Can You Eat Peacock?
Peacock meat is safe to eat, but not all peacock meat is legal. While no-one is going to take issue with you eating Indian peacock meat, eating other species of peacock can get you in trouble with the law.
So, why is it that you can eat one species of peacock but not the other? And how does peacock even taste like? – are probably some of the questions you’re rightfully asking yourself now.
Let’s dive into these and see what your options are if you’re considering tasting peacock meat.
Is It Legal to Eat Peacocks?
Some peacocks are legal to eat, others are not. Of the three species of peacocks, only one is legal to eat – the Indian Blue Peafowl. I mention peafowl and not peacock, because both the meat of the male and female are safe to eat.
The other two species of peafowl – the Congo peafowl and the Green peafowl – are considered threatened species, and therefore, it’s not legal to hunt them for their meat.
Are Peacocks Safe to Eat?
All peacocks, regardless of their species, are safe to eat.
Today, the consumption of peacock meat is not as widespread because these birds have gained a different status – they’re overwhelmingly treated as ornamental birds or pet birds instead of poultry.
In some countries, peacocks are still raised as poultry and bred for their meat and eggs, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore in most other countries.
If you’re in the United States or Canada, finding a restaurant that serves peacock meat can be a tall order. And if you’d like to taste peacock meat, you might need to cook it yourself.
If you do find a restaurant that does serve peacock meat, chances are that it’s a high-end restaurant where peacock meat is treated as a delicacy.
Simply put, it can be costly to eat peacock meat. And I’ll get into more details about why peacock meat costs so much as opposed to chicken meat, for example.
But first, let’s see if peacock meat even tastes good.
What does Peacock Taste Like?
Those that have tried peacock meat describe it as tasting a lot like chicken meat but with a more ‘gamey’ flavor. And if you’ve never eaten game birds before that might not tell you much about the taste of peacock meat.
Simply put, the gamey flavor means that unlike chicken meat that’s rather bland and its taste is driven a lot by the condiments you use on it, peacock meat has an aroma that you can taste despite these condiments.
Another way to describe the taste of peacock meat is that it’s ‘earthy’. And that’s because peacocks eat a lot of natural foods while foraging, and those influence the taste of the meat.
Eating peacock meat is an acquired taste, and if you’re unfamiliar with the taste of game birds, you might not enjoy it at first.
Can You Eat Peacock Eggs?
The eggs of peacocks are also edible. You can safely eat peacock eggs and prepare them the same way you’d prepare chicken eggs.
The taste is similar to that of chicken eggs, but again, there’s a lingering gamey or earthy taste that you might not find palatable at first.
Peacock eggs are about twice as large as chicken eggs. But they’re way more expensive. The high cost is driven by the scarcity of peacock eggs.
A peahen – female peafowl – lays only about 20 eggs a year, so it’s understandable that peafowl eggs are not as affordable as chicken eggs.
How Much Does Peacock Meat Cost?
I mentioned that peacock eggs are expensive and that so is the meat. But just how much does peacock meat cost?
Looking at the prices listed on the website of an exotic meat market, the cost for 1.5-2 lbs. of boneless peacock breasts is around $199.99. The same market sets the price of a single peafowl egg at $69.99.
With these prices, it’s understandable that restaurants don’t routinely have peacock meat on their menus, and that peacock meat is treated as a delicacy.
It’s also understandable that there isn’t a high demand for this meat as peacock isn’t a type of poultry that’s historically raised for its meat. Even when peacock was more widespread (like in the Regency era, for example), it was still viewed as a delicacy.
Apart from exotic meat markets, you may also be able to source peacock eggs and meat directly from breeders or peacock farms.
Do Groceries Sell Peacock Meat?
Given the high price of peacock meat and the low demand for it, it’s understandable that peacock meat and eggs are not widely available for mass consumption.
As it stands, you can’t just walk into a supermarket and buy peacock meat or eggs. Groceries don’t sell peacock meat. There just isn’t a demand for it to make any financial sense for groceries to have peacock meat in their stock.
But even if you take the high cost out of the equation and give people the possibility to eat peacock meat or eggs, many might not take on the offer because of the image they have of these birds.
Peacocks are viewed as these beautiful, majestic birds that aren’t associated with food, and there might be a stigma attached to eating them. Much like some people would never eat a rabbit or a guinea pig, for example, many would be put off by eating peafowl meat.
In summary, peacock meat is safe for you to eat if it’s not a protected species of peafowl.
The eggs of peafowl are also safe and legal to eat as long as it’s sourced from the common peafowl, which is the Indian peafowl.
The Congo or Green peafowl are protected species and consumption of their meat and eggs is not allowed.
Even the peafowl meat of the most common peafowl is expensive and so are the eggs. You can source the meat or the eggs from exotic markets or directly from breeders.
Just be advised that you might not like the taste, even though it most closely resembles that of chicken meat, but with a gamey aroma to it.