Light, Sound and Waves

Peacocks’ mating resonance

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

A study of the biomechanics of male peacocks’ tail feathers during their mating displays suggests that the oscillations are controlled in such a way that the iridescent eyespots remain nearly stationary in order to captivate female birds. Researchers used high-speed video to determine that male peacocks generated a pulsating sound by rubbing their feathers together at a mean frequency of 26.5 Hz. The peacocks were capable of vibrating their feathers at, or near to, their resonant frequencies in a manner that stimulated maximum amplitude vibrations for minimum energy expenditure and the oscillations typically had a node near the eyespot of the feather.


is a special case of Oscillation
is exhibited by Resonating System
can be analysed using the quantity Resonant Frequency Natural Frequency
Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today