Photo: The Indian Peacock captured on lens during flight
The Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus, is perhaps the only bird with such a long train of feathers with vibrant iridescent colors. Often mistaken for tail feathers, this long train is actually made up of around 200 upper tail coverts, growing above the usual tail feathers. While both peahens and peacocks have tail feathers, peahens do not have the trains. The train feathers have multicolor eyespots.
The iridescent feather colors are not due to color pigments, but they are resulting from optical interference reflections of nanostructures of the fiber-like components of feathers. The peacock raises its train feathers, spreads them like an elaborate evenly spread fan and quivers it, and performs what is commonly known as ‘the peacock dance’ during courtship.