If you’ve heard a group of peacocks referred to as a party, this isn’t wrong. There are, however, more collective terms for groups of peacocks. A group of peafowl is also called an “ostentation”, “muster”, or a “pride”.
Pretty interesting stuff, right?
When talking about peacocks, I think there is one thing most people agree on, and that’s peacocks are fascinating birds.
With their iridescent colors, the way they fan out their magnificent feathers, and how they interact with us - peacocks are often the main attraction when roaming free at tourist parks.
But how much do you really know about peacocks or peafowl as is the correct name for males and females?
In this article, I’m going to help you understand more about these impressive birds and learn some of the terminology:
Collective Nouns for Peacocks
As stated above, there are several collective nouns for peacocks, these are:
- Ostentation - one of the explanations of this word in the dictionary is; ‘pretentious or conspicuous display intended to impress others.’ That sums up a peacock perfectly!
- Muster - the dictionary simply lists this word as meaning, ‘a flock of peacocks.’ It’s also commonly used to describe summoning or gathering up livestock.
- Pride - if you look up pride in the dictionary, one of the explanations is, ‘a flamboyant or impressive group.” Again, it’s pretty obvious why some people called a group of peacocks a pride in this sense of the word.
- Party - party is a general word to describe, ‘a social gathering especially for pleasure or amusement.’ So, it’s no surprise to see it used to describe all kinds of groups of animals, peacocks included.
These are all the names I could find that are ‘officially’ used to describe a group of peacocks or peafowl.
Party seems to be the word most often used when a group of peafowl is roosting or hanging out in a tree together.
So, if you were looking for an answer to, is a group of peacocks called a party? The answer is “yes”, it’s certainly one of the words you can use.
Difference Between Peacock and Peafowl?
Something that comes as a surprise to most people is that peacock is actually the correct name for a male peafowl.
Peacock is the term commonly used for both males and females, but that is not technically correct.
The different names for peafowl based on their gender and age are:
- Peacocks - This is the name for male peafowl only.
- Peahen - This is the name for female peafowl only.
- Peachicks - This is the name for baby peafowl only.
It’s very similar to chickens. Most people call all chickens, well, chickens. But technically, an adult male chicken is called a rooster, and a female chicken is called a hen. Just as a baby chicken is called a chick.
I think you’ll notice the similarities to how ‘Peas’ and chickens are named. This is no surprise, as chickens and peafowl are part of the same family of ground-living birds known as Phasianidae.
Difference Between Peacocks and Peahens
Aside from peacocks being male and peahens being female, they also look very different and it’s easy to tell a peahen from a peacock.
It’s the males that have the bring colors and impressive tail feathers that they fan out. They fan out their tails as part of their courtship ritual.
It’s thought that over time the males with the most feathers, the most ‘eye-spots’, or the largest display were the ones that mated with the peahens.
As peafowl have evolved this meant that the size of their tails gradually grew as the most dominant peacock was usually the one with the largest tail.
Females or peahens on the other hand do not have bright colors and elaborate tail displays. Peahens are mostly brown and bland-looking and are smaller than males.
This is also by design, however. Being brown enables females to blend into the vegetation and wooded areas where wild peafowl roam, helping them avoid detection from predators.
Peahens also incubate and raise peachicks without any help from the males. So, they need to be able to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
Types of Peacocks
Due to selective breeding, peafowl comes in all kinds of colors. However, technically there are three main types of species of peacocks, these are:
- Indian or Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
- Green or Java Peafowl (Pavo muticus), and
- Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis)
It’s the Indian peafowl that is the most popular across the world. This is the species with the impressive pearlescent blue and green feathers.
All varieties of peacocks are impressive though, and the green peacock looks almost identical to the Indian - only being that it’s green, not blue.
Are Peacocks Pheasants?
Peafowl belongs to the same family as pheasants known as Phasianidae. This group of birds also includes grouse, turkeys, chickens, partridges, and some other birds.
They do look quite different than pheasants, however. This is because peacocks are native to India and Sri Lanka, while pheasants have long inhabited parts of Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand for the most part.
Male and female pheasants have similar characteristics. The males are the colorful ones, while the females are brown and fairly plain looking.
In Summary - What Do You Call a Group Of Peacocks?
A group of peacocks, or peafowl to be correct, is called an ostentation, muster, pride, or party. It’s really up to you what term you use of those, they’re all listed as the official words for a group of peafowl.
Image credits - Header photo by Giorgi Iremadze, adn peahen with peachicks by Christian Paul Stobbe on Unsplash
Phasianidae - Animal Diversity Web