When you think of a peacock, bright green and blue feathers instantly come to mind. But there are other breeds, including the cameo peacock that offer a different type of beauty.
Cameo peacock: Cameo peacocks are a specific breed under the umbrella of the Indian peacock. They have a lovely tan coloring that extends from their crest to their tail. Their bodies are a mix of white and tan feathers and the eyespots on their long tails are a mixture of darker browns. Cameo peacocks began as a genetic color mutation which was quickly capitalized on by breeders. Now, it is one of the more popular breeds you can find. However, cameo peacocks are sex-linked which means it is easier to find female cameo peahens than male peacocks. If you want this majestic bird, you may have to wait a while before they are available.
What is a Cameo Peacock?
As so often happens in the wild, cameo peacocks are a result of a color mutation. Essentially, they are part of the well-known Indian peafowl species except that their coloring is different.
This color mutation was discovered in the 1960s and since then, breeders have worked to hone the mutation. Essentially, we have Oscar Mulloy, Sherman Cram, Dennis Coo, and Norman Waycott to thank for improving the mutation and making it now a fairly common occurrence.
The color mutation is sex-linked, which means more female peahens have the mutation than male peacocks. As a result, it is much harder to find cameo peacocks, which are the more coveted possession.
If you have a cameo peacock and a cameo peahen, you are guaranteed a cameo peachick, no matter if it is male or female.
If you have a cameo peahen and an Indian blue peacock, the peachicks will be a split coloring between the two.
Finally, if you have a cameo peacock and an Indian blue peahen, you will have male split peacocks and cameo peahens.
So you can see that the ideal breeding environment is a cameo peacock and a cameo peahen. Luckily, there are many breeders who focus on this color mutation so they are no longer too difficult to find.
Cameo Peacock Characteristics
While a cameo peacock is the same shape as a standard Indian peacock, the coloring is vastly different. Instead of blue and green coloring, cameo peacocks have a light brown color. Think of the color of coffee with milk in it.
There are still eyespots on the tails of cameo peacocks but these are a mix of brown colors, not green.
As for the body, it is a very light brown, almost cream color. The crest of a cameo peacock is also a brown color.
Cameo peacocks are roughly the same size as standard Indian peacocks. They will be a total of 7 feet in length, with the majority of this length in their tail feathers.
Cameo peacocks are omnivores, meaning they will eat a variety of meat and plants. In the wild, this translates to berries, leaves, and insects.
If you plan to raise cameo peacocks, you will have to purchase a special peacock food that is rich in protein. You can also feed cameo peacocks kitchen scraps, as long as there is no processed food or overly sugary foods.
It is hard to know for certain just how many cameo peacocks there are because they mostly exist on private farms. There is now a booming industry for peacocks with specialized coloring, so the population has definitely exploded recently.
One issue with the rise in popularity is that breeders are finding it hard to source enough male cameo peacocks, as these are needed to breed true cameos. For example, the breed is fairly new to the United Kingdom, so there can be large waiting lists for cameo peacocks.
In captivity, cameo peacocks can live up to twenty years. These birds have access to a steady diet and their habitats should keep out local predators such as coyotes and foxes.
In the wild, however, cameo peacocks live a lot shorter. They stand out more, especially in the rainforests where they are native.
Cameo peacocks weigh between 9 and 13 pounds. They are roughly the same weight as standard Indian peacocks.
Cameo peahens are capable of clutch sizes of six to eight eggs. The peahens lay these eggs over a 12-day period and then incubate them for 28 to 30 days.
While cameo peahens are capable of laying two or even three clutches of eggs in a year, if they raise the peachicks themselves, they usually only lay one clutch.
As you can see, this is not a lot of peachicks, so breeders do not get a large return on investment. Furthermore, the eggs are usually half male and half female, so one cameo peahen may only give birth to three cameo peacocks in a year.
Cameo peacocks are quite large when their tail feathers are out, and as such, they need a large habitat. Make sure there is a sheltered space for them to stay safe as well as a large area for them to run and explore.
Cameo peacocks are a certified breed under the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). As a result, you should always look for certified breeders if you want this unique bird.
When they hatch, cameo peachicks look like a lighter version of Indian peacocks. They are a very light, almost white color.
Until they are between three and five months, old, it is almost impossible to tell if a chick is a peacock or a peahen.
After this age, male cameo peacocks will begin to grow larger tail feathers and their coloring will become darker than female cameo peahens.
As more people become interested in adding peacocks to their farms, different breeds may become a consideration. A cameo peacock has gorgeous tan coloring and while they look similar to a standard Indian blue peacock, their coloring is vastly different.