Peahen vs Peacock – What are the Differences?

Peacocks are the colorful ones with big tails to impress; peahens are more plain and quiet. They look and act differently because they have different jobs in nature.

Things to Know:

  • Colorful and large-tailed males are known as peacocks; females are more subdued in color and are called peahens.
  • Both sexes are part of the Phasianidae family, which includes pheasants and turkeys.
  • Males display vivid blue-green plumage with eye-catching tail feathers for mating displays.
  • Females have shorter, less ornate tails and more muted brown or tan feathers.
  • Tail feathers in males serve as a mating attraction tool, unnecessary for females.
  • The size difference is notable, with males reaching up to 3 meters, females typically around 1 meter.
  • Loud calls are characteristic of males, especially in mating season, while females are comparatively quiet.

Peacocks and peahens are both peafowls. They are part of the Phasianidae family, which also includes pheasants, quail, partridges, and turkeys. One of the most distinguishing factors between these two animals is that peacocks are male peafowls while peahens are female peafowls.

Though they may seem similar, there are many distinct differences to tell them both apart.

Peacock and Peahen Appearances

Their body colors are very different. Peacocks tend to be a beautiful shade of blue-green with lots of overlapping feathers. The peacock’s fan-shaped tail is decorated with eyespots that give it its characteristic look.

Peahens, on the other hand, are usually brown or tan in color and don’t have as many feathers as peacocks. Peahens also have shorter tails than peacocks, and their tail feathers are usually brown or gray in color.

The reason peacocks have better-looking tail feathers than peahens is that the former need their tails to attract mates, while the latter does not need to impress males.

Peacocks are also generally larger than peahens. For example, peacocks can grow up to 1 m to 3 m in length, depending on the species, while most peahens only reach a length of 1 to 1.1 m.

Behavioral Differences

Peacocks and peahens don’t just look different, they act differently too. Peacocks are the noisy ones. They make a lot of sound, especially when they want to impress a female or scare off others from their space.

You’ll hear them during the mating season the most. Peahens don’t make as much fuss. They’re much quieter and keep to themselves more often than peacocks.

Mating/​Reproduction

Peafowls, which include both peacocks and peahens, are not one-partner birds; they like to have several mates. The peahens are picky; they look for the strongest and healthiest peacocks when they decide to lay eggs. They choose their mates carefully because they want their chicks to be healthy and have the best chance of survival.

When it comes to laying eggs, peahens do it just like other birds. But peacocks don’t stick around to help with the eggs or the chicks that hatch from them.

After the eggs are laid, the peahens have to take care of them all by themselves. They sit on the eggs to keep them warm and safe until they hatch, without any help from the peacocks.

Though peahens and peacocks may look similar, they have many distinct physical and behavioral differences. Some of these include body color, vocalization patterns, mating behaviors, and size.

So the next time you see a beautiful blue-green peacock with a brilliant fan-shaped tail, don’t assume it’s a peahen—you may be surprised to find out that it’s the male of the species!