Are There Wild Peacocks in the US?


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Peacocks are native to India, but some species also lived in Africa and even migrated as far as Australia.

These colorful birds aren’t native to the US but are increasingly found in several states due to multiple reasons.

The peacock or peafowl is a fascinating bird that has always been praised for its natural beauty by ancient and modern cultures.

It also has a spiritual significance in several religious practices.

Recently, more Americans are encountering wild peacocks around their homes and urban areas, although these birds aren’t native to the US.

Keep on reading to learn more about feral peacocks in the US, why they’re there, and where to find them.

Are There Wild Peacocks in the US?

Today, it’s not so uncommon to find a feral peacock crossing the street or harassing your backyard chickens for food. Although this bird is far away from its Asian and African homelands, it’s managed to establish itself in several states of the US.

As a matter of fact, the increasing population of peacocks has caused some nuisance to Americans over the past years, since some were astonished to see the birds, while others were worried about their existence and their effect on the environment that they don’t belong to.

Wild peacocks in United states
Wild peacock

The story always starts with a few birds that escape captivity:

  1. Peacocks have been brought to the US for display, either by public or private zoos or by rich people who wanted to show them off.
  1. Unfortunately, negligence happens, and the birds can escape or be deliberately let go.

This is how peacocks became to find themselves homeless, trying to survive in the urban districts of American cities and towns.

Today, the increasing problem of peacocks across several American states is disturbing some Americans who know nothing about the beautiful birds or how to deal with them.

The birds are protected by the government but can attack pets or steal food, which sometimes results in negative responses from people who don’t know how to deal with wild or feral peacocks.

A not so close relative to the peacock is the turkey, which is a native game bird that can be found all across the US.

As a matter of fact, the domesticated turkey became known to Europeans when the Spanish traders brought the bird to Asia and Europe, where it soon became a popular domesticated bird that was praised for its meat.

Where Are Peacocks Found in the US?

All peacocks are related to the European pheasant, but these birds originate in three different parts of the world:

  1. The blue peacock is native to India and Sri Lanka.
  1. The green peacock is native to Southeast Asia, including Burma and Java.
  1. The black peacock, also known as the Congo peacock, is native to African rainforests.

Due to their exquisite colors, people bred the birds to make their colors more intense, but this also led to the existence of leucistic peacocks who lack color in all their feathers.

Asian royalty has tamed and raised peacocks in their palaces, a habit that later traveled to other parts of the world until it reached Ancient Athens and Ancient Rome.

Today, peacocks can be found in several states, mainly in:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida

They’re also found in fewer numbers in Colorado, Louisiana, Iowa, Arizona, Wyoming, and Michigan.

The peacocks you can see on the streets today are offspring of the birds that some wealthy people kept in the past, and then they were let go, or they managed to escape captivity.

Peacocks in California

Elias “Lucky” Baldwin is the first person who brought peacocks to California.

Feeding Peacock in the rain
Feeding Peacock

The man had several successful business ventures, including founding the City of Arcadia, and he was also interested in exotic animals and birds.

When he passed away, Los Angeles County bought some of his land to build the LA Arboretum. He owned some peacocks, and over the years, the birds mated, recently reaching a population of 150.

Unfortunately, some of these birds managed to escape, spreading out to be found today on the streets of Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monrovia, and Altadena.

Peacocks in Florida

There are two opinions why feral peacocks are now causing a problem in Florida:

  1. Some people suggest that they were deliberately introduced into some neighborhoods during the 50s and 60s of the twentieth century to make them seem more exotic.
  1. Others believe that these birds escaped zoos and are now roaming the streets for food.

Many residents complain about the problems caused by peacocks as they attack pets, walk on rooftops, and squeal loudly in the middle of the night.

Peacocks’ feathers clog air conditioning units, and they scratch cars. Moreover, they can cause car accidents when they’re walking around or flying low.

Although there are multiple advocates for peacocks in Florida, some people in Long Beach Village in Longboat Key managed to temporarily control the size of the population by giving the birds contraceptive pills or moving them to safer locations.

Nevertheless: These solutions work only temporarily because the number of birds quickly multiplies again.

Peacocks in Texas

Peacocks are edible and can even be used for watching a property.

Peacocks city in the United States
Peacock walking around

However, the main reason why these birds found a new home in Texas is that they’re beautiful.

As a popular wedding destination, people began to use peacocks to be part of wedding celebrations, thanks to the exotic color of the birds and their eye-catching feathers.

Unfortunately, these birds don’t stick to their designated spots in ranches and can easily fly away, landing in urban areas and causing problems to inhabitants.

About 80 years ago, some guests brought a pair of a peacock and a peahen to a Texan couple as a Christmas present. Within years, the numbers of birds multiplied and began to disturb people in nearby areas.

Less-known Facts: The birds are incredibly loud and produce large amounts of feces because they usually travel in groups, annoying the inhabitant of Houston and Austin.

Peacocks and Their Significance

Peacocks have fascinated ancient cultures since the time of Ancient Egyptians as they were known to pharaohs.

During his Asian quest, Alexander the Great brought home these exotic birds and introduced them to Ancient Greece, until they found their way to Ancient Rome, where they were kept in the temple of Goddess Juno and later bred by the rich people in Rome who kept the birds to show them off.

But before that, peacocks were known to ancient cultures since the time of Adam and Eve.

According to the biblical story, Adam and Eve offered the forbidden fruit to all the animals and birds, but the peacock refused to eat it.

Walking Peacocks
The significance of Peacocks

This is why God rewarded the bird for its abstinence by granting it an imperishable flesh that doesn’t decay after death.

For this reason, peacocks have always symbolized immortality in ancient cultures, in addition to being associated with royalty.

Inspiration: Their feathers were always portrayed in drawings, frescos, and artwork or even woven into clothing and accessories.

Wrap Up

Peacocks aren’t native to the US, but there’s an increasing number of wild or feral peacocks that can be found in several American states.

Most of these peacocks were bred by rich people to impress others but later spread to nearby areas where they currently cause a nuisance to the inhabitants.

Others were kept in zoos or on private properties but eventually managed to escape.

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