There are few birds with as dominant of a physical display as the male peafowl, or peacock. Their colorful tails wow visitors from all around the world at zoos, but if you’re trying to get a peacock to mate with a female peafowl, or peahen, it’s about more than just a big display.
Peafowl mate the same way as most other birds, but they have their own unique mating rituals. Whether you’re just interested in these rituals or you’re trying to breed peafowl yourself, we break down everything that you need to know here!
How Do Peacocks Mate?
Despite all the misconceptions out there, peafowl mate the same way as many other birds. In short, both peafowl align their cloaca, and the peacock’s sperm is transferred to his partner.
Once the sperm enters the peahen, it travels up her uterus and fertilizes the egg. It’s much the same way that human reproduction works, but a fertilized egg comes out instead of a live baby!
Do Peacocks Mate Through Their Eyes?
There’s no scientific basis for this idea whatsoever. Peacocks do not mate through their eyes; they mate the same way as every other bird out there.
We’re not quite sure where this rumor started, but we can say with 100% certainty that it is completely false.
How Do Peacocks Act When Choosing a Mate?
When male peacocks try to attract a mate, it’s all about using their tail feathers, also known as their train. A male peacock shows off his train to a female and hopes that she finds it attractive enough to want to mate with him.
Peahens decide which trains of the peacocks look most attractive, and this is by far the largest determining factor for which one they’re going to mate with.
How Long Is a Peacock Pregnant?
Birds don’t get pregnant like mammals. Peahens will generally lay their fertilized eggs in the spring. They mate anywhere from late February to early August, so there’s a long period where they’re developing the eggs.
However, once they start laying eggs, they’ll lay them all over a 6- to 10-day period and incubate them for about 30 days. After the incubation period, the baby peafowl will hatch and start their lives!
Common Peacock Mating Rituals
The most common mating ritual of the peacock is the displaying of his train. Males spread their tails in a fan shape and strut back and forth while shaking their feathers to produce a rattling noise.
This gets the peahen’s attention, and then it’s up to her to pick her favorite male. Typically, a peahen will walk through the territory of several males and examine both the display and colors before selecting a mate.
In the wild, it’s not uncommon for a single male to have multiple mates in the same breeding season while others don’t get any.
While there are tons of wild myths out there about the peafowl mating process and rituals, the truth is that they don’t do things much differently than other birds. The males have more impressive plumage, but once it comes down to the details, it’s the same process!
So, the next time you head to the zoo and see a peacock expand his impressive train, know that there’s nothing all that special about this mating ritual beyond the aesthetic appeal!
Featured Image Credit: Vy nguyen 2905, Shutterstock