Indian Peacocks or peafowl have been domesticated for about 3000 years. A common fixture on zoo grounds, animal parks, and many farms and estates around the world, peacocks are among nature's most dramatically beautiful birds. Their native range is through India, Pakistan, western China, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Peafowl's preferred habitat in the wild is lowland and foothills with brush and scattered trees which they use for roosting. Related species include pheasants, grouse, guinea fowl, quail, chickens, and other gallinaceous birds. Life expectancy is generally considered to be 15-20 years.
The male peacock sports about 150 of the long "eyed" tail feathers with which most of us are so familiar. These feathers are shed annually during the molt and gathered as a valuable "crop" in many countries through its range. These gorgeous and beautiful birds are NOT killed for their feathers. These feathers are actually long extensions of the upper tail covers. They are supported from underneath by the much shorter tail feathers. These feathers grow up to four feet (over one meter) long, but are shed each year just after the breeding season and regrown the following season. The eyed tail feathers grow in size and number as the male matures. Each of these long feathers also has a design near its tip which resembles an eye. The peacock sword feathers are side tails that are eventually replaced by full eyed feathers as the males molt from season to season.
Peacock Feather Characteristics
The feathers of the peacock are composed of many colors, including the crescent sheen of bright blue and green. The shimmering color of the peacock feather is due to a phenomena known as interference. Each feather consists of tiny flat flat branches. When light shines on the feather, we see thousands of glimmering colored spots, each caused by minuscule bowl-shaped indentations. This same principle is also responsible for vibrant shimmering colors of butterflies, pheasants, birds of paradise and humming birds. Recreating the unique color of the peacock feather has posed a challenge to artists and ceramists for centuries.
Peacock feathers have a variety of decorative uses. Placed in a vase for home decor, they stand on their own or in combination with long dried reeds. Our Decoration Mixes
includes mixed lengths of eyed feathers and swords. The beautiful feathers can be incorporated into costumes, mask, head dresses, feather fans, and unique and colorful jewelry like earring, pendants, or full necklace wear. The side fibers (herl) are an important ingredient in fishing fly design most famously in the legendary Royal Coachman pattern.
Peacock feathers are a symbol of good luck and well-being throughout Asia and most of the world. An interesting exception is in certain parts of Eastern Europe where the feather often decorated warriors of the invading Mongol hordes and thus were associated with a bad era.
There is a variety of peacock with all white feathers. These are not albino but a color variation of the India Blue peacock. White peacock feathers are rare and difficult to keep in stock. Lamplight occasionally has a limited supply of white peacock feathers in July and August. Above is a picture of a natural male white peacock. White peacocks are not albinos. Albino animals and birds have a complete lack of color and red or pink eyes. White peafowl have blue eyes. The white color appears in other domestically bred peafowl but in different quantities. Chicks are born yellow and become white as they mature, according to the Peafowl Varieties Database. Indian peafowl of all colors, including white, have pink skin.