There is no mistaking the sight of a peacock spreading its magnificent tail feathers.
That array of iridescent greens, blues, and turquoise shades with the distinctive ‘eye’ pattern is as unique as it is stunning to witness.
If you’ve ever wondered how many feathers peacocks have in their trains, the answer is somewhere between 150-200.
How Many Tail Feathers Does a Peacock Have?
Peacocks have anywhere in the range of 150-200 tail feathers.
The reason why the number varies is that every peacock is unique, so they can of course vary in the number of feathers they have.
In addition to this, peacocks actually shed their tail feathers each year, and when they grow back they have more than they did before.
I’ve based this estimation researching the topic, and I’ve actually counted the number of feathers on a peacock a few times.
It’s not as mind-numbing or as difficult as it sounds, all you have to do is count the number of eyes that are visible when a peacock is spreading its tail feathers.
I’ve counted around 160 feathers on one peacock, and a couple of peacocks had around 180 feathers.
I wasn’t sure how old they were, but that’s a strong indication that the peacock with 160 feathers was younger.
Related - Why do peacocks spread their tail feathers?
How Many Feathers Does a Peacock Have On Its Head?
If you’ve paid attention to a peacock, you will have noticed they have a bunch of feathers sticking up from the top of their heads.
These feathers are called crest feathers or sometimes referred to as a crown.
Peacocks typically have around 20-25 crest feathers. Although, just as their tail feathers vary in number, so do their crest feathers.
So, don’t be surprised if you count a few more or a few less than 20-25 - but this is a good average estimate.
Related - What Is the Thing on a Peacock's Head Called?
How Many Eyes Does a Peacock Have?
I often see and hear people asking how many eyes a peacock has. They’re not asking how many actual eyes they have, as obviously that’s two.
What they’re asking is how many eyes are in a peacock’s tail feather display.
The answer to this is simple, peacocks have the same number of eyes as they do feathers. So, peacocks have around 150-200 eyes in their tail feather displays.
Another interesting thing about peacocks is that when they shake or vibrate their tail feathers as part of their courtship ritual, the eyes seem to remain fairly still.
It adds to the mystique and spiritual allure of this magnificent bird.
Why Do Peacocks Spread Their Feathers?
If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a peacock fan its feathers out in front of you in real life.
We all love seeing a peacock spread out their magnificent tail feathers, but have you ever wondered why they spread their feathers?
Sometimes they’ll just put on a display, but more often than not it’s going to be due to one of two reasons:
Part of a mating ritual - The main reason why a peacock spreads their tail feathers is to attract a mate.
It’s believed that the larger and more impressive a peacock’s tail feathers, the more likely they are to win a mate.
A peacock will also do a little dance, shake or vibrate its feathers, and perform some other moves to impress a peahen - it’s quite the sight.
To intimidate predators - Peacocks also spread their tail feathers to make themselves look bigger if they feel threatened - so you should always keep your distance.
It doesn’t always mean a peacock will be aggressive when its feathers are up. But no matter how intrigued you are by this mesmerizing sight, it’s best enjoyed from a distance.
Related - Can you make a peacock spread their tail feathers?
What Do Peacock Feathers Symbolize?
Peacocks are spiritual animals and their feathers symbolize a number of things across various cultures in parts of the world.
In Buddhism, peacocks are seen as pure and spiritual animals. It’s believed peacocks ate poisonous plants without falling ill, and their feathers are seen as good luck.
In China, the peacock is one of the Twelve Symbols of Sovereignty and is prominent in the culture and history of the country.
They are seen as being beautiful and represent power. The ‘eye’ pattern on a peacock’s tail can be seen across a wide range of ornamental items.
In Indian culture, peacocks are held to a very high standard. In fact, the Indian Blue Peafowl is the national bird of India.
They are protected, revered, and it’s seen as good luck to find a peacock’s feather.
Peacocks have around 150-200 of their magnificent tail feathers. They shed their feathers each year and replace them with more, so older birds have more.
Seeing a peacock spread its feathers is a truly magical sight, I hope you get the opportunity to see it in person!
Image credits - Photo by Rendy Novantino on Unsplash