By 1812Blockhouse

Kingwood Center Gardens recently became the home to two extraordinary white peacocks, according to a post on its Instagram page. Joining the other roaming peacocks which are a regular feature at Kingwood, these captivating birds were a generous gift from Cathy Walters, the visionary behind Black Swamp Peafowl. The donation serves as a touching memorial to her late mother, Mrs. Alice Rochte, and adds a new dimension to the garden’s allure.

A Period of Adjustment

The question on the minds of many Kingwood Center Gardens visitors is when these white peacocks will be free to roam the grounds. Currently, the birds are undergoing a transitional phase, as they are accustomed to a kenneled lifestyle. They must first become familiar with their new surroundings and the other peacocks that already call the gardens home. Learn more about the gardens and their diverse inhabitants here.

The Allure of White Peacocks: A Genetic Marvel

The older of the two white peacocks, a 10-year-old ‘Pied’ Indian Blue Peacock, displays partial coloration and can be seen proudly fanning his train. The younger one, a 5-year-old, is an all-white spectacle. The occurrence of white peacocks is a rare genetic phenomenon, often attributed to a condition known as leucism. This condition prevents melanin from being deposited in the feathers, resulting in their striking white appearance. Unlike albinism, which is characterized by red eyes and extremely pale skin, leucism leaves the eyes and skin unaffected.

The Rarity Factor: A Glimpse into the Science of Leucism

Leucism is a recessive genetic trait, hidden beneath the dominant gene responsible for traditional coloration and patterning. For a peafowl to be born with this condition, both parents must carry the recessive gene. The likelihood of a leucistic offspring is one in four if both parents have standard coloration. If both are leucistic, the trait is guaranteed to be passed down. Astonishingly, only 99 instances of fowl with this condition have ever been recorded, making these white peacocks at Kingwood Center Gardens even more exceptional.

The addition of these white peacocks to Kingwood Center Gardens is not merely an aesthetic triumph; it’s also a subject of scientific intrigue. Their presence offers both visual delight and a unique educational opportunity. For further reading on the genetics of avian species, click here.

Image by Ron Porter from Pixabay

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