Home Animals Can You Eat Pelicans?  (Most Likely Not Recommended)

Can You Eat Pelicans?  (Most Likely Not Recommended)


Pelicans are fascinating creatures that can be found worldwide, from the Americas to Africa and Asia. Despite their ubiquity, few people seem to know much about these large, water-loving birds. One question that often arises is whether or not pelicans are edible. 

Surprisingly, they are! However, it’s not something that you would commonly find on a menu. In fact, most bird species are protected by law, which makes hunting pelicans illegal in many countries. Even if you were able to get a hold of pelican meat, it’s a rare delicacy that most people have never tasted. 

Can You Eat Pelicans?

Can You Eat Pelican

Until 2009, Brown pelicans were classified as endangered, while in some states of the United States of America, White pelicans are still considered as endangered. Although pelican meat is edible, hunting these birds can result in legal consequences, as they are protected in many countries. 

Despite this, they are considered a delicacy in some parts of Africa, while it is difficult to find information online about how to prepare pelican meat or what dishes it complements due to its infrequent consumption. 

Consequently, this lack of information may discourage people from learning more about this bird’s cuisine. However, for those seeking answers, we have provided a comprehensive guide below. Keep reading to learn more.

What Does a Pelican Taste Like? 

Pelican meat is said to have a fish-like smell and taste, which is not surprising considering that fish make up a significant part of their diet. While some compare the flavour to that of turkey, others argue that it is not the most palatable of animal-based proteins due to its greasy texture, dark colour, and lack of tenderness. Ultimately, the taste of pelican meat is subjective and varies from person to person. Despite its less-than-stellar reputation, some cultures still consume pelican meat and even consider it a delicacy.  

Their diet primarily consists of fish and similar aquatic life, which is reflected in the taste, smell, and texture of their meat. While it is safe to consume when adequately cooked, pelican meat has a displeasing taste due to its aquatic lifestyle. However, this unpleasant taste is not unique to pelicans as it is a common trait among many seabirds. But it’s not just their meat that has an odour; pelicans themselves are also known for their fowl (pun intended) smell. 

Can You Eat Pelican Eggs?

Pelican eggs may not be as popular as the eggs we usually see on our breakfast plates, but they do hold a certain appeal for some cultures. Despite their larger size and distinctive appearance, they remain a rare delicacy due to their high-fat content and cholesterol levels. Compared to other types of bird eggs, like those of chickens or quails, pelican eggs are not commonly consumed by the masses. With their scratch-like marks and white colour, it’s easy to see why some may find them intriguing, yet ultimately not worth the health risks.  

Pelican Meat Nutritional Value

Pelican meat remains a mysterious source of nutrients due to the scarcity of research on its nutritional content. However, studies have shown that the protein content of pelican meat heavily depends on the bird’s diet. It’s uncertain whether consuming pelican meat, especially from the wild, would provide the desired health benefits since it contains measurable levels of mercury. 

However, unlike the processed chicken and turkey sold in stores, pelican meat is guaranteed to be free of antibiotics. A significant upside of pelican meat is its thin flesh, which could be an attractive option for individuals who prefer a lean diet.  

How to Prepare Pelican Meat?

Despite their large size and unique appearance, pelicans are rarely domesticated and are mainly found living in the wild. While their meat can be consumed, it’s important to take precautions when preparing it due to the presence of harmful viruses and microbes commonly found in wild birds and other animals. To ensure safety, pelican meat must be cooked thoroughly and seasoned heavily to mask any unfavourable taste. When cooking, there are a variety of methods you can use such as baking, roasting, or deep-frying with a coat of flour. 


What does Pelican taste like?

Well, it’s not exactly a common dish on the menu, but those who have tried it, describe it as a cross between duck and venison. 

Are pelicans meat eaters?


Is Pelican the oldest surviving bird?

The pelican, an ancient bird that has captured people’s imagination for centuries, has been shrouded in myths and legends. One of the most enduring tales about this bird is that the mother feeds her chicks with her blood, signifying her affection and devotion to her offspring. 

While there may be little truth behind this myth, it has helped make the pelican one of the most beloved birds in our culture. 

Are pelicans friendly?

Pelicans are known to be friendly birds, but it’s best to admire them from a distance. Experts advise against touching them because of their size and the potential ferocity they display when alarmed. 

Final Words

Pelicans, despite being edible seabirds, are not commonly consumed by humans. Some of the reasons for this include their taste, preservative status, and rarity, but one often overlooked reason is the fact that many people simply do not view them as a source of meat. Additionally, pelicans are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes it illegal to hunt, possess, or harm these birds in any way. 


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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.


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