It was mentioned somewhere that we didn't have a mesorah for turkey, but somehow it became accepted as a kosher bird within the Ashkenazi population.

I'm wondering what the status of quail and pheasant is, and why they're any different from turkey in terms of their widely accepted recognized kosher status?

  • 2
    I don't have a source handy, but turkey is a New World bird, it was not found in Europe, Asia or Africa prior to Columbus, while pheasant and quail were Nov 25, 2021 at 6:38
  • Doesn't the Torah explicitly demonstrate that quail and pheasant (שליו) are kosher?
    – robev
    Nov 25, 2021 at 12:00
  • star-k.org/faq in section The Kosher Status of Meat, Dairy and Fish in Are Guinea Fowl and Quail kosher? We would like to eat the eggs. says that they are not kosher.
    – Mattityahu
    Nov 25, 2021 at 17:20
  • @Mattityahu Not all species called quail in modern English have traditions. They are probably oversimplifying for the audience of people who ask websites for psak.
    – Double AA
    Nov 25, 2021 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


Unlike the turkey which is a North American bird and whose path to becoming kosher is a great story of its own, OU writes there was a tradition to eat certain types of quail (it was eaten by the Israelites in the desert already)

There are multiple species called quail. There was a well-accepted tradition in Europe to eat coturnix coturnix and coturnix japonica. Other species of quail, such as Scaled Quail and Gambel’s Quail, will not be permitted by the OU unless and until a valid masorah for that specific species is obtained.

Similarly the Kosher London Beth Din writes there is a tradition to eat pheasant

But by tradition, Jews can eat poultry such as duck, chicken, goose and turkey, and also pigeon, pheasant and partridge.

See also here in more depth from the OU.


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