For locals in Florida, the iridescent tails of wild peacocks, their colorful plumage, and high-pitched screech are a common sight. While some people find these fascinating and enjoy having the birds around, others loathe them due to their large numbers and invasive nature. You may be wondering – are peacocks native to Florida?
Contrary to popular belief, peacocks are not native to Florida. Instead, their origin can be traced to some parts of Asia and Africa. These include Sri Lanka, India, Congo, Myanmar (Burma), etc.
Peacocks have become an intriguing figure in Florida and have been stocked in the sunshine state for many decades. In this write-up, we will look at the nativity of peacocks, their presence in Florida, and many other interesting facts.
What Are Peacocks?
While “peacock” is often used to describe these pheasants with bright colors and patterns, the correct term is “peafowl”. To be clearer, it’s actually the males that are called peacocks while the females are called peahens. Then the young ones are referred to as peachicks. In other words, peafowls is the right word to use when describing both sexes or different species of the bird. However, using peacocks is still acceptable, especially when referring to both sexes.
Peacocks or peafowl are birds of the pheasant family, Phasianidae, of the order Galliformes. They are usually characterized by long, slender legs, and a fan-shaped plume of feathers. By nature, they are highly territorial and live most of their lives in the same place – a trait that makes it possible to domesticate them.
In terms of size, peafowls are quite large; the average body size of an adult can extend to 8 feet, with the train making up 4 to 5 feet in males. Females have shorter trains.
Regardless of the species, nearly all peacocks have sightly colorful plumage and tails.
One of the main functions of the train in males is to attract the female species. One male can mate with different females in its territory or lek. Each female can lay up to 7, which will often hatch in 4 weeks. From the time of their hatching till 7 to 9 years when they mature, the young peafowls are cared for by their mothers. The males play no role in their upbringing.
What Kind of Peacocks Are In Florida?
The main kind of peacock commonly found in Florida is the Indian peafowl. You can easily identify it by its blue and green plumage or feathers. Before now, it used to be called the common peafowl but the name was later changed to acknowledge its home range which is mainly India but also includes Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It’s no wonder it’s celebrated in India as the national bird.
Besides the Indian peafowl, other peafowl species that can be found in Florida are Congo peafowl (African) and Green peafowl (Indonesia). Both species are said to be endangered according to reports.
Where Do Peacocks Come From?
Peacocks originate from South Asia. Countries like India and Sri Lanka are home to feral populations of the Indian peacock or peafowl.
Specifically, the India peacock or peafowl, which is also known as the blue peacock, originates in India.
There are also many wild peafowls in Africa. A good example is the Congo peafowl or African peafowl, which has its origins in the Congo Basin. The bird has been listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as endangered species.
Having said that, peacocks are found in many forest areas and zoos all around the world. They are also people who keep them as pets or livestock.
Are Peacocks Invasive In Florida?
Yes, peacocks are generally invasive and run wild in many parts of Florida and other urban and suburban areas.
In these places, the peacocks are safe from common predators like bobcats and coyotes but their activities can be worrisome. In areas where there are lots of grasses and other edible food, the birds will often help themselves. So, it’s not uncommon for them to invade yards or gardens and do damage to crops while foraging for food.
Peacocks also make a lot of noise; I mean loud-honking noise. This is more common during the breeding season. You may also find them scratching cars, pecking windows, and ripping patio screen doors and pool screens.
It’s not uncommon to see their droppings on driveways and sideways.
All these and more make peacocks a nuisance. And it’s no wonder the local offices in some counties get so many complaints about them annually.
Are Peacocks Protected In Florida?
Yes, they are. Although there are no federal laws prohibiting people from killing peacocks, there are state animal cruelty laws protecting them in Florida. This can be found under the Florida Statute.
In other words, it is illegal to kill any peafowl on your property no matter how invasive or annoying they get. This also applies to the eggs and nest. According to state law, if you shoot a peacock, you are liable to pay a fine (up to $5000) or spend a year behind bars.
Likewise, if you physically harm or inflict pain on a peacock, you will be required to pay up to $10000 as a fine or spend up to 10 years in prison.
Does this mean you can’t do anything about the birds on your property? Obviously, not. In counties like Miami-Dade, you are allowed to “evict” them from your property as long as there’s no physical harm done. You can also get in touch with your local office or pest control to know what correct channel or solution applies to your area.
Why Are Peacocks In South Florida?
Peacocks generally prefer areas that are dense with foliage, and where there’s a lot to eat. You can find many of such areas in South Florida, or Florida generally, which is why peacocks are common in the sunshine state. Many residents plant fruit trees they don’t harvest or eat from and there are no predators to hide from.
In other words, South Florida feels pretty much like home to the colorful birds. Having said that, many locals are not particularly comfortable cohabiting with them as they only consider them as a noisy health hazard.
Where To See Peacocks In Florida?
There are many districts in Florida where you can find peacocks. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Brevard county
- Coconut Grove
- Disston Heights
- Delray Beach
- Palm Beach
- Brevard County (Cocoa beach, Palm Bay)
- Charlotte County (Harbor Heights)
- Hillsborough County
- Boynton Beach
- And several other places.
In most of these places, some of the residents want the peacocks around, while some don’t. The total population of the birds is yet to be established.
Are Peacocks Wild In Florida?
Although there are thousands of wild peacocks dwelling in Florida, they are not considered “wild” by state law. Instead, they are regarded as domestic livestock just like chickens. Having said that, we have to remember that they are wild birds by nature and must treat them accordingly!
Is it legal to eat peacock in Florida?
Yes, you can eat peacocks in Florida as long as you don’t hunt or kill them. If you’re lucky to find it on a menu anywhere in the states, you can request it.
Why Are Peacocks Protected In Florida?
So, why are peacocks protected in Florida despite dozens of calls from residents to get rid of them? There are two possible reasons. Firstly, they symbolize the laid-back lifestyle of Florida. Secondly, they are a good tourist attraction.
Who brought peacocks to Florida?
Since peacocks are not native to Florida, it’s only common to think they were imported. It is believed that they were brought in by developers in the 1950s. In fact, the first peafowl was first seen in Orange County during this period.
Can you kill peacocks in Florida?
No, you can’t! Locals are prohibited from hunting or inflicting pain on the birds in any way. Doing this can attract a fine or a jail term. If you have a peacock problem, contact your local office.
Conclusion: Are Peacocks Native to Florida?
To conclude, peacocks are not native to Florida. However, they can be seen across numerous counties across the state. You may have encountered them in front of your yard or while driving on the road.
These peacocks serve as tourist attractions and are an exciting feature in some neighborhoods. At the same time, they can be annoying and might cause problems for many residents.
In many places being overrun by peacocks, the law doesn’t permit locals to take matters into their own hands. So even if you have one causing damage to your property, you’re not allowed to harm it. You can either remove them gently or contact your local office for advice.