Peahen doing dust bath at Delhi
Peahen doing dust bath at Delhi

We human beings in general have water bath to clean our body. During summers the frequency increases to cool our body. As the present life style keeps us away from the sun rays most of us suffer from deficiency of Vitamin D. In certain cases doctors do suggest for soil or dust bath as a last measure being a nature cure.

Most of us during our visit to the wildlife parks must have seen animals such as sambar deer, elephants, wild boar having mud bath. At the same time birds such as jungle crow, common myna, house sparrow, bee eater, peahen, jungle fowl and many others having dust bath on the safari route.

Peahen shaking the dust from the body after bath at Delhi

When birds bath in water or immersed themselves in dust they are actually maintaining their plumage. They roll or move around in dust or sand. The purpose is to clean the fur or feathers or skin to get rid of the insects, germs or parasites.

The dust bath is often followed by thorough shaking to remove the dust from the body. Later on they may even preen the feathers with their beak.

Recently I had a chance to observe the dust bath by a peahen. She lowered her belly in the dust and tossed it under her wings and over her back. After it was fully immersed in the feathers, after about 10 minutes she got up and shook her body and it was a dust cloud around her body. What a sight ! I thought of sharing with you all.

About Vinod Goel

He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.