Peacocks are beautiful birds. They’re famous for their impressive tail feathers that open up to create one of the most stunning displays in the animal kingdom.
There is a lot more to peacocks - and peahens - than their tail feathers, however.
In this article, I’m going to explain what the feathers on their heads are called, and give you some more interesting facts about peacocks:
Table of Contents
What Is the Thing on a Peacock's Head Called?
If you look at the heads of both male and female peafowl (peacocks and peahens), you’ll see a small cluster of feathers sticking up.
These stiff feathers sticking up are called a crest.
I also see them called a crown sometimes, as well as a mohawk. But the correct terminology is a crest and this ties in with the Latin name for peacocks which is Pavo cristatus.
Pavo cristatus translates as ‘The crested pheasant’. That’s exactly what peacocks are, they’re part of the pheasant family and they have crests!
Crests and Different Types of Peafowl
The main types of peafowl are the Blue Indian Peafowl, Green Peafowl, and Congo Peafowl.
For the Blue Indian Peacocks - the most common type of peacock - this species has crest feathers with blue tips to match the color of their feathers.
Green peacocks have as you might be able to guess, green crested feathers. Although there is a difference in how their crests look, they tend to be much
Most Green peacocks’ crests are more pointy and tighter clustered. It looks more like a flick of feathers than it does a group of feathers spaced out in a crest.
The Congo peacock has a very different looking crest from the Blue and Green species. They have coats of green and blue iridescent feathers and white crests.
Although rare in the U.S., there is no mistaking the Congo peafowl if you see one!
What Is a Peacock Crown Called?
Often called a crown, the feathers on the top of a peacock or peahen’s head is called a crest.
One of the many different impressive features of a peacock is its crest feathers. In some parts of the world, their crest feathers are used to create jewelry and other ornamental items.
Interesting Peacock Facts
Discovering that the feathers on the top of a peacock’s head are called a crest is just one of the interesting things about these mythical creatures.
Here are some other facts about peacocks and peafowl to help you better understand these unique birds:
1. The Indian Blue Peacock is India’s National Bird
In 1963, the Indian Blue Peafowl was declared the national bird of India due to its rich and religious involvement in Indian traditions.
2. They Use Their Crest Feathers as Sensors
We’ve talked a lot about peafowl’s crest feathers in this article, but there is more to their crests than just looking good.
When peacocks are shaking their tail feathers to attract a mate, it’s believed that they are also vibrating their crest feathers.
3. Peacocks Are the Males; Not the Species
There is often some confusion around peacocks, peahens, and peafowl. Most people are only familiar with peacocks, so they think that they’re a species.
This is why I often see questions like;
Peafowl is the species, and peacocks are male peafowl. The females are called peahens, and their young are called peachicks.
4. Only Males (Peacocks) Have the Long Tail Feathers
Now you know that peacocks are males, you know that only the males are the ones that create that magnificent tail display.
This is because peacocks spread their tail feathers to attract peahens. The larger and more impressive their tails display, the more likely they are to get a mate.
Peahens are also able to spread their tail feathers, but it looks nothing like a peacock’s as they have shorter brown train feathers.
5. Peacock Feathers Are Thought to Bring Good (and Bad) Luck
Peacocks shed their tail feathers, and due to how stunning they are - as well as the various spiritual meanings - they’re in pretty high demand.
There is quite some history behind peacock’s feathers. Generally speaking, it’s believed in the west that it’s bad luck if you find a loose feather.
While in the east, just about everything to do with peacocks and their feathers is believed to be good luck.
6. Peacocks Used to Be Quite the Delicacy
In some parts of the world, peacocks used to be eaten and were considered to be a delicacy.
They were pretty much reserved for the wealthy back in Medieval times. Although, it is still possible to find peacocks on the menu today if you try really hard.
If you want to try peacock meat, you can expect to pay a hefty price. But I’m told it’s delicious and well worth ticking off the bucket list.
Now you know, that ‘thing’ on a peacock’s head is called a crest.
Crest feathers are not just there to look good, they’re also used as part of their vibrating mating dance when they spread their tail feathers.
Peacocks - and peahens - are fascinating birds, I hope this article helped teach you more about these stunning creatures.
Image credits - Photo by Trevor McKinnon on Unsplash