Peacocks are undoubtedly one of the most glamorous birds in the world. I have seen many of them in Sri Lanka. But all peacocks I saw were blue (the Indian peafowl). Even though I heard there are pink peacocks, I was skeptical and did my own research to find the truth.
So, if you ask me, “are there any pink peacocks? Are they real?”
No. There is no evidence to claim that there exist exact pink color peacocks. But, there are 15 color variations of peacocks exist. From them, peach peacocks are the closest color to pink color.
But, wait… There is a video of a pink peacock on youtube!
- Do pink peacocks really exist? There’s a video
- How many peacock species are there?
- Different Colors of Peacocks
- Where can we see different color peacocks?
- Do female peacocks have colorful feathers?
Do pink peacocks really exist? There’s a video
Still, my answer is NO. There are no records of the real existence of a pink peacock (or red peacocks) to date. Only you can find are edited videos or photos of pink peacocks which were created using different color filtering techniques in video or photo editing tools.
However, let’s not come to conclusions and say, we will never hear of the occurrence of a real pink peacock in the future. New identifications are happening and new mutations are being developed by breeders; so I believe it can happen!
Possibility of a Pink Peacock (Real One!)
Scientists and researchers continually make groundbreaking observations about species and their genetic variations, and breeders are constantly developing new mutations in animals.
To examine the potential for pink peacocks, it’s essential to understand the role of color pigments in determining the hues of peacock feathers.
The vibrant colors in peacock plumage are a result of specialized pigments and structural features in the feathers that create iridescence.
Typically, peacocks display an array of blues and greens, which are generated by pigments called carotenoids and melanin, coupled with microscopic structures that scatter light.
However, the possibility of a pink peacock hinges on the presence of unique pigments capable of producing red hues, such as astaxanthin or canthaxanthin, along with the specific genetic mutations needed to express these pigments in their feathers.
While it may be a rarity, genetics and the ever-evolving research, the emergence of a red peacock remains a tantalizing possibility in the realm of ornithology and genetic engineering.
And, if you are curious to know about other color peacocks, let’s discuss more about them.
How many peacock species are there?
I hope you already know that peafowl is the common name used for both male and female birds. And, males are called peacocks, and females are called peahens. Baby peafowls are called peachicks.
Due to the beautiful long upper tail covert (which is also called “train”), larger body size, and distinctive loud call, peacocks are more popular. Even though their train is about 5-6 feet long and looks heavy, they are flying birds that can be seen in forests, farms, and rarely in even urban setups.
Even though Indian peafowl is more popular, there are three distinct species of peafowls; Indian peafowl, green peafowl, and Congo peafowl.
Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
Indian Peafowl is one of the most common peafowls in the world. It is also called “Blue Peafowl” or “Common Peafowl” and they are native to the Indian subcontinent. As the name indicates, the primary color of the peacock is iridescent blue.
However, peahens are not blue. They have brown heads, white cheeks, iridescent green upper necks, and brown plumage. And peahens do not have the train as well.
In addition to their eye-catching bright colors, peacocks are famous for their unique courtship dance. When courting, they raise the long covert feathers and quiver to make a display to attract peahens.
Peafowls are omnivorous and eat seeds, fruits, grains, and vegetables as well as insects, frogs, small snakes, and rodents. Originally, they are resident breeders in the lowlands of India and Sri Lanka. And, it is the national bird of India. Now, they have been introduced to many other countries including North America.
Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus)
Green peafowls are also called “Indonesian Peafowl”. They are native to Southeast Asia. They can be found in most Southeast Asian countries and are also named as the national bird of Myanmar.
Tropical and subtropical forests are green peafowl’s preferred habitat. In addition, sometimes they can also be seen around savannas, grasslands, scrub, and farmland edges.
Unlike Indian peafowl, green peacock and peahens are quite similar in appearance. Both have iridescent green necks and breasts. Green peahens too have a shorter train that extends to cover the tail. Since the green peacock’s train is molted during the non-breeding season, it is difficult to distinguish male and female, especially in the field.
It is recognized that green peafowl has three similar subspecies; Java peafowl, Indo-Chinese peafowl, and Burmese peafowl. Due to loss of habitat and hunting, green peafowls are considered endangered since 2009 in IUCN Red List
Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis)
Congo peafowl is also named “African peafowl”. Out of three peafowl species, they are the only native peafowl in Africa and are mainly restricted to Congo Basin.
Congo peafowls are also large birds, but less glamorous compared to their Asian counterpart. Males have red throat skin, white crest, and iridescent blue breasts and lower parts. And their feathers are a mix of green, blue, and violet. Also, they have a distinctive white crest. But, females have mainly brown feathers and the black lower body is decorated with green flecks.
Congo peafowls are omnivores and mainly eat fruits and insects. The Lowlands forests of Congo are their main habitat of them. They are a rare species and are considered as vulnerable in IUCN Red List.
Different Colors of Peacocks
Even though there are only three peafowl species in the world, there are 15 color varieties of peafowl. Different color varieties are resulted due to the genetic mutation of naturally occurring species. Breeding of different varieties of peacocks in the pet trade has also contributed to having many color variations.
Though peacocks have a mix of many colors in their plumage, the color of the neck is most often used to decide the color of them.
Based on that classification, all recognized naturally occurring species are falling into two colors, blue and green. In addition, there are other thirteen color peacocks. All these other color peacocks are mutations of the Indian peafowl.
However, color is only one differentiating factor of peafowls. Even the same color (same neck color) peafowls can look completely different due to their body patterns (patterns in their plumage). Hence, the pattern of the body feathers is another differentiating factor used to separate out varieties of peacocks. There are five possible patterns have been identified among peacocks.
So, with three species of peafowls, and with 15 different colors, and 5 body patterns, there are many varieties have been listed. According to the latest published approved list of peafowls by the United Peafowl Organization (UPO), there are 225 varieties of peafowls.
Where can we see different color peacocks?
Indian peacock is the comparatively most common one among all three species. Hence, seeing one of them is not that much of difficult. I have seen many. But green peacocks are fewer in number and their habitats scattered; hence seeing them is somewhat rare. Congo peacocks are the same as green peacocks, comparatively rare.
But, if you want to see any other color peacock, it is extremely rare. This is because the probability of occurring a genetic mutation of peafowl is very less (can be less than 1 to million). And some of the varieties listed are yet to be confirmed.
Hence, it is not possible to see any of the different colored peacocks in the wild. Even you may not see them in zoos. The only probable places would be breeding farms. So, if you wish to see any of those, check on those locations.
Do female peacocks have colorful feathers?
Mostly, we talk about peacocks but very less about peahens. Peahens too are beautiful birds. Yet, peacocks overshadow them. So, it is normal to ask the question, “do female peafowls colorful like peacocks?
Even though I briefly highlighted the appearances of peahens when discussing three different species of peafowls, here is the complete comparison.
Peacock Vs Peahen (Indian Peafowl)
|Color (neck color)||Blue||Green|
|Body color||head and neck feather short and curled, the crown is metallic blue.||The Head is reddish-brown. The lower neck is metallic green. Breast – dark brown shined with green.|
|Length||84 – 96 inches (including train)||About 37 inches|
|Train||It is the upper tail covert.||Do not have the train|
|Tail||Dark brown||Dark brown|
|Crest||Fan-shaped crest. Black shafts end with bluish-green webbing||Same as males but the edges are green|
Peacock Vs Peahen (Green Peafowl)
|Color (neck color)||Green||Green|
|Body color||Emerald green on head and neck feathers.||Dull green (slight mix of brown) on head and body.|
|Length||72 – 120 inches (including train)||39 – 45 inches|
|Train||It is the upper tail covert. However, it is molted in the non-breeding season.||Have a short train that extends just beyond the tail|
|Crest||Thinner and taller shafted crest||Wider shafted crest|
Peacock Vs Peahen (Congo Peafowl)
|Color (neck color)||Deep blue mixed with green.||Chestnut|
|Body color||They have a red bare skin throat and a bronze-green body with black lower parts.||Brown feathers and a black lower body are decorated with green flecks. It has a metallic green back|
|Length||25 – 28 inches||24 – 25 inches|
|Train||Do not have a train like in Asian counterparts.||Do not have the train|
|Tail||Black tail with blue and green tips.||Black tail with green tip|
|Crest||Crest has two parts. The front part consists of long white bristles. The back part is short and black in color.||It has short reddish brown chestnut feathers.|
So, as per the above comparison, it is clear that peahens are also as colorful as peacocks. But, they do not have the most attractive feature of peacocks; the train.
Peahens do not have long upper tail coverts (or trains) like in males. But only in green peahens, we can see a short train that covers their tails.
You may have seen selling pink peacock feathers in e-commerce stores or in craft shops. And some people really believe those feathers are real and pink peacocks actually exist. But those are dyed or bleached feathers of different colors.
Even though there are 15 color variations identified in peacocks, pink is not among those colors. Hence, pink peacocks are not real.
But, there are very beautiful other color peacocks that exist. The peach color is the closest color to pink on that list. All 15 color variations of peacocks are blue, green, purple, peach, white, cameo, charcoal, opal, buford bronze, midnight, jade, taupe, hazel, indigo, and sonja’s violeta.
Blue and green are the colors of naturally occurring three species of peafowls; Indian peafowl, green peafowl, and Congo peafowl. The other 13 are genetic mutations of Indian peafowl.
Even though they are beautiful, it is extremely rare to see them. But, if you are interested, you can check out in peacock breeding centers which are the best places to look for them.
And, if you are interested in seeing a peacock in the field (in their natural habitats), plan your next trip to Sri Lanka. It is one of the best tourist destinations as well!