Here’s a smart fellow we met in Drummond Castle gardens last weekend. Interestingly enough, there are no peacock poems in my lovely book The Poetry of Birds whilst the phoenix, a bird which doesn’t even technically exist, gets five. You will recall that the divine colours of its plumage are actually illusory, yes, just like the kingfisher, it relies heavily on the phenomenon of iridescence and its success therein determines its chances of getting lucky with the peahens.
So yes, optical interference Bragg reflections based on regular, periodic nanostructures of the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers produce the peacock’s colours. Slight changes to the spacing of these barbules result in different colours. * More equally fascinating detail on their mate selection strategy may be found on Wiki. It’s not just about strolling around and being stunning, you know.