9 Types of Sounds Peacocks Make and Their Meanings

Peacock making the screaming sound

Peacock sounds are more than just background noise in nature; they’re a language all their own. Each sound they make has a purpose, from finding a mate to warning of danger.

Peacocks use a variety of calls, squawks, and noises to communicate with each other, and understanding these sounds can give you a glimpse into their complex lives.

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of sounds peacocks make and what each one means. So, if you’re curious to learn more about how these sounds play a crucial role in their colorful world, keep reading!

What Sounds Do Peacocks Make?

Close up of a peacock making sounds

1. Calling

  • Meaning: To attract mates, assert dominance, or announce their presence.

A peacock’s call is often described as a “meow,” similar to a cat’s, but much louder and more resonant.

This sound is especially common during the breeding season when they’re trying to get the attention of a female peacock or make their presence known to other peacocks in the area.

It’s a key sound in the peacock’s vocal repertoire, which signals both readiness for courtship and a warning to rivals.

To hear what a peacock’s call sounds like, check out this video:

2. Cooing

  • Meaning: To express contentment or affection.

The cooing sound of a peacock is similar to a kitten’s soft purr, which shows that the peacock is feeling happy or comfortable in its surroundings.

It’s a gentle, soothing sound that’s quite the opposite of their loud calls used for attracting mates or signaling danger. Interestingly, peahens also make this sound to show interest in a male.

If you’re curious to hear what this cooing sounds like, watch this clip:

Peahen Cooing Sound, Peacock Minute, peafowl.com

3. Cawing

  • Meaning: To signal distress or alert others.

Cawing is a loud, sharp sound peacocks make when trying to alert other birds about a predator or any threat in their vicinity.

I got to see this myself one time while walking in the park. Out of nowhere, a peacock let out a loud caw that caught me off guard.

But then, I realized it was warning its flock because a dog had gotten too close. Thanks to that quick alert, the group knew to fly away and get to safety immediately.

This cawing can be quite startling if you’re not expecting it, but it’s an important part of how peacocks communicate with each other and keep their group safe.

Here’s a video you can watch to hear the urgent cawing of a peacock:

Peacock and peachick alarm call on seeing a leopard in Jhalana, Jaipur, Rajasthan

4. Clicking

  • Meaning: To communicate with chicks or to warn others to back off.

Think of clicking noises as the peacock’s whisper. It’s their way of having private chats, almost like a secret code, especially when they’re close to other birds or talking to their peachicks.

It’s also a signal used in specific situations, such as when a peacock feels threatened or wants to assert its space. It’s a polite yet firm way of telling others to keep their distance or proceed with caution.

To get a better idea of what this clicking sounds like, watch this video where you can hear peacocks clicking while feeding:

Peacock 🦚 video || peahens cluck cluck || best sounds | Thar Noorani

5. Rustling

  • Meaning: To display dominance or attract attention.

Not all peacock sounds come from their beaks. When peacocks shake their big, fancy tails, it makes a rustling sound that’s just as eye-catching as the colors of their feathers.

This is a strategy used by males to show off their dominance or to catch the eye of potential mates.

This rustling noise adds a whole new layer to the visual spectacle of their colorful, fanned-out feathers, making their mating display even more impressive.

Want to see and hear this for yourself? Check out this video below:

Peacock Rustling his Feathers

Fun Fact: When peacocks strut their stuff and shake their tail feathers, it’s not just a visual or auditory spectacle for peahens—they actually feel the performance, too!

Research shows that peafowl’s crest feathers act like vibrotactile sensors, tuned to detect the subtle vibrations of a peacock’s dance. This means that peahens enjoy a fully immersive experience during these courtship displays.

6. Honking

  • Meaning: To attract a mate.

Peacocks have a bunch of different sounds they make, but one that really stands out is their honk.

This isn’t just any noise; it’s a deep, guttural call that male peacocks use when they’re trying to get noticed, especially by female peacocks during mating season.

Male peacocks tend to make this sound during a unique performance known as the “hoot-dash” display, which occurs when they encounter a potential mate.

It’s an essential part of their mating ritual that helps them stand out among competitors.

To hear what this intriguing honk sounds like, see this video below:

Peacock honking at peahen

7. Screaming

  • Meaning: To signal readiness for mating or warn others of danger.

The scream of a peacock can vary greatly, sounding anything from a child’s cry to a woman’s scream. This loud, high-pitched call is often used by males to show off their strength and to attract female peacocks.

But that’s not the only reason they scream. Peacocks also use their loud calls to alert other peacocks of potential threats. It’s their way of keeping an eye out for each other and making sure everyone in their group stays safe.

To get a real sense of what a peacock’s scream sounds like, listen here:

Peacock Screaming For Mr. Peacock, Peacock Minute, peafowl.com

8. Squawking

  • Meaning: To alert others of danger or assert dominance.

Squawking is a loud, urgent call that peacocks use to communicate various messages. One of the primary reasons for squawking is to let other peacocks know there might be danger nearby.

Additionally, during mating season, males squawk to assert their dominance over rivals and attract the attention of peahens.

This sound is a crucial part of their communication, which serves both as a protective measure and a mating strategy.

Want to hear what a peacock squawk sounds like? Check out this video:

Peacock squawk! Noisy Kenneth the peacock making noise at a truck

9. Screeching

  • Meaning: To announce their presence, intimidate predators and rivals, or attract a mate.

One of the most recognizable sounds peacocks make is a loud screech. This screech is a loud, piercing call that can be heard from quite a distance.

Think of it like a sudden, high-pitched yell that gets louder and louder, almost like an alarm going off in the quiet of nature.

It’s a sound that demands attention, whether to scare off a predator, signal to other peacocks, or catch the interest of a peahen.

Although it may sound harsh to people, this call plays a crucial role in the social and survival strategies of peacocks.

For those curious to hear what this screech sounds like, watch this video:

How Do Peacocks Make Those Sounds?

At the heart of a peacock’s ability to produce sounds is the syrinx, a special organ located where their windpipe splits into their lungs.

Here’s how peacocks use this organ, along with other parts of their body, to create their amazing calls and noises:

  • Syrinx: The syrinx, located at the base of a peacock’s trachea, is the peacock’s equivalent of a voice box. It’s equipped with complex muscles that adjust tension and openings to create various sounds. This allows peacocks to produce everything from low coos to high-pitched screams.
  • Airflow Control: Just like blowing into a flute differently can change the sound it makes, peacocks control the air coming from their lungs to change how their calls sound. They can make their calls louder or softer, higher or lower, just by changing how they breathe out.
  • Resonance and Amplification: Peacocks have a built-in amplifier! Their beak, throat, and even their chest can help make their calls louder and clearer. This means that when a peacock calls out, its whole body is working to make sure that sound travels far and wide.
  • Feather Use: Not all sounds made by peacocks come from their syrinx. The rustling noise of their feathers, for example, is produced by physical actions like fanning out or shaking their tail feathers.

Through these mechanisms, peacocks have developed a complex and effective system to produce a wide range of sounds, helping them talk to each other and navigate their surroundings.

Fun Fact: Peacocks can make sounds that are too low for humans to hear, called “infrasonic” sounds, while showing off their feathers.

Scientists believe these sounds might help peacocks communicate with each other, possibly to attract a mate or warn other males. However, the exact purpose of these sounds remains unclear.

How to Identify Peacock Sounds

Peacock with long tail sitting on the stone

Identifying peacock sounds can be a fun and interesting activity, especially if you’re near their habitat. Each sound they make is unique and tells a story about what’s happening in their world.

Here’s how to identify some of the most common peacock sounds:

  • Calling: This is probably the most recognized peacock sound. It’s loud and can carry over long distances. The call sounds like a high-pitched “meow” that repeats several times.
  • Cooing: Cooing is much softer than calling. It’s a gentle, murmuring sound that peacocks make when they’re content. It’s similar to the cooing of a pigeon but a bit deeper.
  • Cawing: Cawing is sharp and loud. It’s more abrupt than calling and is used to express agitation or to warn others. If you hear a caw, a peacock might be sensing danger or telling another peacock to stay away.
  • Clicking: Clicking sounds are made in the back of a peacock’s throat. It’s a series of quick, sharp sounds, almost like a soft clacking. This sound is often used in close communication, such as between a peahen and its peachicks.
  • Rustling: If you hear a soft, shuffling sound, like leaves blowing in the wind, you’re probably hearing a peacock rustling its feathers. This usually happens when a peacock is showing off its beautiful tail or during mating displays.
  • Honking: Honking is a loud, harsh sound similar to a goose’s honk. It’s more forceful than calling and has a sense of urgency.
  • Screaming: A peacock’s scream is a loud, high-pitched call that’s hard to ignore. The scream can vary in pitch and intensity, but it’s always loud and penetrating.
  • Squawking: Squawking is loud and harsh, kind of like screaming, but shorter and often repeated in quick succession.
  • Screeching: Screeching is a high-pitched, piercing sound that carries over long distances. It’s similar to screaming but has a unique, almost musical quality.

Getting the hang of peacock sounds can be tricky at first. But by tuning into the pitch, volume, and the situation when these sounds happen, you can have a pretty good shot at identifying them.

So, now that you’ve learned about the different types of sounds peacocks make and what they mean, what are your thoughts? Do you have any questions? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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