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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. Noordhoek Hegt   11 December 1868

Koninklijk Zoologisch Genootschap: | Natura Artis Magistra, | Amsterdam.

11th Dec: 1868

Chs Darwin, Esq: | Down. | Bromley Kent S.E.


In answer to your kind letter of 28th Novbr. I have the honour to inform you; that we bred this year two Pavo spicifer, which I suppose are male & female.—1 Neither one of them has got any Sign of spur as yet. They are quite healthy and of the same size as a young Pavo cristatus, and two Pavo cristatus var: alba, all from the same Nest.2 The eggs were hatched by a Turkey.— They are now six months old. If in Spring there should be a difference in the Size of the spurs between the two species, I will let you know.—

With highest esteem I have the honour to be: | Your’s obediently | J. Noordhoek Hegt | Dir adj.

CD annotations

End of letter: ‘Bartlett [‘believes’ del] says, Pea-fowl get their top-knot as soon as they get their first feathers.—’3 ink


See letter to Natura Artis Magistra, 28 November 1868. Pavo spicifer is now considered to be a subspecies of P. muticus (the green peafowl).
Pavo cristatus is the common Indian peafowl, which also has a white form. For more on CD’s interest in spurs on fowl, see the letter to W. D. Fox, 25 February [1868].
Abraham Dee Bartlett had provided CD with information on many bird species kept at the Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park, London. An undated note in DAR 84.2: 184 reads, ‘Pavo muticus or spiciferus (p. 7) top knot in both sexes equal? How in young?’


On spurs in peacocks. [See Descent 1: 290 n.]

Letter details

Letter no.
J. Noordhoek Hegt
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
K. Zool. Genoot., Amsterdam
Source of text
DAR 86: A39
Physical description
ALs 2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6499,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16