Male vs Female Peacock – What’s the difference?

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male vs female peacock

When we talk about this majestic bird, we instinctively call it a peacock but in reality, only the males of the species are called peacocks while the females are called peahens. And the term for the entire species is peahens. Let’s explore the differences between peacocks and peahens.

Male vs female peacock: The entire bird species are called peafowl while males are peacocks and females are peahens. Peacocks have bright blue necks and long tail feathers in iridescent blue and green colors. In contrast, peahens have a bit of green coloring on their necks and have brown plumage and very short tails. Both birds are quite loud, especially when faced with predators but peacocks will screech a lot more during mating season as they try to attract the attention of peahens. Overall, both birds are amazing to see but the most iconic is definitely peacocks. Peafowl is native to warmer climates, especially countries such as India, but you can see peacocks and peafowl in zoos around the world.

Difference Between Male vs Female Peacock

male vs female peacock difference

If you see a peacock and a peahen next to each other, you will realize right away that they are different birds. Like most birds, male peacocks are more ostentatious while female peahens are far more subdued in color.

Size

Peahens are definitely much smaller than peacocks. As is typical for animals, peahens can be almost half the size of peacocks.

Expect peacocks to weigh between 10 to 13 pounds while peahens weigh about 6 to 10 pounds.

Color

If you’ve ever looked at birds in the wild you will notice that male birds are more colorful than their female counterparts. This is due to sexual dimorphism.

Essentially, while they are of the same species, their outward appearance is strikingly different. This is incredibly noticeable with peafowl.

When it comes to mating, peacocks need to strut their stuff. They need to show off and entice peahens to mate with them. The result is an impressive display of color and feathers.

Peahens don’t need to be ostentatious because they don’t need to fight for attention. In fact, mating is entirely up to peahens so they simply wait to be impressed by a peacock.

This sexual dimorphism is particularly noticeable with peafowl. Peacocks have bright green and blue feathers. Their necks seem to shimmer with movement and while their bodies are more subdued, their feathers are immense, loud, and very colorful.

On the other hand, peahens are different shades of brown. Their necks may have a bit of that iridescent green in them, but then their bodies are a mottled color of white and shades of brown.

Behavior

Peacocks are slightly more aggressive than peahens, although not overly so. During the mating season, which lasts from early spring to late summer, peacocks will be more active as they need to attract the attention of peahens.

Of the two, peacocks are noisier although peahens are definitely not quiet birds. Both will honk and screech if they sense danger or predators.

Feathers

Peacocks have an abundance of feathers and there can be more than 200 individual feathers on their tails. These feathers are the classic blue and green we associate with the animals.

With peahens, their bodies have a lot of feathers but they are all in the brown range of colors. Their feathers are also much shorter, especially along the tail.

Tail

Nothing is more iconic than a peacock’s gorgeous tail. Unfortunately, peahens do not have the same beauty.

The tail of a peacock can reach up to 5 feet in length. In contrast, the tail of a peahen is only a few inches.

A peacock has long blue and green iridescent feathers on its tail and when it fans out, the feathers have large circles on it. Peahens don’t really have tails and the short ones that they do have just have brown feathers on them.

Lifespan

While there are many differences between peacocks and peahens, one category they are similar in is their lifespan. Both peacocks and peahens live for about 20 years.

This lifespan is longer in captivity, for both animals, as there are fewer natural predators. Moreover, in captivity, peafowl is guaranteed food whereas in the wild they need to forage for it.

Personality

You will almost always see peacocks and peahens in captivity in zoos. You may also see them in other wildlife sanctuaries. Furthermore, they are increasing in number on farmland due to their ability to warn other animals of approaching predators.

However, neither peacocks nor peahens make good pets. They are far too messy and their habitat needs are much larger than what the average backyard features.

If you do have a hobby farm and are tempted to have a peacock, it’s better to go with a peahen. Peacocks are slightly more aggressive and far noisier. While peahens are quite vocal, peacocks are especially loud during mating season.

When peahens are on their own, they will only screech when entering a new area or if there is a threat of danger. Without a peacock to engage in mating rituals, peahens are a lot quieter.

Which peacock has thick feathers, male or female?

Peacocks have both longer and thicker feathers than peahens. However, neither peacocks nor peahens have thick enough feathers to withstand harsh climates.

Peafowl originates from warm, tropical climates and cannot survive in winters that consistently go below freezing temperatures.  

Is a male peacock larger than a female?

Yes, a male peacock is much larger than a female peacock, both in length and weight. A peacock weighs up to 13 pounds while a peahen weighs up to 10 pounds.

Including the tail, a peacock can be up to 7 or 8 feet in length while a peahen is only 3 to 4 feet in length.

Conclusion

While we may call the entire species peacocks in common language, in actuality the species are called peafowl and the male birds are peacocks while the female birds are peahens. Peacocks have that amazing blue and green plumage while peahens are different shades of brown and white.

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