Edible Birds

Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, warm-blooded, hard shell egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Birds range in size from the 2 inch Bee Hummingbird to the 9 foot Ostrich, however neither of those extremes are found wild in Connecticut. Birds have a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton, which enables them to fly.

Connecticut has about 417 bird species as of the current count, though that number can vary somewhat depending on who you ask and what is considered a valid record. There is a diverse selection of bird types in this state, including ducks, hawks, sparrows, gulls, warblers and many other families of birds. Connecticut has many dedicated groups of Birders, professional and amateur, year round counting the sightings and helping others to learn how to identify them.

In Connecticut the most common duck is generally the Mallard. The most common seagulls are the Ring-billed Gull and the Herring Gull. The most common hawk is the Red-tailed Hawk, and the most common sparrow is generally the House Sparrow. Robins, Blue Jays, Cardinals and American Crows are also very common. These species can generally be found year-round.

 
Agelaius phoeniceus
Common Name: Red-winged Blackbird
Sources report the Red-winged Blackbird (and other blackbirds) as edible and have been eaten historically.

Aix sponsa
Common Name: Wood Duck
Wood duck meat is edible. They were once over-hunted and in serious decline in the late 19th century. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas acuta
Common Name: Northern pintail duck
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas americana
Common Name: American wigeon
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas carolinensis
Common Name: Green-winged Teal
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas clypeata
Common Name: Northern Shoveler
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas cyanoptera
Common Name: Cinnamon Teal
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas discors
Common Name: Blue-winged Teal
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas penelope
Common Name: Eurasian Wigeon
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas platyrhynchos
Common Name: Mallard
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas platyrhynchos domestica
Common Name: American Pekin duck
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas rubripes
Common Name: American black duck
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anas strepera strepera
Common Name: Gadwall
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Anhinga anhinga
Common Name: Anhinga
The anhinga is protected in the US under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It is very rare in Connecticut. As a result, it should never be taken for food. Otherwise, it is reported as edible, though the flavor is reported as unpleasant. The eggs are reported as more palatable.

Anser albifrons
Common Name: Greater white-fronted goose
Anser albifrons albifrons and Anser albifrons flavirostis are protected under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (1999). They are also a very rare sighting in Connecticut. Therefore they should not be taken for food. The greater white-fronted goose is reported as edible by various sou... [READ MORE]

Aythya affinis
Common Name: Lesser scaup
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Aythya americana
Common Name: Redhead
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Aythya collaris
Common Name: Ring-necked duck
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Aythya fuligula
Common Name: Tufted duck
Duck meat is edible. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Aythya marila
Common Name: Greater scaup
Reported to be edible with mixed reviews on flavor.

Bonasa umbellus
Common Name: Ruffed grouse
Grouse are edible. They a common gamebird. Hunting ruffed grouse is common in the northern and far western United States as well as Canada.

Branta bernicla hrota
Common Name: Atlantic brant
Brants are reported as edible though sources vary widely on how good they taste. Some reports suggest that the diet of the brant greatly affects flavor.

Branta canadensis canadensis
Common Name: Atlantic Canada goose
Canada geese are edible, but they have strong game flavor compared to the domestic goose. They lack the fat of a domestic goose and require barding or larding when cooking. Warnings!

Branta hutchinsii
Common Name: Cackling goose
Reported to be edible and similar to Canada goose. They likely have strong game flavor compared to the domestic goose. They lack the fat of a domestic goose and require barding or larding when cooking.

Branta leucopsis
Common Name: Barnacle goose
Reported to be edible and similar to Canada goose. They likely have strong game flavor compared to the domestic goose. They lack the fat of a domestic goose and require barding or larding when cooking.

Bucephala albeola
Common Name: Bufflehead
Like most other ducks they are edible. While the flavor is not highly regarded, there are a few recipes found online. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Bucephala islandica
Common Name: Barrow's goldeneye
Like most other ducks they are edible. While the flavor is not highly regarded, there are a few recipes found online. Farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets in Connecticut and is a good alternative. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Chen caerulescens atlanticus
Common Name: Greater snow goose
Wild geese are edible, but they have strong game flavor compared to the domestic goose. They lack the fat of a domestic goose and require barding or larding when cooking.

Colinus virginianus
Common Name: Northern bobwhite
It is edible, and commonly hunted and eaten. Look for fresh or frozen quail in supermarkets or gourmet food stores. Quail eggs are also available in supermarkets and gourmet food stores, as well as Japanese restaurants.

Columba livia domestica
Common Name: Feral pigeon
In culinary terminology, squab is a young domestic pigeon or its meat. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken. Squab can sometimes be found in specialty food stores in Connecticut or ordered by your butcher or online.

Corvus brachyrhynchos
Common Name: American crow
There are numerous reports of crows being eaten throughout history, though it's not common now.

Corvus ossifragus
Common Name: Fish crow
There are numerous reports of crows being eaten throughout history, though it's not common now.

Cygnus buccinator
Common Name: Trumpeter swan
Swans are edible.

Cygnus olor
Common Name: Mute swan
Swans are edible

Dendrocygna bicolor
Common Name: Fulvous whistling duck
It is edible.

Gallus gallus domesticus
Common Name: Domestic Chicken
It is obviously edible.

Lophodytes cucullatus
Common Name: Hooded merganser
Reported to be edible and tasty.

Meleagris gallopavo silvestris
Common Name: Eastern wild turkey
Same as domestic turkeys, wild turkeys are edible.

Melospiza melodia
Common Name: Song sparrow
There have been reports of it being edible, however due to its size, it's generally not recommended.

Oxyura jamaicensis
Common Name: Ruddy duck
Ruddy duck meat is edible. As an alternative, farm-raised domestic duck is commonly available in supermarkets. Duck meat (domestic) is a common dish in Asian restaurants, especially Thai cuisine.

Phasianus colchicus
Common Name: Common pheasant
Pheasant is a commonly eaten gamebird. Can be sometimes found in gourmet food stores and sometimes upscale supermarkets. If you don't see it in stock, check with a manager and see if it can be ordered.

Somateria mollissima
Common Name: Common eider
They are edible and historically eaten. Their down has been used for fine pillows and quilts. The band Pink Floyd has mentioned the use of eiderdown in at least three of their early songs: Flaming, Julia Dream, and A Pillow Of Winds.

Somateria spectabilis
Common Name: King eider
They are reportedly consumed by the central Alaskan Yup'ik people in spring, so they are edible. They are however quite rare in Connecticut and should not be taken for food here.

Sturnus vulgaris
Common Name: Common starling
Yes, starlings are edible - they are the most likely blackbird baked in a pie in the old rhyme.

Turdus migratorius
Common Name: American robin
Historically robins have been eaten however due to the risk of West Nile virus, it's not recommended. Warnings!

Tympanuchus cupido
Common Name: Greater prairie chicken
It is edible, but due to its threatened status, it should not be eaten.

Zenaida macroura
Common Name: Mourning dove
In culinary terminology, squab is a young domestic pigeon or dove or its meat. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken. Squab can sometimes be found in specialty food stores in Connecticut or ordered by your butcher or online.