One of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding peacocks is that peacocks are a species.
Peacocks are actually male peafowl, it’s peafowl that is the species.
To help clear up exactly what peacocks, peahens, and peafowl are, in this article I’m looking at a peafowl vs peacock and explaining how you can tell the difference.
What Is a Peacock?
A peacock is a male peafowl. Peacocks are characterized by their large, colorful tails with the distinctive ‘eye’ pattern.
The word “peacock” is often used to refer to both male and female peafowl, but this is technically incorrect.
While both male and female peafowl have tail feathers, only the males have the large, colorful tails that are so often associated with peacocks.
Related – Here’s why peacocks are called peacocks!
What Is a Peahen?
A peahen is a female peafowl. Peahens do not have the large, colorful tails that peacocks have and in comparison, they’re very bland.
Peahens are smaller, and a beige/brown color for the most part. They are a lot less popular at parks and attractions due to the fact that they don’t have impressive tail feathers.
What Are Peafowls?
Peafowl is the name for both peacocks and peahens. Peacocks are males, and peahens are females.
There are three main breeds of peacocks; the Indian blue peacock, the green peacock, and the Congo peafowl.
The most common breed of peacock is the blue peacock and they’re native to India.
The green peacock is the second most common, and they’re native to Java.
The Congo peafowl is the rarest of the three breeds and is native to Africa.
How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Peacock and a Peahen?
There are several ways that you can tell the difference between a peacock and a peahen.
In fact, if you see a male and female side-by-side there is no mistaking which is a peacock and which is a peafowl.
The most obvious way is by looking at their tails. Male peacocks have large, colorful tails with a distinctive ‘eye’ pattern.
Female peahens do not have these tails, and in comparison, their tail feathers are very bland.
Another way to tell the difference is by their size. Male peacocks are much larger than female peahens.
Finally, you can also tell the difference by their color. Male peacocks are usually blue or green, while female peahens are a beige/brown color.
What Is the Difference Between an Indian Peafowl and A Peacock?
The Indian peafowl is the most common breed of peacock. They’re native to India and are characterized by their blue plumage.
The difference between an Indian peafowl and a peacock is that an Indian peafowl is the name for both males and females, whereas a peacock is just the name for a male.
By far the most popular and iconic peacock is the Indian Blue peacock. This is the one in the image on this post, and it’s the species and color of peacock everyone is familiar with.
That’s why it comes as a complete surprise to people when they see a peahen, with its beige coloring and lack of tail feathers.
What Is a Female Peacock Called?
I saw this question being asked so I figured I’d answer it; a female peacock is called a peahen.
As I’ve mentioned, the word “peacock” is often used to refer to both male and female peafowl, but this is incorrect.
So the real question is; what is a female peafowl called? – which of course is a peahen as I’ve already covered.
What Are Baby Peafowls Called?
They’re born with brown and white plumage and don’t develop their adult feathers until they’re around six months old.
Both male and female peachicks look very similar, and it’s not until they start to develop their adult plumage that you can tell them apart.
Related – Wondering where peacocks sleep? Read this post!
Do Peacocks and Peahens Get Along?
Generally speaking, peacocks and peahens get along just fine.
There will always be the odd exception where a peacock is overly aggressive towards a peahen, but for the most part, they get along great.
Males and females live together in groups called parties or harems.
A harem usually consists of one male and several females, whereas a party is just a group of peacocks or peahens that are not mating.
I hope this article has helped clear up any confusion you may have had between peafowls vs peacocks and explained the difference between them.
To sum up; peacocks are male peafowls, peahens are female peafowls, and both peacocks and peahens are collectively called peafowl!
Image credits – Photo by Anna Stampfli on Unsplash