White Peacocks: All the Facts You Need

Two white peacocks in a park

Undoubtedly, white peacocks are one of the most striking creatures you can find on the planet. They boast feathers that are as white as snow, and their fan-shaped tails are equally stunning.

To add to that, these white-pigmented birds are a symbol of various cultures around the world. This is unsurprising, as they have been around for centuries and have been used in many different ways by humans.

In this article, everything you need to know regarding white peacocks will be covered in detail. You’ll learn about their origins and habitat, how they’re bred, their genetics, and much more. Let’s get started!

What Is a White Peacock?

White peacock side profile

White peacocks are essentially male peafowls — as females are called peahens — with a unique genetic mutation that causes their plumage to lack coloration. They are a result of conditions like albinism or, more commonly, leucism.

Surprising as it may seem, the white peacock and peahen are actually a variant or morph of the Indian blue peafowl, which is the national bird of India.

It’s just that the feather colors of this variety have been altered by a mutated gene, restricting their body’s ability to produce melanin effectively.

So, unlike the naturally colorful peacocks you’re familiar with, this type appears white or piebald.

Despite their lack of pigmentation, white peacocks still flaunt ethereal tail feathers and a crown-like crest atop their heads — just like their blue-colored counterparts.

Are White Peacocks Albino?

The presence of a white peacock may lead many to think they are seeing an albino peacock. However, note that not all white peacocks are albinos, as some are categorized as leucistic birds.

The difference basically lies in the pigmentation of their feathers.

More specifically, albino peacocks completely lack melanin, giving them their overall white color. What’s more, they often have distinct red or pink eyes.

On the other hand, peacocks with a condition called leucism, also known as pied peacocks, have only a partial loss of pigmentation. Further, these birds retain brown eyes, which sets them apart from their albino peers.

Note, though, that while both conditions result in a loss of iridescent feathers, it’s leucism that often affects peafowls. Moreover, albino peacocks would be rarer to find due to their heightened susceptibility to predators.

In this video, you’ll see a white peacock, possibly one with albinism, showing off its fan-shaped tail:


10 Interesting Facts About White Peacocks

All peahens and peacocks are considered majestic. However, it is white peacocks that often make the greatest impression.

The following are 10 interesting facts about the white peafowl:

1. White peacocks are not a separate species

White peacock species

The white peacock or peahen is not a species of its own. It results from a mutation in the Indian blue peafowl, which is native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka and the Congo Basin.

Historical records indicate that the first white peafowls were identified as early as the 1830s.

2. Many symbolic representations can be attributed to the white peacock

White peacock as a simble of nirvana lucky charm and immortality

Deeply embedded in cultural and religious tales, the white peacock wears many symbolic hats. The following are a few of its most common meanings:

  • Nirvana: In Buddhism, a white peacock conveys nirvana — a transcendent state free from suffering.
  • Lucky charms: In Hinduism, white peacocks and peaheans are believed to emanate luck and wealth.
  • Immortality: Harking back to ancient Greece, white peafowls were a potent symbol of immortality, as people initially believed these birds don’t decay after death. Legend even says these avians are crafted from a feather of the mythical bird Garuda.

However, bear in mind that beyond these associations with divine figures and otherworldly creatures, a white peacock is universally seen as a sign of cleanliness, grace, and innocence.

3. It is rare to see white peacocks and peahens in nature

Peacock in a zoo

Despite their increased popularity in tales and myths, white peacocks are rare. Their distinctive white color makes them stand out; however, it’s their rarity that makes them so sought after.

While working at a bird sanctuary, I closely observed the intricate process of producing these rare white avians. Primarily, they have to be bred from other white peacocks carrying the leucistic gene.

To be specific, when two carriers would breed, note that our chances were slim, with only a 25% likelihood of having a white chick. Yet, we were lucky enough to produce one in our first batch of eggs.

4. White peafowls are not always pure white

White peacocks and peahens aren’t always completely white. Those affected by leucism, rather than an albino condition, will still carry other body markings, like black shoulder patches or dark-tipped tail feathers.

The following is a photo of a white peacock with partial leucism:

White peacock with partial leucism

As you can see, at times, amidst such peacocks’ white feathers, hints of the iconic blue tint of the Indian blue peafowl make a cameo appearance.

5. Albinism affects both peacocks and peahens

Peacock with albinism

Both male and female peacocks can be affected by albinism. However, it’s the males that face the more significant challenge.

Specifically, in the world of peafowls, peahens choose their partner. So, with the complete lack of melanin in albino peacocks, they are less appealing to potential mates, making their courtship endeavors extremely difficult.

6. The plumage of a white peacock and peahen is initially yellow

Peacock with yellow plumage

A fascinating fact about white peafowls is that they are not white at birth. In truth, these peaheans and peacocks are born yellow.

Note that these chicks will eventually turn white as they mature, undergoing a series of changes in their pigmentation.

7. White peafowls have a hard time blending in with their surroundings

White peacock that doesnt blend in with its surroundings

As mesmerizing as the white peacock is, it is also an animal that faces serious threats. In particular, its light coloration serves as a disadvantage when it comes to camouflage.

In the wild, blending in is essential for survival, and the white peacock’s inability to do so makes it an easy target for predators, including leopards, tigers, foxes, and coyotes.

8. White peahens and peacocks can serve many purposes

Peacock standing on the rocks

In terms of their utility, white peafowls are sometimes employed for pest control or cherished as unique pets.

Their beauty makes them desirable additions to many gardens and estates, keeping pests at bay while offering an aesthetic benefit.

9. The quality of life of white peafowls is typically low

Peacock sitting in the garden

Generally speaking, an all-white peacock tends to have a lower quality of life compared to those that boast a variety of colors on their plumage.

For instance, white peacocks and peahens with red eyes especially suffer from poor eyesight. Furthermore, their lack of melanin makes them susceptible to skin cancer.

Lastly, these white-pigmented birds’ bright pigmentation makes them easily noticeable to predators.

10. White peacocks thrive better in captivity than in the wild

White peacock in the woods

Most white peacocks live in captivity, making them a rare sight in the wild. Basically, their vulnerability in natural habitats is a prime reason for their greater presence in zoos, sanctuaries, and other controlled habitats.

On a similar note, the fact that the majority of white peacocks exist in captivity makes it difficult to determine their exact population size. Yet, some estimate that thousands of these birds live worldwide today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Peacock with white plumage

What Is a White Peacock Called?

A white peacock is primarily referred to as a leucistic Indian peacock. This is because it is an Indian blue peacock and peafowl descendant.

However, note that if a peacock’s lack of melanin is due to a recessive gene called the albinism chromosome, it will be called an albino Indian peacock instead.

How Rare Is a White Peacock?

White peacocks are actually an extremely rare sight, with an estimated one in 30,000 carrying this unique pigment. The main reason behind this is that they only emerge due to genetic conditions, such as leucism and albinism.

On another note, while it has been established that peacocks with leucism are more frequently seen than their albino counterparts, both remain incredibly rare.

That’s why many zoos and breeders work diligently to protect and breed them, ensuring their numbers remain steady in captivity.

What Is Special About White Peacocks?

White peacocks are a rare and special variant of the common blue peacock. Originating from regions like Southeast Asia, their distinctive coloration also makes them stand out dramatically.

How Much Does an Albino Peacock Cost?

The cost of an albino peacock typically ranges from $300 to $1,000. This reflects its rarity compared to other peacock colors.

That said, before actually buying one, remember that albino peacocks tend to have more health issues than normal peafowls — examples of which include poor eyesight and a predisposition to skin cancer.

What Does a White Peacock Symbolize?

White peacocks carry profound symbolism, particularly in Hindu cosmology, wherein they represent the succession of temporal cycles. These majestic birds are also considered potent lucky charms.

Yet, beyond its cultural significance, a white peacock is symbolic of purity, grace, immortality, enlightenment, and peace.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with all the facts you need about white peafowls. If you’ve ever seen a white peacock or peahen, please share your story with us in the comments!

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