Can You Eat Pigeon? Is it safe? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, you can eat pigeon and it is safe to consume as long as it is properly cooked. However, it is not a common food choice in many cultures. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the pigeon meat is sourced from a reputable and safe supplier.

Can You Eat Pigeon

Are Pigeons Safe To Eat?

If you’re wondering whether pigeons are safe to eat, the answer is yes. Pigeon meat is a nutritious choice for individuals seeking leaner protein sources, as it boasts high protein content and low fat levels. It also contains important nutrients such as iron and zinc.

However, it’s important to note that proper cooking is essential to avoid any risk of foodborne illness. To ensure the safe consumption of pigeon meat, it is recommended to cook it completely until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help to eliminate any harmful bacteria that may be present.

Is Eating Pigeon Meat Good?

The consumption of pigeon meat is a topic of debate among different cultures. While some consider it a delicacy, others question its health benefits and ethical implications. Pigeon meat is known for its unique flavor, which is a result of the combination of fat and muscles in the meat. Many cultures also use spices or sauces to enhance their taste.

However, it can be challenging to find pigeon meat in some parts of the world, and obtaining it from a local restaurant or butchery may be difficult. Ultimately, the decision to consume pigeon meat is a personal one, and it is essential to ensure that it is safe and healthy to do so.

A Brief History of Eating Pigeons

People have been eating pigeons for centuries all over the world. Europeans, Asians, and Africans have all used pigeons as a food source. Even Native American tribes have cooked pigeon meat over an open fire or boiled it in a pot. During the Middle Ages, pigeons were commonly consumed as a food source in several European countries, such as France, Germany, and England.

In certain areas of Europe, laws were created to prevent the excessive hunting of pigeons because of their widespread popularity. Additionally, in some cultures, pigeon meat held a sacred significance as the birds were believed to be divine messengers.

Today, pigeon meat remains popular in many parts of the world, especially in North Africa and the Middle East, and is a key ingredient in many traditional dishes. Although pigeon meat is not commonly eaten in the Western world today, it still holds a special place in some people’s hearts, such as in some parts of England where it’s traditional to eat pigeon pie on various occasions.

What Pigeons Can You Eat?

If you’re interested in trying pigeons as a meal, there are a few types that are safe for human consumption. The three main types are squab, wood pigeon, and wild pigeon. While pigeon may not be as popular as it once was, it has a unique place in the modern palate and is often featured on fine dining menus and at gastropubs.

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1. Squab:

Squab is a good place to start. Squab refers to a young domestic pigeon that is usually less than four weeks old. It’s a great option for those who haven’t tried pigeons before, as the meat is more tender and has a milder flavor compared to older pigeons. Squab is often considered an “entry-level” bird for those who want to try eating pigeons.

2. Wood Pigeon:

For those who enjoy the delicate taste of squab meat and want to try a more intense flavor, a wood pigeon is a great option. This game bird offers a deeper, more complex taste that is full of minerals and is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

With a little extra attention paid to the cooking process, the wood pigeons can be just as tender as young, farmed squab, making it a delicious and worthwhile option for those looking to try something new.

3. Wild Pigeon:

If you’re interested in trying pigeon meat, it’s important to know that any kind of wild pigeon can be eaten. However, there are some factors to consider when buying and cooking it. Look for a wild bird with plump breast portions and a good distribution of fat under the skin, as this will help keep the meat moist during cooking.

It is important to inspect for any possible damage to the meat from shots. When purchasing pigeon meat, it is advised to select a reputable butcher or dealer who has experience. It is also recommended to choose a bird that still has its head and feet attached to evaluate its general state.

When preparing dishes with pigeon meat, it is recommended to pair it with accompaniments that can balance out the strong flavor. Examples include redcurrant jelly, red wine reductions, cinnamon, cumin, and fruity sauces such as blackberry.

What Does Pigeon Meat Contain?

Pigeon meat is a food that contains essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can contribute to a healthy diet.It is a rich source of protein, making it an excellent choice for those who want to maintain or build muscle mass. Additionally, pigeon meat is high in iron, zinc, and B vitamins, which support various bodily functions.

Consuming pigeon meat can be beneficial for the body’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, promote heart health, and support cognitive function.

Additionally, it contains essential amino acids for the maintenance and repair of muscles, organs, and tissues.

Pigeon meat is a lean protein source that is low in saturated fat, making it a beneficial choice for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Additionally, it contains dietary fiber, which aids in promoting healthy digestion and gut function.

Does Pigeon Have Salmonella?

Pigeon droppings may contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause foodborne illness in humans. The biggest risk of contracting salmonella from pigeon droppings is from leaving them on surfaces or objects that humans might touch and then consume or come into contact with food.

Studies have shown that pigeon droppings may contain salmonella, but the level of bacteria may not pose a significant threat to human health. Nevertheless, taking necessary safety measures is recommended when handling pigeons to avoid any potential contamination.

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This includes regularly cleaning areas where pigeons roost and wearing protective clothing and equipment when dealing with them or visiting their roosts. By taking these precautions, you can minimize the risk of salmonella contamination from pigeon droppings.

Are There Any Health Benefits Associated with Eating Pigeons?

If you’re curious about the health benefits of pigeon meat, there are a few things to consider. From a nutritional standpoint, pigeon meat is a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals like iron, zinc, and phosphorus. It also contains essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for overall health.

One of the best things about pigeon meat is that it’s high in protein and relatively low in fat, making it a good choice for those who are watching their weight or trying to maintain a healthy diet. In addition, it contains B6 vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, which can help support good mental health.

Finally, pigeon meat is low in cholesterol, which is great news for anyone looking to reduce their risk of heart disease. While it may not be meat that’s commonly consumed, there are health benefits associated with adding pigeon meat to your diet.

Why Pigeons Not Good For Health?

Pigeons are not a safe source of food for humans due to the health risks they pose. These birds are known to carry a variety of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections that can be transmitted to humans, leading to mild to severe symptoms such as respiratory problems, diarrhea, fever, and fatigue.

Pigeon meat has been found to contain chemical pollutants such as mercury, which can cause chemical poisoning in humans due to their surroundings.

Pigeons can carry parasites that may cause diseases, both internally and externally. Contact with their waste or feathers may result in transmission to humans. Therefore, consuming pigeons is not advised.

Is Pigeon Meat Toxic?

There is a common misconception that pigeon meat is toxic or unsafe to eat, but this is not true. Pigeon meat is a type of game meat that has been consumed for centuries in many countries around the world. It is a good source of protein with a distinct flavor. Pigeon is particularly popular in France, and it is also enjoyed in some African and Middle Eastern countries.

As with any type of meat, it is important to cook pigeons to an appropriate temperature and to use proper cleaning methods. While pigeon meat can be high in fat, it also contains essential omega-3 fatty acids that can benefit cardiovascular health.

Meat contains vitamin B12, selenium, and zinc, which are beneficial nutrients. Following safe hunting and handling practices is essential when consuming wild pigeons. Improperly stored or spoiled meat can cause food-borne illness, so it is crucial to handle and cook the meat with care. Overall, pigeon meat is not toxic and can be a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.

What’s the Name of Pigeon Meat?

Pigeon meat is known by different names depending on the region and culinary tradition. The bird is known as “squab” in Europe and North America, and “poussin” in many parts of Asia.

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Poussin specifically refers to young birds still fed by their parents. The French word for pigeon is “squab,” and the meat is sometimes called a fledgling or baby pigeon.

Typically, older pigeons are not recommended for consumption due to their strong flavor. Squabs can be prepared in various ways depending on regional tastes, including roasting, braising, grilling, or frying.

It is often served with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, but the most common preparation is with onions and garlic. The taste of squab is characterized as having a mild and sweet flavor, with a texture similar to chicken but with a slightly gamy taste.

Is Eating Pigeons Legal or Illegal?

The legality of eating pigeons varies depending on where you live. While it’s legal in some countries, other countries have various laws and regulations in place that must be followed.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States prohibits the consumption of native birds such as pigeons, in order to protect them from hunting, killing, or being sold as food. Pigeons that are sold for consumption in the US are usually raised on farms specifically for that purpose.

In contrast to certain regions, pigeons are consumed as a food source in various parts of the world and are regarded as a delicacy in certain cultures. It’s important to be mindful of ethical considerations and respect local customs and opinions surrounding the consumption of pigeons.


Can You Boil a Pigeon Egg?

Pigeons are often seen as pests. Yet, their eggs were once a sought-after delicacy. Pigeon eggs can be prepared in different ways, such as boiling, frying, scrambling, or baking. Despite their appearance, they taste and feel like chicken eggs. If you want to try something new or are hungry, consider having pigeon eggs. Be sure to cook them thoroughly to prevent foodborne illness.

Are Pigeons Red or White Meat?

Pigeons have high levels of myoglobin, making them entirely dark meat. They contain fat deposits around the muscles, and when cooked properly, they can be tender and moist. However, overcooking can cause them to become dry and tough, which is a common issue with poultry.

Is Pigeon Meat Better than Chicken?

Pigeon meat contains higher levels of protein and iron and lower levels of fat compared to chicken. The decision between the two types of meat is subjective, as both provide nutritional advantages. Ultimately, the choice depends on individual preferences and dietary requirements.


Pigeon meat can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet if prepared properly. However, it’s important to keep in mind the potential health risks and ethical concerns associated with consuming these birds.

It’s always best to source your pigeon meat from a reputable supplier and consult with a healthcare professional before adding it to your diet. With the right precautions, you can enjoy the unique taste and benefits of pigeon meat.

Kathy Gonzales

I'm an author of I have kept pigeons as pets for over 20 years and have written several articles. Here in this blog, I cover topics such as how to care for pigeons, what to feed them, and how to keep them healthy.