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? (Job 39:13 KJV)

Now, in I Kings and II Chronicles, the Peacocks are arriving in ships by the Navy of Tharshish. It appears that every three years those ships arrived with its precious cargos. Where had the ships gone to collect these items. There is speculation by some writers that the ships went west to Spain and other think in another way toward India and areas in that direction. The Bible does not say, so, we really don’t know.

Does that make you curious? It make me wonder where they found those peacocks.

Checking the history of Peacocks from CreationWiki and Wikipedia, they say that there are two species of Peafowl from Asia and one species from Africa. Is that were they got these Peacocks mentioned here in Scripture? When you are reading the Bible, do questions like this every give you an urge to dig a little deeper?

First, the “Peacocks” are the males. The females are called “Peafowl” and their chicks are called “Peachicks.”  Collectively the birds are called Peafowl. They all belong to the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.

The two species from India-Asia are the Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

and the Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus).

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus) by Ian

The African member of the family is the Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis).

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Congo Peacock (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Here are some of the thought of various commentaries:

JFB – once in three years — that is, every third year. Without the mariner’s compass they had to coast along the shore. The ivory, apes, and peacocks might have been purchased, on the outward or homeward voyage, on the north coast of Africa, where the animals were to be found. They were particularized, probably as being the rarest articles on board.

Geneva – By Tharshish is meant Cilicia, which was abundant in the variety of precious things.

Darby – 1 Kings 10:1-29 – The king of Tyre also was dependent on the king of Israel; and the queen of Sheba comes from the far south to delight herself in the wisdom of the head of God’s people, and to be filled with wonder at the sight of his glory, and to praise Jehovah who had raised him so high, and who had blessed the people in giving him to be their king. She also came with gifts; for the king’s renown had spread into distant lands. Nevertheless, although it was a true report that she had heard, the sight of his glory went far beyond all that had been said of it.

Constable – God forbade Israel’s kings from multiplying chariots (1Ki_10:26), the most effective and dreaded military machines of their day (Deu_17:16). God wanted His people to depend on Him primarily for their protection. Material prosperity and security often lead people to conclude that they have no needs when really our need for God never diminishes. Solomon fell into this trap. Wealth is not sinful in itself, but it does bring temptations with it (cf. Jam_5:1-6).

Though Solomon experienced great blessings from his faithful God, he fell prey to the sins these blessings make easier, as the writer explained in the next chapter.

Barnes – This is given as the reason of the great bountifulness of silver in the time of Solomon. The “navy of Tharshish” (not the same as the navy of Ophir, 1Ki_9:26) must therefore have imported very large quantities of that metal. Tharshish, or Tartessus, in Spain, had the richest silver mines known in the ancient world, and had a good deal of gold also; apes and ivory were produced by the opposite coast of Africa; and, if north Africa did not produce “peacocks,” which is uncertain, she may have produced the birds called here “tukkiyim,” which some translate “parrots,” others “guinea-fowl” – the latter being a purely African bird. The etymology of the Hebrew words here rendered “ivory,” “apes,” and “peacocks,” is uncertain; but even if of Indian origin, the Jews may have derived their first knowledge of ivory, apes, and peacocks, through nations which traded with India, and may thus have got the words into their language long before the time of Solomon. The names once fixed would be retained, whatever the quarter from where the things were procured afterward.

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee

We have no clear idea of where they came from, and it really does not matter other than we are told they came by ship. We know that Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest king because God promised him back when he prayed for wisdom.

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in….. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. (1 Kings 3:7-14 KJV)

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Wow! Is that not true of those of us who know the Lord? The Lord answers our prayers many times by giving us much more than we ever asked for. As long as our prayers are in line with His Word.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:17-20 KJV)

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