Big Male Turkey Chases Peacock to Show its Dominance

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: September 27, 2023
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In a standoff between a turkey and a peacock, it’s hard to predict who will win. Fortunately, we have the video below to give us a clue.

These two birds went head-to-head in a show of their most spectacular moves. With hens running and watching in the background, the turkey and the peacock circle each other in a dance of dominance. Both birds often exhibit this type of behavior when confronted with other male birds.

The peacock definitely has the edge when it comes to brilliant plumage. Male peacocks extend their long, distinctive tail feathers as a way to show off, especially in front of female peahens. Their brilliant blue necks and heads add to the spectacular display. The peacock in this case goes a step further to flap his wings at the turkey when he gets too close.

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The turkey isn’t about the let that go, however. He keeps stepping closer and closer to the peacock. The turkey has the upper edge when it comes to size and is a bit taller as well. He uses his larger size to dominate the space and even runs toward the peacock, causing the other bird to quickly back out of the way.

Eventually, the peacock manages to jump up to the top of the fence. The turkey won by default but we’re glad that neither bird was harmed. It looks like they both were able to end the fight with the feathers and their dignity intact.

Why Do Peacocks and Turkeys Spread Their Feathers?

The main two functions of a peacock’s colorful tail feathers are to attract mates and to show their dominance over potential rivals. The behavior is called training and is most common during mating season. They have blue or green feathers on their bodies but all species have the characteristic eye tail feathers.

Only the males have these brilliant colors. Female peahens have more subdued brown feathers, which help them blend in while laying eggs and caring for their young. The bright colors of the males make them more vulnerable to predators in the wild.

peacock with feathers spread

Peacocks, because they are so bright, are easy for predators to spot.


Male turkeys do the same thing with their tail feathers, although the display is not as colorful. They spread their feathers to show that they are the big bird in the flock. They also puff themselves up to appear larger and make their characteristic gobbling sounds.

Turkey feathers are often brown, black, white, and tan. Both male and female turkeys have wattles, the red dangling part of their neck. They are larger and more pronounced in male turkeys, however. The wattle is used to show a turkey’s health and potentially attract a mate. It is also part of the way that turkeys cool off when the weather is hot.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Paul VanDerWerf (Me in ME) / CC BY 2.0, Flickr – License / Original

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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