[Heb., tuk·ki·yimʹ (plural)].
The brilliantly colored male of the peafowl. It is a large bird of the pheasant family, about the size of a turkey. The peacock (Pavo muticus and Pavo cristatus) is particularly noted for its magnificent train of iridescent green and gold feathers marked with large “eyespots” of blue. The train can be spread at will to form an impressive semicircular screen, or fan, touching the ground on either side. The peacock shakes the fanned train, producing a rustling sound and causing the feathers to shimmer with their iridescent hues. The neck and breast are also of a beautiful metallic greenish-blue color. Because of its majestic beauty, the bird was greatly prized from ancient times.
In King Solomon’s time his fleet of ships of Tarshish made triannual voyages, bringing cargoes of “gold and silver, ivory, and apes and peacocks.” (1Ki 10:22) While certain of Solomon’s ships made trips to Ophir (evidently in the Red Sea area; 1Ki 9:26-28), 2 Chronicles 9:21 mentions ships “going to Tarshish” (likely in Spain) in connection with the carrying of the above commodities, including peacocks. It is not certain, therefore, from what place or area the peacocks were imported. These beautiful birds are held to be native of SE Asia and are abundant in India and Sri Lanka. Some believe that the Hebrew name (tuk·ki·yimʹ) is to be connected with the Old Tamil name for the peacock, tokei. Solomon’s fleet could have obtained the peacocks when the ships sailed along their usual route and stopped at some trading center that had contacts with India. Of interest, also, is the statement in The Animal Kingdom, by Frederick Drimmer: “For centuries scientists assumed that there were no peacocks in Africa—their known dwelling places were the East Indies and southeastern Asia. The belief of the naturalists was shattered in 1936, when the Congo peacock [Afropavo congensis] was discovered in the Belgian Congo.”—1954, Vol. II, p. 988.
Some prefer to link the Hebrew word tuk·ki·yimʹ to the Egyptian ky, a kind of ape.