Can You Eat Pelican: [Taste & Nutritional Facts]


If you are a fan of bird edibles, you may have questioned at least once about the edibility of the pelican. This is not a thought that pops up in every human’s mind. But, for those who have considered eating pelican, you would probably love to know if it is safe for human consumption. So, can you eat pelican?

You can eat pelican meat. It won’t kill you or make you sick, assuming the meat was handled properly (as with any other bird). But pelican meat is said to be tough and to not taste good.

What Does Pelican Meat Taste Like

can you eat pelican

This is where things get a little confusing. Since this is a subjective question, you know the answers are going to vary to some degree. No one expected the answers to vary significantly, with some people claiming pelican taste like fish while others disagree, saying it tastes like turkey.

Which answer do you believe? In all actuality, the latter seems to be a more accurate answer.

It is easy to see why people would describe pelican meat as having a fishy flavor. Since these birds live on fresh fish, it is very easy to make this assumption.

It may also be safe to compare this fish-eating bird with other fish-eating birds like the duck, kingfisher, puffin, and cormorant.

Duck meat has a tough, rich, salty, fatty flavor while kingfisher meat is described as being similar to lamb. Puffin meat, on the other hand, is similar to duck but with a softer texture.

Pelican Meat Nutritional Value

There is little evidence regarding the nutrients found in pelican meat. One particular study showed pelican meat to contain protein, which changed with diet.

The study did not focus on pelican meat nutrient but how the pelican’s body metabolized protein from several fish species, including catfish, carp, and orts.

Pink-backed pelicans have been the base of a very important vitamin E study. The pelicans were administered vitamin E in paste form over a 10-month period. At the end of the study, the pelicans’ alpha-tocopherol concentration levels increased by 28 percent.

The results showed the vitamin E paste was as or nearly as effective as the vitamin E capsules administered to several other bird species, including the flamingo and stork.

[Related Article: Pelican Predators]

How To Prepare Pelican Meat Safely

Like all wild meat recipes, pelican meat should be cooked evenly and thoroughly. It is possible to follow other bird meat recipes as long as the instructions call for the meat to be thoroughly cooked.

Since pelican is bland meat, it is recommended to utilize a combination of spices. There are two main cooking preparation options – baking and deep-frying – pelican meat.

Deep frying and baking are two simple cooking methods for pelican meat. To add more flavor and texture when deep-frying, apply a generous coat of flour to both sides of the pelican meat, followed by a dash of salt, pepper, garlic, fenugreek, and oregano.

Replace the flour with a generous size pat of butter or canola oil when baking.

Pelican meat can also be safely prepared over an open fire pit. As long as the meat is cooked thoroughly and evenly, it should not pose a health risk for you or your family and friends.

Pros Of Eating Pelican Meat

Pelican meat is believed to be leaner than the meat of farm animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens. It does not contain harmful antibiotics like processed chicken and other meats.

Cons Of Eating Pelican Meat

The biggest con of eating pelican meat is it contributes to the declining population. Unlike alligators, snakes, deer, and turkey, hunting is not needed to control the pelican population. Know the laws and always pelican hunt legally.

Concerning In The Pelican Population

As mentioned previously in this article, the pelican population is gradually diminishing. The decrease has been contributed to environmental changes and pollution.

Another factor, a very big factor is the destruction of the pelican habitat, which is related to the much-needed organisms to keep the habitat viable. When these organisms die, they are not replenished, resulting in a reduction in the habitat’s biodiversity.

The decrease in the pelican population is a growing concern for conservationists. While plume hunters are no longer a concern for pelicans, global warming is doing enough damage by itself.

If the pelican population continues to decline, conversationalists may someday decide to make them a protected bird species. As of yet, humans can still kill and eat pelicans, as long as they do it as humanely as possible.

Pelecanidae Family

The pelican is a member of the Pelecanidae family and a water bird genus. These birds are large in size, weighing between six and seven pounds. The pelican measures approximately 42 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 6 feet.

Watching a pelican dive-bomb for fish is definitely a treat. This massive bird utilizes its powerful wings and beak to dive for fish. This is an amazing sight, as it takes a lot of endurance to pull it off.

Pelicans are known to travel, breed, and hunt in flocks. Nothing the pelican does is ever done solo. In fact, everything pelicans do they do it in unison, but in a very unique manner. To keep the colony safe, the pelicans separate, some building their nests in trees while others build their nests on the ground.

The pelican is a controversial topic, especially among avid fishermen. The pelican and fisherman are competitive creatures, one trying to outdo their other. At least this is how fishermen perceive the relationship.

Pelicans have long since been believed to be a hindrance to recreational and commercial fishermen. The population of pelicans has dropped significantly over the past few decades. The population decrease has been contributed to global warming and other environmental issues.

The pelican dates back the to Oligocene era, about 30 million years ago in France.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

Recent Posts