There are few birds whose physical display is as prominent as the male peafowl or peacock. Likewise, very few birds have a mating ritual as elaborate and beautiful as the peafowl.
How do Peacocks Mate?
Peafowls mate the same way as other birds, albeit with a unique and dazzling mating ritual.
Peacocks and peahens together constitute the peafowl. Hence, we use the term peafowl instead of peacock.
Both peacocks and peahens have sexual organs called cloacas. During sexual intercourse, the male peacock first mounts the peahen and aligns his tail with hers. It also aligns with their cloacas.
The peacock then transfers his sperm to the peahen, which travels to the uterus and fertilizes the egg via muscular spasms.
The process remains quite similar to human reproduction. The primary difference is that the peafowls lay eggs instead of a live baby.
Do Peacocks Mate Through Eyes?
It is a false myth that has no scientific basis. Despite popular belief, it is false since peacocks mate like other birds.
Peacock’s Mating and Breeding Ritual:
The peacocks and peahens flaunt a unique and mesmerizing mating and breeding ritual. Let’s walk through each of them.
- Peacocks (The Male Peafowl)
Peacocks boast of a unique mating ritual that involves using their long and beautiful tail feathers called ‘train.’
Foremost, the peacocks aggregate into ‘leks.’ These are small territories whose primary purpose is to increase the number of peahens per peacock.
The peacock opens its train fully as a mating ritual to form a fan shape and expose its iridescent multi-hued beauty completely. Then, it moves the feathers in specific movements to enhance their beauty and produce a rattling sound.
Simultaneously, the peacock dances or struts in circles with his legs while making noises to attract the peahens for mating.
- Peahens( The Female Peafowl)
The peahen ensures to look disinterested but closely examines the peacock’s color, display, and movements.
She mostly focuses her gaze on the lower portion of the peacock’s body (legs and base of tail) to decide. She walks through the ‘lek’ territories of several males before choosing her mating partner.
Once the peahen has decided on her mate, she crouches down on the specific lek ground to show her acceptance.
The peacock then performs a ‘hoot dash,’ wherein he makes a loud call while rushing towards the peahen to copulate.
Few Interesting Facts
A few other mating and breeding interesting facts to note are:
- Peafowls are polygamous, and hence, a peacock mates with several females during the breeding season.
- After mating, the peacock departs and plays no role in egg-laying and its incubation or in raising the children. It is the peahen alone who takes care of all these chores.
- Peahens often prefer males with flashy features. Due to it, few peacocks get the greatest number of peahens, while the less impressive ones might go with a few or even no females to copulate.
- Wild peahens can also display aggressive behavior when they all desire to copulate with a specific dominant male. Sometimes, a peahen copulates several times with a male to ward off other peahens.
- The hoot dash or the loud cry of the peacock before copulation is believed to be his victory declaration of conquest. It is also an attempt to impress other peahens in the vicinity for the future populations.
When is the Peacock’s Mating Season?
The peacock’s mating season begins in mid to late spring and gets over by summer. The season often coincides with the onset of the monsoon rains.
The season can be mapped as late February to early August.
What is Peacock’s Mating Tears?
It is a mythological myth rooted in Mahabharata. Since Lord Krishna adorned peacock feathers in his crown, the bird is deemed a pious and ‘brahmachari’ bird.
It is believed that the peacock cries, and the peahens drink that tear to give birth to young peafowl.
However, all these are just false myths with no scientific basis. Peacocks mate in their unique and flashy manner, as described above.
How Many Mates Do a Peacock and Peahen Have?
As stated, peacocks are polygamous by nature. Therefore, if possible, a peacock will have a harem of peafowl to copulate.
Peahens can select the same peacock or a different one each time she copulates. She copulates two to three times during the breeding season to finally lay eggs in clutches of six to ten eggs.
Can Peacocks Choose Peahens?
No, peacocks cannot choose the peahens. The choice lies with the peahens. The peacock copulates with the peahen once she gives consent for it after careful consideration.
Under no circumstances the peacocks can force themselves on the peahens. If a particular peacock is rejected by all available peahens, he would have to survive without copulation.
There are plenty of wild myths about the peafowl’s mating ritual and reproduction. However, the truth is that their process is much the same as any other bird.
The only special feature is the impressive plumage and extraordinary aesthetic appeal!
We hope you enjoyed busting the myths and getting acquainted with the actual mating ritual of the peacocks.