What Is the Behavior of a Peacock?

By Kimberly Sharpe

The peacock, the male peafowl, sports spectacular iridescent feathers in shades of browns, blues and greens. His tail feathers often span 7 feet in width and stand 3 feet in height when held erect and fanned out on display. He fans his impressive tail to catch the peahen's eye during breeding. He will parade in front of the peahen with pride. The mature peacock will also spread his tail to show off to younger peafowl.



Exceedingly loud, the peacock will cry out if he senses a danger or threat. The peafowl has 11 distinctive calls, according to the San Diego Zoo. During the late evening and early morning, peafowl often cry out to communicate with each other or for the sheer joy of making noise. During the breeding season, the peacock becomes extremely loud while calling out for a mate's attention. His calls can often be heard throughout the day. The bird's keen eyesight and wish to notify anyone in the region to the danger with his vivacious calls, makes him an excellent watch bird.

Tail Feather Survival

When a peacock reaches 5 or 6 years old, his tail reaches its maximum growth. Peahens fancy males with an exceedingly long and elaborate tail feathers. The bright colors of the peacock often draw unwanted attention from predators but the feathers pull out of the peacock easily. The long tail appears to help the male survive such attacks. Only the toughest male peacock can survive long enough to produce an impressive train.


A mature peacock usually has a harem of up to five peahens during the breeding season. The male establishes his territory and lures the female in with his haunting calls. Once the female comes close to the male, she evaluates his size, coloring and tail. If she finds him visually appealing, she allows him to court her. The peacock parades in front of the female and shivers. He displays his tail and shakes it so that it makes a rustling noise. The peacock also pecks at the ground and turns his back on the peahen, so she can clearly see the size of his tail.


Once mating occurs, the peacock has nothing to do with the peahen. He does not help her construct the nest or raise the young. After breeding, the male peacock leaves the peahen and moves on to the next receptive female to breed. Peafowl often display an aggressive nature towards other fowl. Despite being closely related to the pheasant, the peacock does not get along well with the other bird species. Male pheasants can treat their females aggressively and, always the protector, the peacock usually steps in to defend her.