Crest Feather Colors?

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by Garden Peas, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A few days ago, @KsKingBee posted this photo of one of his hen chicks, with a question about how often white feathers appeared in crests:

    [​IMG]

    That got me wondering about white crest feathers (and perhaps crest feathers in general)? And what the presence of white (or other) colored crest feathers means...

    More specifically, do white crest feathers turn up in birds that are genetically split to white, split to pied, and/or split to white-eyed, as well as to birds expressing those traits in the phenotype? And do all three of those genes do that? Or only white and pied, but not white-eyed? What else, besides white coloration, results in white colored crest feathers? And how commonly do we see a mix of colors in the crest feathers?

    And what is the effect of the black shoulder gene, either expressed or split, on the crest feathers of a hen? How light are her crest feathers? Will an IB BS hen without a white or pied gene have light colored crest feathers? Or blue as an IB? Or a mix of colors?

    My IB BS peahen has a mix of colors in her crest feathers, including one or two white ones, a few IB blue ones, and what look like mostly tan ones. (Although I suppose that could be dirt-coloring on white feathers [​IMG]) See below (in person, they really look like they match the color of her neck feathers, I don't think it's dirt) I'm sure this particular hen is split to something white or pied based on her other markings:

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    I went through the wonderful photos that @Blue Creek Farm posted of his trip to Taylor Hill Game Farm looking for crest feathers...

    Here's two photos (below) from Blue Creek Farm of a lovely purple BS SP hen with a crest feather mix of white feathers and feathers that match her neck feathers (the colored ones in her neck and above her beak):

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    These photos from Blue Creek of the peach BS hen below show a crest with lightly tinted crest feathers that appear to match the colors on her neck. I can't tell for sure what color the rear-most few feathers are, but in the second photo, they look to me as though they are very lightly tinted, like the feathers in her neck around the darker patch. I don't think any of her crest feathers are white, but it's hard to tell from a photo -- although these photos are certainly beyond anything I'm able to take! (Beautiful, beautiful pics [​IMG]) I had to enlarge the photos to see details...

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    These midnight silver pied birds are interesting... the male appears to not have any white feathers in his crest. His crest feathers match the color of the back of his neck. The hen has lots of light colored feathers that I think may be white, and it sort of looks like a mix of colors, maybe? The rearmost crest feathers on the hen look as though they may be darker? (photos from Blue Creek):

    [​IMG]

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    These photos of an IB BS WE (below, upper photo) and a bronze WE (below, lower photo) again show no sign of any light or white colored photos in the crest feathers, and the crest feathers appear to match the color of the back of the bird's neck. Interestingly, the bronze WE has a large white throat patch... and from the mating photo, lots of white primaries! (photos from Blue Creek Farm):

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    The photos of the bronze WE peahen below (and above, below [​IMG]) don't show any light colored crest feathers, although she has also has a white throat patch and what look like may be some white primaries (photos from Blue Creek):

    [​IMG]

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    These photos of an IB WE below also don't show any white crest feathers, even though the bird has a small throat patch and some white primaries. I think this bird must be young, as I don't see a lot of WE visible yet. (Photos from Blue Creek):

    [​IMG]

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    So far, I don't think I found photos of MALE birds with "mixed" crests. All the crests matched the colors of the back of the male's necks. I don't know if a male pied bird with white on the back of its neck would or could have white crest feathers. But the WE birds, even with the throat patches and white primaries, don't seem to have any white crest feathers in the photos I found so far. Even the male SP birds, which we know carry a pied gene, had solid color crests matching the backs of their necks.

    The hens are a little different... the BS HENS seemed to have a mix of colors in their crest feathers, again matching the colors present in their neck feathers. The hens that carry a pied gene also include white in the crest feather mix, the others don't. Like the male birds, the WE hens without the pied gene don't seem to have white in the crest feathers, even though they have white throat patches and white primaries.

    This is obviously too small a sample size to be able to state a universal rule, but I'm truly curious about this.

    I am beginning to wonder if it is only the pied gene that results in a mix of white crest feathers into a crest that is otherwise reflective of the neck colors of the bird? And whether only hens get the mixed crests? And if it is specific to BS hens to have mixed colors?

    I'm thinking that obviously a white bird will have a white crest, but it's not clear to me that a bird that is split white (as opposed to split pied) will have white crest feathers mixed in.

    But maybe I have looked at too many photos and am all mixed up? [​IMG]

    Many thanks to @Blue Creek Farm and Taylor Hill Ranch for the wonderful, wonderful photos.
     
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  2. BYC-user-174785

    BYC-user-174785 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am glad that the pictures I took were helpful. I do have some head shots of my proressive pied peacock who actually gets white crest feathers in place of bronze ones. I think with many of the examples you used, it depends on the pattern what the crest will look like, and if it deals with pied or silver pied peafowl, what color their head is. In KsKingBee's place I am not sure what that might mean. I have never had a split bird show signs of it being split in its crest feathers. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    ***A slight correction. That IB WE peacock is the oldest peacock at Taylor Hill Game Farm. I believe he is 13 years old, and is not used for breeding purposes. He does have a very nice train with white eyes, it is just my only picture trying to capture his white eyes came out blurry. And the bronze WE hens were a bit of a mix up. The one being bred by the Br WE is different from the one with a large white throat patch in the bronze spalding peacock's pen.
     
  3. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks very much -- it's tough, just seeing the photos, to figure out who goes with what [​IMG]

    You raise a really interesting point... if progressive pied is yet a fourth kind of "white" gene (and who knows if it is an allele for what?), then it might express differently than the other "white" genes that have been identified so far.

    Anyway, I'm just really curious about this whole thing... [​IMG]
     
  4. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    India Blue Pied peacock Dragon (RIP) - He had a few white crest feathers.
    [​IMG]

    It also depends on what time of the year it is. If the peacock already has few white crest feathers, they may shed them and then it will appear that they have only blue crest feathers.
    My peacock Peep is split to white or pied (I won't know for sure until I breed him to a white peahen) and this year he grew a white 'tick' feather. That is what I call the little round feathers on top of their head. Peep doesn't have white in his crest but I thought it was interesting for him to grow just one random white feather on his head.

    Regular Peahens have brownish crest feathers with a bit of green on the ends. Blackshoulder peahens tend to have crème colored crest feathers sometimes with some green on the tips.

    Green peacocks have crest feathers that are pointed on the ends, while the green peahen has a rounded end to her crest feathers. Also the green peacock's crest feathers seem to be more blue, while the green peahen's crest is more green.
     
  5. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @MinxFox thank you so much for posting the photo of Dragon -- he was such a beautiful, wonderful bird [​IMG][​IMG] I used to love all the photos of him that you put up.

    So from the photo, Dragon had white around to the back of his neck, and on the top of his head, and had some white crest feathers.

    I've been cruising photos, looking for white in crest feathers and mixed crest feathers, where the crest feathers are more than one color.

    So far, the only crests that I've found that have white mixed in (as opposed to all white crests, or all colored crests), are birds that are pied or split pied. So maybe white in the crest feathers is different from the white throat patch and white primaries? Those (the throat patch and white primaries) seem to turn up in birds that have genes for any of the three kinds of white: white (only visible in split to white, because the white birds x2 white genes suppress all color), pied and split to pied, and white eyed (and maybe split to white eyed?).

    Does anyone have photos of birds with a crest with white feathers mixed with colored feathers that isn't carrying a pied gene? Like a bird that is known split to white, rather than split to pied?
     
  6. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    I have tons of split to whites, but none of them have white crest feathers. Not saying that it means anything, just saying that mine don't have them. [​IMG]

    -Kathy
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  7. KsKingBee

    KsKingBee Overrun With Chickens

    Some background for someone that comes across this discussion; the peachick in the first photo looks IB with no white feathering in either the wings or throat. The father is IBBS split to Cameo, the mother is either IB or Cameo. I do not believe that I had any hens in that pen that show being split.
     
  8. DylansMom

    DylansMom RIP 1969-2017

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    I too have no birds with white crest feathers or mixed crests that are not [​IMG]

    Pied. On this one the white appears to come from the white area of the scalp and the blue from the blue. Gotta trim his beak soon too, I swear this is the most lazy bird I've ever had. He is the one who's train has to be brushed every spring to break up the keratin sheath, because he won't do it himself. Every train feather looks like it has a straw wrapper on it.
     
  9. Garden Peas

    Garden Peas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @KsKingBee do you think it's possible that either of the parents of the chick might have been carrying a single pied gene that wasn't being expressed? Do you have information on the grandparents? Thanks for adding the background info [​IMG]
     
  10. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    One of my hens has a beak like that, I call her Hook, lol. -Kathy
     

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