Visual differences between male & female peacocks

Written by michael e carpenter | 13/05/2017
Visual differences between male & female peacocks
Male peacocks are famous for their plume displays. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The name "peacocks" typically represents both the male and female peafowl. Male peafowl are peacocks and females are peahens. There are two major species of peacocks, blue and green. The blue peacock is native to India. The green peacock is native to Burma, Thailand, Indochina, Malaya and Java. Peacocks display sexual dimorphism, which makes it easy to identify male and female animals.

Visual Difference

The differences between male and female peacocks is striking. The male peacock is very colourful and has a large plume tail. The train of the male peacock makes up 60 per cent of the bird's total length, according to National Geographic. The train also contains the well-known "eye" markings that contain blue, green, gold and red. Blue peacocks derive their name from the bright blue feathers that cover the chest and head of the animal. A green peacock's chest and head is covered with green feathers. Many subspecies of the green peacock have colouring that varies from bright green to more gentle shades of green. Female peacocks are brown or beige in colour with no tail trains. The female peacock is slightly shorter than male peacocks.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual dimorphism refers to the vast physical differences between the sexes beyond the sexual organs. The male peacock is bright with a long train, which is raised when attracting females for mating. The more grand the visual display, the more females the peacock will be able to mate with. The dull colouring of the female peacock is to keep the animal camouflaged while on the nest with chicks.

Sexing at Birth

At birth, the differences between the male and female peacocks are difficult to determine. After a few months, the male peacock will display longer legs than a female peacock. Another way to determine the sex of the peacock is to visually inspect the primary feathers located on the underside of the wing. Early in life, male peacocks will display a darker coloured primary feather that will be in stark contrast to other feathers. Female peacock primaries stay light and mix in perfectly with the rest of the feathers on the bird.


The male peacock will moult its train each year beginning in late summer. A new train will be fully regrown by the end of winter. Females do not have a train and therefore do not have a yearly moult like the male birds.

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