Peacocks are magnificent-looking birds, and seeing one fan out their tail feathers is one of the most impressive things you’ll ever see.
When people see a peacock roaming around a zoo or some other enclosure, this is what everyone hopes and wants to see.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see a peacock spread its feathers out on numerous occasions - and can confirm it never gets any less impressive.
But, how often do peacocks spread their feathers?
Is it likely you’re going to witness this magical and beautiful moment, and is it something you can make a peacock do?
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What Makes Peacocks Spread Their Feathers?
Peacocks don’t just go around strutting their stuff and showing off their tail feathers without reason.
The two main reasons why peacocks spread their feathers are:
To Attract a Mate
The most common - and well-known reason - why peacocks spread their feathers out is to attract a mate.
That's right, there’s a reason why peacocks have such impressive tail feathers consisting of an array of iridescent shades of blue and green feathers - and it’s not for our benefit.
It’s believed that the more impressive and larger the tail display, the more likely a peacock is to attract a peahen as a mate.
This is normal in the animal kingdom. There are species of bird that compete with other males by trying to sing louder, deers compete with the size of their antlers, and so on.
So, if you’re around peacocks during mating season, you’re very likely to see them spreading out their tail feathers.
Just be sure to keep a safe distance from them!
Because They Feel Threatened
The other reason why peacocks spread their feathers is also a good reason why you shouldn’t approach them - because they feel threatened.
Another common trait in the animal kingdom is to do something to appear bigger when there are predators or other threats.
This is why some animals with fur will ‘puff’ up, or four-legged animals will stand on their hind legs to appear taller.
A peacock’s tail feathers can be as high as six feet and make up more of their body length than their actual bodies.
If you see a peacock spreading their feathers, the best advice is to admire it from afar.
How to Make a Peacock Spread Its Feathers?
Making a peacock spread its feathers is not something you should actively try to do.
As explained above, when a peacock spreads their feathers it's typically due to either feeling threatened or their courting ritual.
These are not reactions you want to try and stimulate as they can cause a peacock to be stressed.
Peacocks will also spread their feathers just because they want to, on occasion though, so you can never rule it out.
But as a rule of thumb, you should try and force it. Seeing a peacock spread their feathers is something to be enjoyed for its natural beauty.
How Often Do Peacocks Open Their Feathers?
There is no right answer to this question as it depends on the individual peacock, the environment they're living in, and a number of other factors.
It's a common question for people thinking about raising peacocks, however, as you do want to be sure that you're going to get to witness that magnificent tail display.
The good news is, you're going to see your peacock fanning out their tail feathers on a regular basis.
You will almost certainly see them doing it several times a day during mating season, which typically runs from February to August.
Can You Touch a Peacock?
I'm sure you've seen peacocks roaming freely around farms, theme parks, and other places where people also freely mingle.
This is because peacocks do not present much of a threat - but it does not mean that they are not capable of doing harm.
Anywhere you've seen peacocks roaming free, it's likely you'll also see signs telling you not to touch or feed them.
Peacocks have very sharp talons and beaks, and they can also be aggressively territorial - especially in mating season.
Cases of humans being attacked or harmed by peacocks are rare, but it's certainly happened.
For this reason, it's not recommended that you touch that peacock that you're not raising yourself.
If you do, you might get your finger bitten. Or worse, a peacock might feel threatened. If they do, they might spread out their tail feathers and charge at you!
I totally understand that you want to see a peacock spread its feathers out - it’s one of the most beautiful and stunning sights.
The bad news is, however, that you cannot make a peacock spread its feathers on demand just because you want to see them fanning their train.
If you raise peacocks, it’s a sight you will probably see most days so don’t worry. If you see a peacock at an amusement park or a zoo while out, however, there are no guarantees!
Image credits - Photo by Siddhant Kumar on Unsplash