3 Different Types of Peacocks
Only three types of peacocks exist in the world: the Blue peafowl, the Congo peafowl, and the green peafowl. These birds can be found in different parts of the world, and although they’re quite similar, they also have plenty of features that make them stand apart.
Below, I will present to you the three different types of peacocks, their geographical distribution, physical traits, and some other interesting things about them.
Types of Peacocks
Undoubtedly, the peacock is one of the most iconic birds. The sheer size of its tail feathers and the dazzling colors of its plumage are unparalleled in the avian world.
Here are three species of peacocks, each interesting and beautiful in its own way:
– Blue Peafowl
The most recognizable of all the peafowl species, the Blue Peafowl is native to the Indian subcontinent, which is why the Blue Peafowl is also known as the Indian peafowl.
Apart from being the most recognizable species, it’s also the largest peafowl species, and the most numerous in its population.
Blue peafowl have a length of around 77 to 89 in from bill to the end of their train and can weigh 8.8 – 13.2 lb.
With a fan-shaped crest on its head, metallic blue and iridescent green plumage, as well as scaly bronze-green feathers with black and copper markings on its back, the Indian peafowl is an unmistakable bird.
Although the tail is dark brown, the train is made up of over 200 elongated upper-tail coverts, each adorned with elaborate eyespots in olive green.
Females are much less colorful and lack the train of the peacocks. They’re also smaller in size.
Multiple color mutations exist of the Blue Peafowl, but only in birds raised in captivity. I will discuss some of these color variations in further sections of this article.
– Congo Peafowl
The second type of peafowl in the wild is the Congo Peafowl. This species is native to Africa, more specifically to the Congo basin.
Less impressive than the Blue Peafowl, the Congo Peafowl is both smaller, and less colorful. Males measure about 64–70 cm (25–28 in) in length, while females measure 60–63 cm (24–25 in) in length.
Despite not being as colorful as its Indian counterparts, the Congo peafowl is still noteworthy when it comes to its plumage color.
The plumage features deep blue feathers with a metallic green and violet tinge. The head is black with a hair-like white crest. The neck features bare red skin.
Congo peahens are chestnut brown with a black abdomen and metallic green back. The crest on the head is smaller and chestnut colored.
These birds occur in primary and secondary forests, and enjoy staying hidden, which is one of the reasons for the very few numbers of Congo peafowls that have been spotted in the wild.
Another reason is that the Congo peafowl is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Habitat loss, poaching, hunting, and logging activities have caused the rapid decline in the Congo peafowl population.
It is believed that the Congo peafowl is a monogamous peafowl species.
– Green Peafowl
The third type of peafowl is the Green Peafowl. This species is native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the Green peafowl is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The Green peafowl closely resembles the Blue peafowl, except for the color of the plumage, the size, and the different crest they have on their heads.
The plumage of the Green peafowl is iridescent green on the neck and breast, resembling scales. Blue is also present in the wing coverts.
The crest of the female is slightly wider, while that of the male is taller and thinner.
The male and female Green peafowl look very similar, but there’s a significant difference in size – the female is only about half the size of the male.
This peafowl species can be found in varied habitats in both tropical and subtropical forests and both evergreen and deciduous forests. But also, in savannahs, farmland edges, scrub, grasslands, etc.
When raised in captivity, the Green peafowl cannot be housed or kept in the same enclosure with other birds due to their aggressive tendencies.
Peacock Color Variations
Beyond the plumage colors I described above, there are some other variations that have emerged as a result of hybridization, cross-breeding or selective breeding.
These mutations have emerged in captive-bred specimens.
One example is the black-shouldered variation, which causes peacocks to become melanistic with black wings. In peahens a dilution of color occurs, resulting in creamy white and brown markings.
A cross between a male green peafowl and a female Indian peafowl results in a stable hybrid called the “Spalding”, named after the breeder in California.
Another color variation, also caused by a mutation, can result in a fully white or a partially white peafowl.
What is the Rarest Peacock Color?
The rarest peafowl color is the all-white peafowl. While confused with albinism, it’s not the same. Albinism causes lack of pigment in the skin and red eyes.
White peafowl have blue eyes and their skin doesn’t lack pigment.
Interestingly, rare as it is, the white peacock appears only among captive-bred peafowls. Because their white feathers would attract predators in the wild, white peafowls have not emerged in wild peafowl populations.
As I mentioned, the genetic mutation that causes white feathers in peafowls will not always cause the entire plumage to go white. Sometimes the plumage is only partially white, while the rest of the plumage is colored with the original colors of the peafowl.
Although there are only three types of peacocks in the wild, there are several mutations that result in different color variations. Most of these mutations are a result of captive-breeding or selective breeding.
Unfortunately, hunting, poaching, logging activities, and agricultural practices have caused a significant decline both in the Congo peafowl and the Green peafowl population.
The Blue peafowl population remains the most numerous, although there are breeding and conservation programs in place that are trying to prevent further population decline in the affected peafowl species.