06 March 2010

White (we are NOT albino) Peacocks

By legend, white peacocks are said to bring good luck and eternal happiness. Several Asian countries have the peacock as their national bird (India for one). The name white peacock is also associated with butterflies. Peacocks get their color from light reflection. Their feathers have "barbs" which in turn have "rods". Light reflection produces green, yellow, brown and blue. White peacocks have a slightly different arrangement of the rods and therefore don't get the usual colors and are not albinos as many people think they are.

Peacocks are native to Southern Asia and Malaysia and were kept for centuries in China. The Phoenicians brought the peacock to Egypt more than three thousand years ago. It is reputed that King Solomon kept several peacock species. They were extensively raised by the Romans for the table. When turkeys were imported from Mexico, the peacock was no longer used as a table bird.

Peacocks are believed to be polygamous. The male peacock flares out its feathers when it is trying to attract the female's attention. They are omnivorous and eat plant parts, flower petals, seed heads, insects and small reptiles and amphibians. People all over the world keep and breed peacocks for personal or business reasons. They can also be seen in parks and gardens. They are usually very sociable and easy to keep.