Can You Eat Bird Meat? (12, Facts, Benefits, Safety Guides)

Yes, you can eat bird meat. If you’re considering adding bird meat to your diet, you might be wondering if it’s safe to eat. You can eat bird meat without any health concerns.

In fact, bird meat is a healthy and nutritious option that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

There are a variety of bird meat dishes to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that you’ll enjoy. Just be sure to cook it properly to avoid any foodborne illness.

Facts You Should Know About Eating Birds Meat

  • Different types of bird meat have varying amounts of fat and cholesterol. For example, duck and goose meat have more fat and cholesterol than chicken and turkey meat.
  • Eating raw or undercooked bird meat can make you sick with bacterial infections like salmonella and campylobacter.
  • Wild birds may have diseases and harmful chemicals like lead and mercury that can make you sick.
  • Eating poultry infected with bird flu can cause fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
  • Some bird species eat poisonous things that can make their own meat unsafe to eat.
  • If you have a pet bird or see a bird in your backyard, it’s best not to eat its meat because it may carry diseases and parasites that can harm you.
  • Some people enjoy eating bird nests made from the saliva of swiftlets. These nests are considered a delicacy and are believed to have health benefits for your lungs and immune system.

Is it Safe to Eat Bird Meat?

Yes, bird meat is safe for humans. Eating bird meat has been a common practice for many cultures around the world.

Certain species of birds have been a part of human diets for centuries. Some bird species, such as chicken and turkey, are domestic poultry that are widely consumed for their meat.

birds meat grilled

These birds are an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients, and when cooked properly, they can be safe and nutritious foods for humans.

However, consuming raw meat, especially from infected birds, can lead to serious health issues such as bird flu. Therefore, it’s important to properly handle and cook bird meat to prevent the risk of infection.

Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid eating poisonous birds and pet or backyard birds that may carry diseases.

As with any type of food, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and benefits of consuming different species of birds before incorporating them into your diet.

Always seek the advice of a qualified health professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

A Safety Guide to eating bird meat

  1. Purchase meat from reputable sources: When buying bird meat, it’s important to choose a reputable supplier to ensure that the meat is safe for consumption. Look for meat that is fresh, properly labeled, and stored at the correct temperature.
  2. Wash your hands and utensils: Before handling or cooking bird meat, wash your hands and utensils with soap and warm water to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.
  3. Cook the meat thoroughly: To kill any harmful bacteria that may be present, it’s important to cook bird meat to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the meat is fully cooked.
  4. Store the meat properly: After cooking, store leftover bird meat in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F (4°C) to prevent the growth of bacteria. Use leftover meat within 3-4 days, or freeze it for longer storage.
  5. Avoid cross-contamination: To prevent the spread of bacteria, avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards, utensils, and plates for raw and cooked meat.
  6. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat: Eating raw or undercooked bird meat can put you at risk of bacterial infections, so it’s important to always cook the meat thoroughly.
Safety Guide to cooking & eating bird meat

What Types of Birds Are Safe to Eat

There are many types of birds that are considered edible, including chickens, ducks, geese, quails, pheasants, and turkeys. These birds are typically eaten roasted, grilled, or baked.

The study, which was conducted by the University of London, looked at data from over 100 countries. The findings show that chicken and quail are the most popular bird meats in the world and that people in different parts of the world eat different amounts of them.

The people in North America eat more chicken than people in other parts of the world, while people in Asia eat more chicken and turkey.

The average person in America eats about 25% chicken and 5% quail. However, these numbers vary greatly from country to country. For example, people in China consume almost 50% chicken and 10% turkey, while people in Italy eat very little chicken and no quail at all.

list of edible birds

What Types of Bird Meat is Safe to Eat?

Generally speaking, any bird meat that is properly cooked is safe to eat. However, there are some types of birds, such as vultures, that may carry diseases that could be harmful to humans.

Top 10 edible bird meats and popular dishes

Bird MeatPopular DishesPopularity (%)Protein Content (per 100g)Seasons Available
ChickenFried chicken, chicken curry, chicken sandwiches70%31gYear-round
TurkeyRoast turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey chili14%29gFall and Winter
DuckPeking duck, duck confit, roasted duck4%25gWinter and Spring
GooseRoast goose, goose liver pâté, smoked goose breast2%25gWinter
QuailGrilled quail, stuffed quail, quail egg salad2%22gYear-round
PheasantPheasant soup, pheasant pot pie, grilled pheasant breast1%26gFall and Winter
PartridgePartridge casserole, roast partridge, partridge salad1%26gFall and Winter
GrouseRoast grouse, grouse sausage, grouse stew1%25gFall and Winter
Guinea FowlGrilled guinea fowl, guinea fowl curry, guinea fowl soup1%27gYear-round
OstrichOstrich burgers, ostrich stir-fry, grilled ostrich steak1%21gYear-round
Note: Popularity percentage is based on a survey of meat consumption conducted in the United States. Protein content values are approximate and may vary depending on preparation methods. Seasons available may also vary depending on location and cultural cuisine.

Benefits of Eating Bird Meat

The bird meat industry is a $16 billion industry in the United States. There are many benefits to eating bird meat, including its nutritional value, its versatility, and its sustainability.

  1. Nutritionally, bird meat is a good source of protein, iron, and vitamins A and B12.
  2. It is also lower in fat and cholesterol than other meats such as beef and pork.
  3. Bird meat is also versatile and can be prepared in many ways. It is commonly barbecued, fried, broiled, or stewed.
  4. Bird meat can be served hot or cold and is a common ingredient in many exotic dishes.
  5. It can also be made into casseroles and salads.
  6. Additionally, bird meat is high in protein and low in calories. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.

Eating bird meat can help to improve your cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system.

Wrap Up

While some cultures include bird meat in their diets, it’s crucial to consider ethical, health, and legal aspects. Whether it’s a culinary choice or not, understanding the implications of consuming bird meat helps us make informed decisions, fostering a balance between our dietary preferences and responsible stewardship of the avian world.


How do I know if bird meat is cooked properly?

The best way to ensure that bird meat is cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the meat should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

What should I do if I think I have food poisoning from bird meat?

If you think you have food poisoning, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Where can I find bird meat for sale?

Bird meat is available for purchase at many grocery stores and butcher shops. You can also purchase it online from specialty retailers.

Can you eat woodpeckers?

Eating woodpeckers is generally not a good idea because they are protected in many countries, and it’s illegal to hunt or kill them without permission.

They can also carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to humans. In addition, not many people eat woodpeckers, so it’s not known what they taste like.

It’s important to note that many species of woodpeckers are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States, and hunting or killing them without permission can result in fines or other legal consequences.

Can you eat bird meat raw?

It is generally not recommended to eat bird meat raw, as it can be unsafe to consume. Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause foodborne illnesses. 

Are all birds edible?

While technically all birds are edible, it’s not safe or legal to eat all types of birds. Many birds are protected by law, and it’s illegal to hunt or eat them without permission. 

Can you eat hawk?

It is not recommended to eat hawks or other birds of prey. Hawks are protected under various wildlife protection laws.

Additionally, hawks and other birds of prey can carry diseases and toxins in their bodies that can be harmful to humans if consumed.

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