These Rare White Peacocks Dazzle With Their Spectacular Feathers

White Peacock Displaying Its Tail Feathers

Photo: Stock Photos from Tatiana Grozetskaya/Shutterstock

Peacocks are a spectacular sight to behold, particularly when the males flash their colorful tail feathers. But one rare type of peacock makes a spectacle even without all the bold color. The white peacock is a variation of the blue peacock native to the Indian subcontinent, but is now bred in captivity around the world.

Of course, it's important to distinguish that when we refer to peacocks, we're technically speaking about a male peafowl. Females are called peahens, while babies are called peachicks. Colloquially both males and females are referred to as peacocks.

Now that that's out of the way, why is the white peacock without color? Some would be quick to guess that they're albino, but that's not the case. White peafowl have a genetic mutation called leucism. This causes the inability of pigment to be deposited into their feathers which results in a white appearance.

Though leucism can cause animals to be quite tame in some different species, this is not the case with the white peacock. They're just as feisty as their colorful counterparts and tend to peck and kick those who try to handle them. Still, it's impossible not to be dazzled by their appearance. The males in particular, who have a much longer train, are mesmerizing. These trains have about 150 feathers and reach their full length when peacocks are about two years old. Their feathers glisten in the sunlight as they try to attract a female partner.

Given their unique appearance, it should come as no surprise that white peacocks are highly prized. Historically, they've symbolized purity, eternity, and unconditional love. While some white peacocks can be found in the wild, it's more common that they're the result of selective breeding and held in captivity, where they can live for up to 50 years.

White peacocks are the result of a genetic mutation called leucism, which causes pigment not to stick to their feathers.

Close Up Portrait of a White Peacock

Photo: Stock Photos from Ekaterina Lin/Shutterstock

White Peacock Walking on Grass

Photo: Stock Photos from Wouter Tolenaars/Shutterstock

White Peacock Walking on Gravel

Photo: Stock Photos from Borya Galperin/Shutterstock

Despite the lack of color, the males still put on a good show when they flash their plumage.

White Peacock with Feathers on Display

Photo: Stock Photos from Michele_Arts/Shutterstock

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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