Why Do Peacocks Spread Their Feathers?

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When peacocks spread their tail feathers, it’s an amazing sight to see. But what causes this natural phenomenon and what are peacocks trying to communicate when they display their bold plumage?

Why do peacocks spread their feathers: Peacocks come with amazing tail feathers and while we see the beauty in them, there are actually practical reasons for the bright blue and green feathers. Peacocks have a lot of natural predators and this grand display can frighten even larger animals away. Tail feathers are also an important part of the courting ritual. Peacocks display their feathers, being sure to show just how many eyespots they have. This display attracts the attention of peahens who then decide who they want to mate with. While their feathers are on display, peacocks can also produce a low rattle sound. While humans aren’t usually able to hear the sound, it is another way of enticing peahens.

Do female peacocks spread their feathers?

Female peacocks are actually called peahens and the entire species is referred to as peafowl. Peahens do indeed have tails, but they are much smaller than peacocks.

Peahens have tails that are between 4 and 6 inches long. Their tail feathers are brown and white in color, and not the iridescent color scheme that peacocks have. Furthermore, peahens do not have any eyespots on their tails.

When peahens spread their feathers, it is for similar purposes that peacocks have. If they are scared of potential predators, they will fluff their feathers out. Even though it is a smaller display, it might be enough to intimidate a larger animal.

Peahens can also spread their feathers when answering a mating call from a peacock. It is their way of answering the potential mating, basically affirming that they are interested.

Do peacocks spread their feathers to scare predators?

Peacocks have brilliant plumage for a number of reasons and one of these is to scare away predators. Just imagine if you were sneaking up on a relatively average-sized bird, only for it to triple in size.

Predators want an easy catch. If they sense their prey is too much work, they will slink off and look for an easier meal.

Peacocks can’t fly very far and so have a lot of natural predators they need to look out for. These include jungle cats and mongooses in the wild and coyotes in more suburban settings. Since their predators can quickly overrun peacocks, the birds have built-in a number of defenses.

First, if a peacock senses a threat, it will immediately issue a loud screech sound. This is both to ward off predators as well as to alert other peacocks to help them escape to safety.

After the alarm has been sounded, peacocks then use every defense possible. If there are trees nearby, they will quickly fly up to the higher ground.

If flying is not an option, peacocks will make use of their abundant plumage. They will open their tail feathers up in an attempt to intimidate larger predators.

Unless those predators are used to hunting peacocks, the sight of bright green and blue colors will be quite a shock. It can scare predators or at the very least, catch them off guard.

Reasons why peacocks spread their feathers


The most important reason that peacocks spread their feathers is due to mating. As is typical with other birds, peahens are sought after by peacocks.

Peacocks must do everything they can to show off their prowess and that includes displaying their tail feathers. Peahens are attracted to this display mainly on the basis of what will create a strong lineage.

When fanned out, peacock tails will show off large eyespots. While they do look like eyes, they are actually large green and blue circles. The more eyespots, the better the chance a peacock has of mating.

Interestingly, peacocks can have multiple peahen mates and are considered polyamorous. Despite, this, peacocks will remain loyal to the mates who choose them.

To create sound

While still tied with the aspect of mating, peacocks can actually create a unique sound by moving their tail feathers. The sound itself is called a tail rattle.

To produce this sound, peacocks will quiver their tail in just the right way. It is a low sound and many humans are not able to hear it on its own.

However, peahens and other peacocks are attuned to this sound and will pick up on the vibrations. The right-sounding tail rattle can interest peahens into becoming potential mates.

Is there a way to make peacocks spread their feathers?

Peacocks are animals and if given enough time and rewards, they can be trained to spread their feathers on command. However, some special attention needs to be given to them.

First, you will want to start this training when the peacocks are quite young. Baby peachicks enjoy the attention and if you hatch them from babies, they will remain very loyal.

When you see a peacock spread its feathers, provide a treat for them. This should be something flavorful but also nutritious. Think of a sweet piece of fruit.

You won’t be able to command your peacock to spread its feathers right away so you will need to pay attention and follow it around for a bit and reward it each time its tail feathers come out.

Soon, your peacock will associate spreading its tail feathers with receiving a treat. Similar to training a dog, you can actually pair a command with this behavior.

Start issuing the command and if your peacock spreads its wings, give it a treat. If done routinely, your peacock will pick up on the reward system.

Peacocks live up to 20 years old and if you have one peacock that is with you from birth, you will find a loyal, attentive bird.


When peacocks display their tail feathers, it’s an amazing sight. Peacocks take advantage of their plumage to scare away predators and provide an attractive sight for potential mates. If you have a peacock you have raised since it was a chick, you can actually go about training it to spread its feathers on command.

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