Few images are as striking as a peacock unfurling its tail, showing off its technicolor plumage. In a stunning viral video, one man discovers that a peacock with only white feathers can put on an equally dazzling display (video below).
One day, a man stepped out onto his front porch only to be confronted by a white peacock trotting on the pavement. Unable to resist capturing the moment for the internet's treasure trove of animal encounters, he took out his camera to film the rare fowl, according to Shareably.
Right on cue, the peacock swiveled around, turning its back to the cameraman and broadening its tail into a fan of stunning white. With each feather shaking like sea oats caught in the ocean breeze, the peacock's tail looks like a gleaming scallop shell as it struts its stuff.
Like any savvy model, the peacock rotates to give a 360-degree view of its pearly bouquet of white feathers. It is a rare sight in nature, let alone in front of someone's house: white peacock's draw their distinct plumage from leucism, a condition that drains the pigment from an animal's feathers, not the be confused with albinism.
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The common perception about why peacocks evolved to have such flamboyant plumage is that their colorful array of feathers helps to attract a mate. This has been disputed by Jessica Yorzinski of Texas A&M University, an esteemed expert on the birds.
On March 20, Yorzinski disclosed that after conducting an experiment with a group of peacocks and peahens and studying their eyelines as they woo each other, she discovered that the females were not even paying attention to the males' unfurled tails.
"They're not really even looking at it," Yorzinski told the Austin American-Statesman. "It was a little bit puzzling."
Yorzinski postulated that peacocks evolved to have such towering plumage in order to be found by potential mates amid the dense foliage of their native India. While their feathers announce their presence, they do not necessarily seal the deal for the male birds.
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Meanwhile, biologist Roslyn Dakin at the University of British Columbia has observed that the way a peacock rattles its tail could be what draws the attention of a peahen.
"After spending hundreds of hours watching these guys, you can't help but wonder how the rapid motions influence the iridescent color dynamics," Dakin told Gizmodo. "Also, what's it like to be a peahen? When she's up close, the giant train virtually fills her field of view. So when it jiggles, it's like her whole world is moving... How does that affect her perception of the display?"
Dakin postulates that peacocks that give off stronger vibrations from their swiveling tails could be more likely to win the favor of a peahen. The stronger the rattle, the more virile the male.