Despite the fact that the word peacock is generally used to refer to both genders, peacocks are the males, while the females are known as the peahens.  The peacocks are among the most beautiful species of birds on earth.  They are popularly known due to their long tails and beautifully colored feathers. The actual name of the peacock that is neutral to both genders is the peafowls.   The young or the freshly hatched peacocks are known as the peachicks.

 The peafowls have three different species, and each has its own unique physical features from the other. The three species include the Indian Peacocks, Green Peacocks, and the Congo Peacocks.  There is some visible difference in each of the three species, even the male and female look different. The peacocks are a classic example of sex dimorphism where the males and the females look entirely different, and the most known difference between the male and the female peacocks is the tails.   

The peacock is the male peafowl, and it is famous for its beauty and behaviors.  It is the largest compared to its female version known as the peahen.

The peahen is a term used to describe a female peafowl that is different from the male in terms of size and color.

Female Peacock Front, Male Peacock Back: ToastyKen, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


One of the common features that can be used to classify whether a peafowl is male or a female is a size. The male peafowls naturally weigh more than the females, and by the time they reach their maturity, the average weight is between 9 to 13 pounds. The female, also known as the peahens, weigh between 6 to 9 pounds at maturity, and in the peachicks, the males are also bigger as compared to the female peachicks.

 Another size difference is in the tails. The male has a longer tail as compared to the female, and it can grow up to a maximum length of 75 inches.  The females have a very short tail that goes between 2 to 6 inches in length.  The females have a dull tail as compared to the male who has a colorful tail, and the females cannot fan their tails like their male counterparts.  The male tails are very important, especially during the mating season, and they also help them in protection from predators.


Male Peacock: Jatin Sindhu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Both the peacocks and the peahens have long necks, but the male has bluish feathers that look like soft fur, while those of the peahens are usually greenish or bluish, and they look like scales.  The female peafowls can ruffle their neck feathers while the males cannot.  There is also a significant difference in their eye markings.

The peafowls, both the male and the female, have white marking above and below the eyes, but the markings below the eyes of the Peahen’s eyes usually match the skin color, and this means they cannot be easily identified as they can do in the males. Depending on whether a peacock is a male or a female, the crest of feathers that is usually at the head differ.  The crest of the female peacock is usually brown or tan in color, while that in the males is usually blue.


There is obviously a difference in the coloring of the male and female peafowls; the male is the most attractive among the two, with vibrant blue or greenish feathers that are hard to ignore whenever it is on sight.  They are so beautiful and very attractive. The coloring in their feathers plays a vital role in mating season, and the male with the most attractive feathers usually attract more females.

The female has more muted feathers as compared to males, and they may not contain the bluish or the greenish color at all.  In common instances, the females have brown or gray feathers, and these colors help them to camouflage mostly when they are under threat from predators.  Another difference in coloring is the bellies, and the male has blue belly feathers to match the rest of the body while the females have a white belly.

Sounds produced

The male and female peacocks produce different sounds under different circumstances.  The peacocks sound loud as compared to the peahens that do not call loudly.  It is important for a male peafowl to make a loud and clear call to get the attention of the female, which has the final say in choosing the mating partner. This means when it makes a low call, it will not get the attention of the female and will not get a mating partner.

This is the reason why the females make moderate calls when calling the chicks and when mating while the males make the loudest calls and noises.


The other difference between the male and female peacocks is the dances performances they make. It is the male peafowl that performs the dances, but the females do not.  The majority who have had an opportunity to look at the peacocks closely have noticed dances and fanning of the tail and flattering of its wings with the aim of catching the attention of the female peafowls. The peafowls do not perform these moves since they ate the ones choosing the best male that will display the best moves. Many people are usually interested in seeing the males perform these moves since it is an opportunity to see a rare phenomenon in birds.

Female Peacock: DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Incubation of Peahens and peacocks

Many birds share the incubation process between the male and female, but the peacocks do not share the responsibility. It is the responsibility of the female alone to do the incubation until the eggs hatch.  The peafowls take 30 days to incubate, and after the chicks are hatched, it is the responsibility of both the male and female to take care of the chicks.


The peacocks, both the male and the females, have different displays during different circumstances.  Whenever the males want to impress their female counterparts, they usually fan out their tails to get the attention of the females. The females do not fan out their feathers, but they usually ruffle them when fighting with their peahens or whenever they want to send a signal to another peafowl on an impending danger.  The females spend most of their time tending to their chicks and building the nests during the day, while the males spend most of the time alone. The most social between the two are the females, although they are territorial overall.

 The males also use the tails for easy identification by the females or other colleagues. They do so by fanning them out, and this makes them noticeable from far.

Legs and Spurs

When comparing the legs of the male and female peacocks, the male has longer legs.  Both the male and females have spurs in their legs, although they develop first in the males and they are shorter in females as com compared to the males.  These leg spurs are important to the peafowls during territorial fights.

Baby Peacocks

It is a bit difficult to differentiate between the male and female peachicks. The male and females are differentiated using the colorful tail and it starts to develop at the age of 3  and this means it cannot be used in peachicks differentiation. However, some chicks have longer legs, and it is believed those with longer legs are male while the others are female.

Why ARE Male Peacocks more Beautiful?

The male peacocks are among the most beautiful birds in the universe.  There are a few reasons to support this:

Mating- It is believed that the male peafowls are the most beautiful since the females are attracted to the most colorful male. They will need to perform the displays using the beautiful tail and feathers to attract a mating partner.

Survival – It is important for the females to be able to avoid predators since they are not good at defending themselves against attacks.  They need to be alive in order to take care of their chicks. Therefore the females have colors that help them to be able to blend with the ground and be able to remain invisible to the predators. The males have brighter colors to be easily visible by the predators so that they can defend the females by attracting and fighting the predators.

Territory– The males also fight over the territory, and the most beautiful peacock, with the support of the many males it attracts, will be able to control territory.  Whenever the peacocks feel threatened, they can fan out the tail as a sign of intimidating the attacker, and the bigger the display, the more intimidating it will be.

Are the white peacocks male or female?

First, you need to understand that a male peafowl is a peacock while a female peafowl is called the Peahen.  This, therefore, means that if you are asking whether the white peacock is male, then the answer is yes, but if you are asking if all the white peafowls are males, then the answer is a no.  White peafowls are just like any other but with a color mutation. They are as beautiful as the multicolored ones, and they have both males and females.

It is important to note that a white peafowl is not an albino. They have no red eyes, and they do not suffer any effects or conditions that are associated with albinos. The white color is caused by a missing color pigment.  They can be found in the wild though in rare cases, but they are mostly found in private breeders.

How do peacocks mate?

The mating rituals between the male and female peafowls are marked by flashy displays of brilliant feathers and descending female partners.  The male peafowls use their beautiful blue and green tail feathers during the breeding season to advertise their sexual and physical fitness. The females are the ones making a choice, and they prefer the males with beautiful and colorful tail feathers.

The breeding patterns

Peafowls are typically polygamous in nature due to the fact that the dominant male has the most impressive displays, attracts most of the females, and ends up mating with all of them. However, not all the peafowl are polygamous since the green peafowls are known to practice monogamy more so when in captivity.,

The wild peahens can at times become very aggressive to other competing females in order to remain alone with the dominant male.  The female may repeatedly mate with the dominant male to ensure that the others do not get a chance.

Mating rituals

 The peacocks start to establish territories in close proximity during the mid-spring season, and these small territories are made in an arrangement known as the lek.  They begin to perform their interesting displays with the aim of attracting the females by spreading their beautiful tail feathers with a fan shape, strutting them back and forth to produce a rattling noise that attracts the attention of the female peafowls. The female walks through different territories of different males as it examines their displays and then later chooses the male with the best and colorful displays.

The fertilization process

Once the female peafowl selects the mating partner, the male will perch on the female’s back and align its tail over the top of her own.  Both the peahens and the peacocks have a reproductive organ that is used to transfer the sperm from the male to the female so as to fertilize the eggs.  The sperms are transferred to the female, where they travel up to the uterus and fertilizes her eggs through a series of muscular spasms. The peahens usually lay between two to six eggs in a nest that is constructed on the ground level and incubate for up to 30 days.

The mating display

When a male peafowl finds a female that it is ready to mate with, the first step it takes is to unfold its feathers. It will repeatedly step on the target peahen path to ensure that it notices him.  The male starts to shiver, causing its feathers to move so rapidly back and forth.  If the female is impressed and gets attracted to the male displays, he will approach him and start to mimic some of the displays for some time before mating with him.  The peahens go for the most bright colored male since this signifies good health, and this explains why most of the male peacocks are rejected. The female wants to choose the most healthy and fit partner that will be able to protect and provide to its chicks.

Types of peacocks

Indian Peacocks: The Indian peacocks originate from eastern Asia, and they have bright blue feathers over their head, neck, and chest.  In the United States, this type of peacocks is commonly found in zoos.  The Indian peacocks have a brightly colored tail plumage that is catalyzed with eye-shaped dots that can be visible after he fans out the tail. To be able to fully develop the feather display, it takes a peacock up to between five and six years.  The females are attracted to these colors of the tails during courtship, and this explains why the male with the most beautiful and long-tail attracts most females.

 On its crest, the Indian peacock has a tall fan or at the top of its head.

Green Peacocks: The green peacocks originate from Indonesia, and just like in the Indian Peacocks,  they use their bright tail feathers for courtships.  Just as their names suggest, the green peacocks come with greenish feathers in their upper body as compared to the blue in the Indian. However, their train feathers are similar to the Indian peacocks in a pattern with a green instead of a blue cast.  The crest above their go head is green in color, and it is usually fan-shaped.

Comparing the male green and the Indian peacocks, there are a few differences between the males and female versions of the two. The male green peacocks display very few differences from the female.  The male and female physically look similar, but the male haves longer tails, and their covert feathers have eyespots. While in the female they have shorter tails.

Congo Peacocks: The peafowls are members of the Pheasant family, but only the Congo peafowls closely resemble the pheasants.  This type is smaller compared to the others, and it does not contain impressive tail feathers.  A typical Congo peacock has bright blue feathers on its upper body and wing feathers that lean towards green. The Congo [peacocks have a crest on its head, but they are not as longs as those in other types. This peacock originates from Africa.


From a couple of months of age, the differences between males and females begin to appear, and this makes it easy for anyone to identify whether the bird is male or female.

The two birds are, however, famous due to their beautiful and attractive colors and the displays they show using their tails.  It is also important to note that the males and females differ in color, and the displays are only made by the males towards the females. The responsibility of the females is to choose the male with the most colorful feathers and displays.

It is also crucial to know that the species is called the peafowl. The peacock is the name of the male, while the females are known as the peahens.