How do peacocks mate?

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How do peacocks mate?
(Credit: Rachel Montiel - Copyright: morguefile.com/rachjose)

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About Peacocks

The beautiful and colourful peacock is the national bird of India. The peacock is the name for a male peafowl. Female peafowl are called peahens and baby peafowl are called peachicks. Peafowl are part of the pheasant family. The main difference between pheasants and peafowl is colouring. The male peafowl, called the peacock, has tail feathers that are very colourful. Peafowl have been bred in captivity in many areas of the world and, as a result, have become wild in new areas. Their native origins are in India, Burma, Java, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Congo.

Breeding Season

The breeding season for peafowl is an average of five months long. Breeding season generally takes place between April and August. Depending on area climate conditions, breeding season can vary. It can start earlier or later and last fewer than five months. Peafowl breed when weather starts to become warm and aim to hatch their young in warm weather.

Sexual Maturity

Peacocks reach sexual maturity at 3 years old when their colourful tail feathers have fully grown in. Some peacocks have been known to reach sexual maturity at two years of age.

Peahens reach sexual maturity at two to three years of age. Some peahens reach sexual maturity at as young as one year, although this is not very common.

Mating

When mating season comes, the peacock puts on a show to attract the peahen. The peacock raises his long colourful tail feathers into the air and shakes them. The shaking of his tail feathers sounds like leaves rustling in the wind. The peacock faces the peahen, with his rustling tail feathers and follows her around making loud mating calls. If the peahen takes interest, she will allow the peacock to mate with her. The peacock mounts on top of the peahens back and deposits his sperm into her sexual organ located on her back.

Hatching Peachicks

After mating, the peacock is done. He does not assist the peahen in hatching and raising their young. The peahen lays her eggs in a shallow nest on the ground in the forest. She may also lay other decoy eggs out in the open to distract predators. She lays on her six to eight eggs for approximately 28 days until they hatch. The peachicks are born fully feathered and will be ready to fly in one week. The ability to fly for the peachicks is a very important survival ability. Peacocks fly up into tall trees at night to protect themselves from predators.

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