Peacocks are stunning, royal bluebirds with their well-known long tail feathers. These birds are known for their mating dance in which they spread their feathers and shake them.
Peacocks can walk, run and also fly; but can they swim? Most sources on the web claim that it is impossible for peacocks to swim. However, the evidence says otherwise.
Can peacocks swim in water? Or do peacocks drown?
Though it seems unlikely, peacocks can swim! These birds weigh 4-6 kgs on average and due to their heavy weight, can only fly for very short distances.
This might lead you to think that peacocks can’t swim. The truth is that even though it is believed these birds can’t swim, peacocks have been caught swimming in the water comfortably.
This does not mean that all peacocks swim or that they like to swim, but if a peacock needs to swim, it can.
Here is a video that shows a beautiful white peacock calmly swimming in the water. It is important to note that the peacock is not distressed or trying to rush out of the water. It is calm and seemingly enjoying the swim.
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Do peacocks have webbed feet? How do they swim?
Birds that swim – like ducks, geese, and swans, have webbed feet. This means that they do not have toes or talons that move freely and independently.
The toes are connected by a thin membrane so that they form a large, flat surface. This provides a larger surface area that the birds can use to push water back with.
Peacocks do not have this adaptation to water birds. These birds are terrestrial and arboreal. They are native to areas that have trees and grass.
Their freely-moving toes and talons are necessary to maintain a grip on branches while they perch, as well as to dig in the dirt to find food.
Are peacocks waterproof? Will their feathers absorb water and soak?
Another adaptation of water birds is that they have waterproof feathers. Ducks, swans, geese, etc., all have a coating of oil on their feathers. This oil is released when these birds preen themselves.
Since oil is a hydrophobic material, it repels water. If you put a drop of water on the feather of a duck, the drop will just roll right off the feather. This is incredibly important because if the feathers absorbed water, the birds would become too heavy and eventually drown in the water.
Peacocks do not have this oily coating on their feathers because they spend most, or all of their time on land or trees.
If a drop of water is placed on the feather of a peacock, the feather will absorb it. This is a major reason why people think these birds can’t swim.
It is possible that peacocks keep their longer feathers slightly above the water while they swim. This will prevent them from getting wet and won’t make the peacock too heavy when it swims.
Do all varieties of peacocks swim?
Though there is no information available on this topic, it can be said that if one variety of peacocks can swim, there is no reason why others can not.
All varieties have a similar structure and weight so if one can swim, all should be able to.
How do peacocks bathe?
Peacock feathers absorb water. This brings us to the question of how they clean themselves. They cannot use large amounts of water because it will take too long to dry out.
So, like most other birds, peacocks preen themselves. This means that they clean their feathers with their beaks.
Since they have very large feathers, peacocks spend a lot of their time (almost 15%) preening themselves. This is important too because only the males with the best feathers attract females and are able to mate.
Peacocks sometimes also take ‘dust baths’ to clean themselves. They dig a hole in dry dirt and then roll around in the dirt so that it covers them. This is the best way to clean off bugs and oily residue that might be stuck to their feathers.
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Though most sources say peacocks can’t swim, they in fact can.
These birds have been seen comfortably swimming in water bodies even though it seems impossible. They do not have webbed feet or waterproof feathers like other birds that swim but this does not stop them from effortlessly gliding in water.