During mating season, a male peafowl (peacock) spreads its feathers to both impress potential mates and deter potential predators.
Although the tail feathers of this magnificent bird have been loved and studied for thousands of years. The true secrets of why peacocks have such spectacular tail feathers are just now beginning to be unraveled by science.
The Peacocks Train
The peacock’s long train and shorter “tail” feathers create the bird’s elaborate plumage show. Scientists have just lately demonstrated that this train, which can weigh up to half a pound, doesn’t hinder the birds’ ability to take off or fly short distances.
When fully extended in a display of courting or intimidation, a peacock’s train can reach as long as 55 to 63 inches (140 to 160 cm), accounting for 60% of the animal’s total length. A peacock will lose all of its beautiful feathers every year, just to re-grow them in time for mating.
Peacocks, on the other hand, don’t get their first train until they’re two years old. The length of their trains continues to increase with each passing year until they reach their full size at roughly six years of age.
The peacock’s train is one of the most intricate displays of coloration among birds, with an average of 140 to 170 long feathers, each one ending in a distinctive “eyespot” (ocellus).
Reasons Why Peacocks Spread Their Feathers
Even while lying flat, a peacock’s lengthy train of feathers is still a sight to behold, since it may measure up to 5 feet in length. Nevertheless, when they spread their feathers, the awe-inspiring quality reaches new height.
And a width of 6-7 feet! Nevertheless, have you ever considered the motivation behind a peacock’s elaborate display of tail feathers? Read on to discover what does it mean when a peacock spreads his feathers.
Attracting a Mate
Peacocks are easily recognizable by the unique combination of colors and “eyespots” that decorate their feathers. When courting a female, a male may fan out his tail feathers to show off his vivid plumage and distinctive eyespots.
The tail of a peacock, when fully extended, forms a semicircle behind the bird; some peacocks have larger tails than others. In the end, she bases her decision to mate with him on the size and patterns of his tail.
To Scare Predators
Peafowls are found in the wild in the forests of Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Myanmar. Wild creatures like tigers and mongooses, as well as household pets like dogs and cats, are some of their natural enemies. Peafowls keep a sharp eye out for potential threats and quickly raise the alarm if they spot one.
Peafowl can’t fly very far, therefore when they feel threatened, they usually try to fly into a nearby tree. They avoid danger by spending the night high in the trees.
New research shows that peacocks use both visual and audible displays (feather rattling) when courting. They are aware that the peahens are listening, but they are unsure of the meaning of the sound it generates at this time.
Train rattling is the term for this type of conduct. Although peahens’ feather displays aren’t nearly as elaborate as those of peacocks, they are nonetheless used for communication. Female peacocks may spread their feathers to signal to males that they are selecting him during courtship.
How Females Choose
The peahen determines whether or not a peacock is a good potential mate by watching him display his tail feathers. The greater the size of the tail and the greater the number of eyespots, the greater the likelihood of attracting a mate or multiple partners.
Men who are especially “beautiful” to women may have a large number of devoted wives because of the attractive features of their tail. But, just as in the rest of nature, there are no guarantees when it comes to peacock mating rituals.
The Size Limit
When it comes to peahens, bigger isn’t always better. Females prefer males with larger, healthier plumage and a high number of eyespots, but they may reject those with too many.
Heavy or extravagant tails could be a problem for these ground-dwelling birds, and a peacock’s extravagant display of feathers could turn females away in favor of less ostentatious males.
Peacocks are male members of the pheasant family, the peafowl, which also includes the peahen. Several kinds of peacocks may have slightly different plumage colors and sizes, but all of them fan their feathers out in a spectacular fashion when they want to impress.
But peacocks don’t do it for attention; it’s part of their courtship ritual. Hope, now you know what does it mean when a peacock spreads his feathers.