Yes Peacocks Have Sex – Sorry to Break It to You, Justice Sharma

Justice Mahesh Sharma says peacocks are celibate. Here’s what science says.

2 min read
Justice Mahesh Sharma says peacocks are celibate. Here’s what science teaches us. (Photo: Pixabay)

Rajasthan High Court judge Mahesh Sharma, on 31 May, sparked controversy with his suggestion to make the cow the national animal. He also sparked an internet meltdown with his claim that the peacock is the most sanskari of all birds.

A peacock is a lifelong celibate. It never has sex with a peahen. A peahen gives birth after it gets impregnated with the peacock’s tears.
Justice Mahesh Sharma
(Infographic: <b>The Quint</b>)
(Infographic: The Quint)

Science, however, disagrees with Justice Sharma’s claims.

Peacocks Are Celibate: Justice Sharma

Peacocks (and peahens) have sex to reproduce. What’s more, peacocks are also polygynous by nature.

According to, peafowl are typically polygynous birds. This means that a dominant male will mate with several females. However, the green peafowl has been known to form monogamous pairs when in captivity.

Peacock Tears Can Get The Peahen Pregnant: Justice Sharma

Peahens do not wait for peacocks tears to be impregnated. According to, wild peahens can become aggressive while competing for the chance to mate with a dominant male.

Sometimes, peahens repeatedly mate with the peacock to stave off mating attempts by other females.

Elaborate Mating Ritual

Researchers who have studied peafowl mating patterns have stated that the mating process is preceded by an elaborate courtship. Come spring, the peacocks form a territorial arrangement called the lek.

The peacock preens, struts, and makes every attempt to render itself more appealing to the peahen, displaying its iridescent colours and making mechanical sounds. The peacock often vibrates those bright feathers once the peahen is in front of him.

The peahen is picky. She’ll pick a mate based on the size, colour and quality of these feather trains. They copulate. Peahens will lay eggs and care for the fowl all on her own while the peacock tries his luck again elsewhere.

According to research by Roslyn Dakin at the University of British Columbia, In the average peacock lek, only around 5 percent of the males get the majority of the mates. The rest will just have to get on with it.

Are the rest Brahmachari? Well, not by choice! And tears don’t help!

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