Peafowl have been on this earth for a very long time. They are one of the most beautiful birds on earth. There are many colors of peafowl today compared to let’s say 200 years ago. In the 1700’s there were mainly two breeds of peafowl, the India Blue and Java Green. There has been several colors mutated from the India Blue as well as color patterns. India Blue, as we refer to as wild type, has a barred wing pattern in the males and is dominant over the other colors. In the early 1800’s the first mutant appeared. It was known as the Black Shoulder. Black Shoulder is actually a pattern mutation, for the colors are the same as on a India Blue, but arranged in a different way on the bird. The male bird has a solid black wing instead of barred wing. The Black Shoulder is referred to as, dark wing pattern. A decade or so later the next color appeared. This was the White peafowl. It is not an albino bird because the iris is blue not red. Around 1823 another mutation appeared, Pied, this is a pattern mutation. The bird is the color of the India Blue, but has random white markings throughout it’s body.
Color Mutations (Top to Bottom)
Bronze, Opal, Charcoal, Midnight, and Jade
Color Mutations (Top to Bottom)
India Blue, White, Cameo, Peach, and Purple
Several years ago the two breeds, Java Green and India Blue were bred to each other. This created the first hybrid cross. These were named after the person that made the cross, Mrs. Spalding. The Black Shoulder pattern was then introduced to the Spalding variety, which made Spaldings in the Black Shoulder pattern, today known as Spalding Black Shoulder. The Spalding variety was crossed with the colors and color patterns to create more varieties.
Some varieties today have many pattern combinations going on in an individual bird example of this are Purple Black Shoulder Silver Pied Spalding or Bronze Black Shoulder Pied White –Eyed Spalding
Many decades passed before the next mutation appeared around 1967. This was the Brown peafowl. It was first named Silver Dunn and later renamed Cameo. These birds first appeared in the barred wing pattern. Later it appeared in the Black Shoulder pattern in the mid 1970’s, named Oaten, which is the same as Cameo Black Shoulder. Through many years of breeding it was found that the brown peafowl is a sex link recessive color. In the 1980’s lots of things happened, the Charcoal color mutation, the White-Eyed mutation, the Bronze color mutation and the Purple color mutation. The White-Eyed is a pattern mutation in which the eyes in the train are white in the center. In the early 1990’s the Opal color mutation and the Peach color mutation appeared. Both the Purple and Peach are also found to be sex link recessive. In 1991, Silver Pied, a pattern mutation appeared. In 1995 two more color mutations appeared, the Midnight and the Jade. In all there are 10 color mutations and 5 pattern mutations from the India Blue peafowl.
By Brad Legg
Pattern Mutations (Top to Bottom)
White-Eyed, Silver Pied, Pied, Solid Wing (Black Shoulder), and Barred Wing (India Blue)
In all there are more than 185 possible varieties between the color patterns and hybrids available. As of now there are only around 100 of these that have been created. It will be interesting to see what color will show the future. I’m sure there is another one just waiting to be found. It is said a mutation occurs somewhere between 1 in 100,000 and 1 in 1,000,000 birds. Hopefully this will help people understand some of the varieties of peafowl. In reference to the dates used for the mutation appearance, these are close proximity not exact. There is still a lot of genetic work to be done in the future of breeding peafowl.
Peafowl Color Mutation/ Pattern History
Legg's Peafowl Farm