When we think about peacocks, we immediately envision birds with amazing, brightly-colored plumage. Their feathers are prized possessions and it is amazing what nature can do. However, as with all animals, there are times when genetic mutations play out, and this can lead to a type of black peacocks.
Black peacocks: There are all-white peacocks, so it stands to reason there might be all-black peacocks. However, this is unfortunately not true. As of yet, there are no peacocks or peahens that are completely black in color. However, there are black shoulder peacocks. This species began as a genetic mutation but selective breeding is now quite common. Black shoulder peafowl only exists within the Indian peafowl species, and not any of the other, less common species. Their breeding really took off in the 1800s and now there are many local breeders who specialize in these types of birds. For peacocks, their shoulder feathers are black, although they retain their blue necks and blue and green tail feathers. For peahens, their shoulder feathers have a mottled black and white coloring. They don’t have long tails, anyway, so don’t have green and blue tail feathers. Apart from their coloring, black shoulder peafowl has the same needs as traditional peafowl. They require ground space to peck at and trees to roost in. Although there is no guarantee of their coloring, breeding two black shoulder peafowl together should result in similar coloring with their chicks.
Do black peacocks exist?
While there are three main species of peafowl, the most common is the Indian peafowl, which can be found in zoos and animal habitats around North America. They originated from India, and are actually the national bird.
Within this species, you can find white peacocks, which are a result of a genetic mutation and are fairly rare. Even more rare are albino peacocks which are white in color and have red eyes.
As for all-black peacocks, unfortunately, they do not exist. There are, however, peacocks and peahens that have black coloring on them. Because of this, their name is often shortened to simply black peacocks.
What is a black shoulder peacock?
When we talk about black peacocks, we are usually referring to black shoulder peacocks and peahens. These have a genetic mutation that causes their shoulder area to have black feathers.
Now, this mutation can be hard to tell unless you are looking for it. This is because only the shoulder area of the peacocks and peahens is black. The tail feathers, which fluff up, are the traditional blue and green bold colors.
Furthermore, black shoulder peacocks are technically Indian peacocks, which are the traditional birds we think of. While there are other peafowl species, such as Green peafowl and Congo peafowl, the black shoulder mutation only appears in Indian peafowl.
With typical Indian peacocks, the shoulder area is a light brown and black pattern. With black shoulder peacocks, these feathers are almost entirely black.
As for their female equivalents, black shoulder peahens will have more of a mottled look to them. Their white/tan feathers will have more specks of black in them, and the overall coloring is not as bold.
What is a pied peacock?
Occasionally, you’ll come across the term pied peacocks. This means they have a speckled coloring of black and white. Many black shoulder peacocks have this pied look to them and are referred to this term.
Black Shoulder Peacock Origin and History
Not content with the simple green and blue coloring to the Indian peafowl species, breeders have been selectively engineering different color patterns. The result is there are now many black shoulder peafowl.
This coloring began as a genetic mutation, as is common with most animals. However, while the mutation started out rare, breeders were quick to jump on it and breed another black shoulder peafowl with each other, thus propagating the coloring.
Originally from India, black shoulder peafowl was introduced to Europe in the 1800s and quickly became popular. Nowadays, it is quite common to find breeders that specialize in this coloring and black shoulder peafowl are actually the second more common breed within the United Kingdom.
What is black peacock good for?
Black shoulder peacocks and peahens are just different breeds of Indian peafowl. The male peacocks still have their gorgeous tail feathers and the female peahens are still able to mate and birth offspring.
If you have two black shoulder peacocks, there is a greater chance of having peachicks with this coloring but it is not guaranteed because of the way genes work. Furthermore, the black coloring may be different, even among siblings.
Black shoulder chicks start out with a light yellow coloring on their feathers but by two months, their black feathers will start to come in. The color differences are especially noticeable with peahens, as they have naturally light brown feathers so the black coloring is more dramatic.
The main purpose for breeding black shoulder peacocks and peahens is to have different-looking birds. If you are a collector of peafowl, you might want more of a variety.
This is especially true if you have white peafowl and want to add to your collection.
What does a black peacock symbolize?
Peafowl is the national bird of India because they symbolize rejuvenation, re-growth, and respect. They are a common symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism and are even worshipped in these religions along with other deities.
Overall, peacocks are seen as good omens. If you dream about peacocks, it means you will have good fortune and success in your future. There is a sense of love and birth with peacocks.
There is no specific meaning when it comes to black peacocks. If you see a black shoulder peacock, you can interpret it as the same ideals of respect and re-growth that traditional Indian peacocks represent.
While there are not all-black peafowl, there is black shoulder peafowl. This genetic mutation affects both peacocks, with the result of black shoulder feathers, and peahens, with the result they have black and white mottled shoulder feathers.