Male peacock’s tail plumage and eyespots attract females for mating

April 28th, 2011 - 2:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Researchers Roz Dakin and Robert Montgomerie have discovered that natural variation in the number of eyespots on a male peacock’s tail does not impact its mating success. However, peacocks whose tails are clipped to reduce the number of eyespots are less successful at mating.

According to the study, female rejection of males with substantially fewer eyespots on their tails could be due to several reasons like the perceived maturity of the male, the overall size of his tail or even a female’s concerns about the health of her potential mate.

“Females may reject a few males with substantially reduced eyespot number, while using some other cues to choose among males with typical tails,” said Dakin.

“It seems likely that other characteristics of the tail’s colours and patterns are critical for peafowl mate choice,” he added.

“Courtship and sexual selection in these animals is undoubtedly very complex. There are numerous factors to consider, including their colourful bodies and the feather displays on their heads. Males also call to females and engage in energetic displays. Males even seem to selectively position themselves in sunlight to make the most of their beautiful colours,” said Dakin.

The research was recently published in the journal ‘Animal Behaviour’. (ANI)

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