Peacocks tail eye spots

Since getting my first green peacocks some 20 years ago and then seeing them mix with the Indian Blue peacocks we could at once see the suckle difference in eye spot colours between the two species. While the difference does not seem much to the eyes of you or I in sunlight. They do how ever show much more if the two birds display their tails in a building with much lower light levels.

We have also noted over the years that if you mix Indian Blue and Green peacocks in the same pen and then put indian blue peahens with them and then let the hens to pick their own mates through a full breeding season. That the off spring of the whole group carries a higher number of green crossed birds than it does pure Indian Blue.

Tests have shown that peafowl have excellent colour vision and it would seem the hens are attracted to the more  colours  of the eye spots on the Green peacocks over the Indian blues. Both I and my good friend Harry Hunter think the reason the hens are drawn to the Green cocks over the indian cocks is that in the wild the two birds have adapted to the  they each now live in. The Indian Blue is more an open area dwelling birds. Like the plains and river bed areas. So is tail does not need to be so bright in the full sunlight to catch the eye of a peahen. Unlike the Greens which have lived in more covered areas of forest and much less direct sunlight. Which meant the greens needed a brighter display to cope with the lower light levels when displaying to the peahens.

I am now glad to say that in 2012 Roz Dakin & Bob Montgomerie of Queens University Canada came to the same conclusion has us. They however used much more science to come to their finding than we did and because of this we now know a lot more about how and not just why. Take a look at the poster below it really is worth a read. You can click on this link if you want to see a larger PDF image of the poster.
The colours are a bit off in this shrunken version, but you can see what they are saying. The poster covers some of Roz Dakin & Bob Montgomerie’s work on the lesser-known green peacock

I do how ever disagree with Roz Dakin & Bob Montgomerie on the reason the two species have  nearly identical tail spot markings. They think it is because the females of the two species have similar taste. I think it is not that they have similar, but that they have the same taste and the same feather marking due to them being so closely related. If we cross the green and the blue it is very hard to remove sights of the green if you then only put future offspring back to pure blues.

Some thing else that we have seen in regard to tail display is that if you put Indian Blue peacocks with white peacocks then add Indian blue peahens to the group non of the off spring will be white or carry the white gene. So the colour in the eyes really does mean a lot the the peahens.

I now have some cameo peacocks and we will be putting them with white cocks and indian blue cocks to see which the hens proper. If any Universities are interested in funding or taking on this study them do get in touch with us.

<h2><a style=”font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.5em;” href=””><img alt=”Evolution poster” src=”” width=”500″ height=”375″ /></a></h2>