If you live in Florida, you've almost certainly seen a peacock at some point. While it’s a magnificent sight for some, for some residents wild peacocks can be quite a nuisance.
So, are peacocks protected in Florida? What rights or solutions do the residents have?
First of all, the best advice is to always contact your local office or government department tasked with dealing with pest control problems.
Some counties, like Miami-Dade for example, have a strict ordinance in place prohibiting anyone from harming peacocks.
Residents are entitled to remove peafowl from their properties without harming them, however.
It's certainly best if you check what measures you are or are not allowed to take to remove peafowl from your property as this can change at any time.
The last thing you want is to break the law and face a fine or worse punishment.
Are There Wild Peacocks in Florida?
There are three main types of peafowl; the most common type is the blue peacock also known as the Indian Blue peafowl and this species is native to India and Sri Lanka.
The green peacock is native to Java and Myanmar. While the rarest of the three, the Congo peacock inhabits African rainforests.
As you can tell, peacocks thrive in warm, dry climates. They've also been able to get loose and breed in various locations all over the world, and Florida is one such location.
The Indian blue peacock can be found, in particular, all over Florida's west coast and along the Gulf of Mexico.
It's not known how many peacocks there are in the wild in Florida, but the numbers are certainly in the hundreds if not thousands.
Related - Are peacocks protected in California?
Problems Wild Peafowl Can Cause
As mentioned above, peafowl come as a welcome sight to tourists and exotic bird lovers. But they can be quite a nuisance to residents and business owners.
The bad news is, Peacocks are large birds and they make a lot of noise (they making loud honking noises). So, for many residents and business owners, they are nothing more than a noise-polluting annoyance.
They are capable of flying short distances and getting on top of tall buildings. For buildings with metal roofs, peafowl’s sharp claws cause a racket when they're walking around.
On the ground, peafowl can do quite a lot of damage to plants while foraging for food. They’ve also been known to knock out patio screen doors and cause damage to cars.
So, it’ll come as no surprise that the local offices in various counties receive a lot of complaints about wild peacocks every year.
Can You Have Peacocks in Florida?
You can keep peacocks and raise them as backyard pets in Florida if you want to do so. The only real regulation I could find is that they have to be caged, as obviously you don't want them joining the feral populations.
Florida is actually one of the States that allows residents to keep a wide range of exotic animals legally, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Again, I’d double-check what the laws and regulations are in your city as these can vary across the state of Florida.
But I know of people who keep peacocks in large pens on their grounds without any problems.
Is It Legal to Kill a Peacock in Florida?
Honestly, I researched this as hard as I could and there is some ambiguity around the answer.
Some offices for counties clearly state that you cannot legally kill peacocks, while others don’t seem keen to commit to an answer.
An interesting distinction is that peafowl are not considered wildlife. State law classifies peafowl as domestic livestock, this means that there are feral peafowl on the loose, not ‘wild’ peafowl.
This means there are fewer laws regarding killing them if they're being a nuisance to you, but you should still contact your local office before taking matters into your own hands.
Related - What do baby peachicks eat?
Can You Hunt Peacocks in Florida?
You're not permitted to hunt or shoot peacocks in Florida, nor are there any hunting seasons being arranged for them as far as I’m able to discover.
This is a testament to how much the community (as a whole) loves these birds and has become attached to them.
Because technically speaking, peafowl are game birds so it wouldn’t come as a complete surprise if there were hunts for these birds.
Can You Eat Peacock?
You can eat peacock if you want to, yes. I have seen it on the menu on rare occasions in the US, and apparently, they have a gamier taste than chicken.
We should count ourselves lucky, because in some countries like India, for example, it’s illegal to eat peafowl.
The Indian blue peacock is the national bird of India, so that really doesn't come as much of a surprise.
Still, it's rare to find peacocks on the menu in the US due to the fact that there isn't a lot of meat on the bird, it's a preferred taste, and for these reasons it’s expensive.
Something peafowl-related that is more commonly eaten is their eggs. Peahen eggs are about three times the size of a chicken’s egg but taste the same.
If you have your own peahens or have an egg supplier, count yourself lucky. It’s very expensive to buy peahen eggs from exotic markets - typically in the $20-40 range!
I did lots of research while putting together this article, I have to admit I do feel like there are still some questions around whether or not peacocks are protected in Florida.
It does seem that for the most part, they are. I couldn’t find any counties willing to say that residents are allowed to do anything other than removing them from their private property without harming them.
So, no matter how annoying those feral peacocks are - either gently remove them from your property or call your local office for advice.
Image credits - Photo by Just Nobody on Unsplash