The History of Silver Pied Peacocks and Peahens
Silver Pied Peafowl originated relatively recently in around 1992 and are a pattern mutation rather than a colour mutation. The colour on the Silver Pied peafowl is that of the Indian Blue Peafowl. The Silver Pied peafowl is a combination of the Pied and the White-Eyed gene working together with the White gene.
Three original Silver Pied pattern mutation birds showed up in three separate flocks across the United States at around the same time. All three of these original birds were traced back several generations to one bloodline, the White-Eyed peafowl. To clarify, the White-Eyed peacock is a bird with white rather than coloured eye spots in his train.
The White-Eyed Peafowl was bred with the Indian Blue Pied Peafowl, and produced the Indian Blue Pied White-Eyed bird. When breeding the Indian Blue Pied White-Eyed peafowl to itself for some years this variety compounded itself with the white gene and created the new pattern mutation, Silver Pied. Essentially the Silver Pied is a White bird with 10 to 20% colour in it. In comparison, an Indian Blue Pied White-Eyed bird is a coloured bird with 30 to 40% white in it.
The link that helped create the Silver Pied Peafowl was the White-Eyed variety; without it there would be no Silver Pied Peafowl today. Genotypically, the Silver Pied males have White-Eyed feathers in their train. Phenotypically, the Silver Pied males can have pure White feathers in the train. This is because the White gene has masked the White-Eyed feather in the bird. Genotype is the genetic make-up of the feather. Phenotype, is the visual make-up of the feather.
Of the three original birds, all males, some carried the Black Shoulder gene also. 2 to 3 years later the Silver Pied pattern appeared in the Black Shouldered Peafowl.
Colours of Silver Pied peafowl
Today, after the extensive work of several breeders over the last 20 years, the Silver Pied Peafowl varieties are available in all the major and minor colour varieties.
Silver Pied Peacock and Peahen Colouration
Generally speaking the birds are 80% to 90% white and the remainder coloured. The mantel or top of the shoulders appear silver as the peacocks mature. The peahens show the same pattern as the males, but have silver and white to their bodies.
When the chicks hatch they appear white with usually a dot or two of colour on the back of the head and neck area, and sometimes a small patch of colour on the back or wings. There are variances in pattern on the chicks as well.
As in breeding any pied pattern of peafowl, the resulting ratio is 1-2-1. So when breeding Silver Pied to Silver Pied you get an average of 25% white, 50% Silver Pied, and 25% Dark Pied “White-Eyed” chicks.
I’d like to give special thanks to our peafowl friends across the pond – to Brad, Patsy, Ashley, Brandon, Dallas, and Caitlin Legg at Leggs Peafowl Farm. Their help has contributed greatly to the information on this page.