In the parsha this past week (re'eh) we find a list of birds that are not kosher. This is unlike the Torah's approach to mammals and fish, where we are told to identify those that are permitted by signs (e.g., chew cud, have fins). Where in the sources do we have a list of kosher birds?

Related: Questions about eating Kosher

4 Answers 4


The Torah only lists non-kosher birds, implying that all other birds are kosher. However, scavengers and birds of prey are not kosher, though it may take many years to observe behavior that proves that. Therefore, the primary requirement today in identifying kosher birds is having a tradition that the particular bird is kosher.

Is there a comprehensive list listing birds that we have a tradition for? Probably not.

This article by Rabbi Ari Z. Zivotofsky and Dr. Ari Greenspan describes the process of tracking down rabbis and shochtim who could attest to the kashrut of certain birds that are not commonly slaughtered today. This should explain why it's difficult to make a comprehensive list of which birds are permitted.

  • "However, scavengers and birds of prey are not kosher, though it may take many years to observe behavior that proves that." More than years, the gemara gives signs for kosher birds, but there's so many different opinions on how to interpret the signs
    – user613
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 21:30
  • I don't think that link directs where it's supposed to
    – alicht
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 21:01

AFAIK there is no such list, one tell tale sign of that as mentioned in another answer, is that there is a debate about turkeys.

Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 82 details how determine if a bird is kosher.


Leviticus 11:13-19

13 “‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle,[a] the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, 19 the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

Deuteronomy 14: 12-18 12-18 But these are the kinds of birds you are not to eat: eagles, owls, hawks, falcons; buzzards, vultures, crows; ostriches; seagulls, storks, herons, pelicans, cormorants;[a] hoopoes; and bats.

  • This is not a list of Kosher birds. -1
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 21:19
  • All the other birds are kosher. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 21:23

There isn't any sources that say which birds are specifically kosher. This article from Aish.com discusses the halachic status of turkeys. Because the Torah only lists which birds are not kosher and we don't have a reliable translation of what some of the names of those birds are, the rabbis had to make a decision - either allow all birds except for those that they knew specifically were not kosher or allow only those birds that Jews had been eating for many generations. Thus, birds such as geese and chickens would be allowed. When it came to turkeys, it seems that some rabbis had mistakenly thought that there was a tradition that these were kosher animals, but after the fact it was decided that they should be allowed also. Read the article for more information.

  • Can you tell me, What is the earliest compiled list of permitted birds? (The article you cited mentions a gemara that tries to infer characteristics of forbidden birds. That is not a list of permitted birds.)
    – Yehuda W
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 13:34
  • @YehudaW, he did say. "There isn't any sources that say which birds are specifically kosher." (I don't think that's correct, incidentally. Doubtless someone has put together such a list.)
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 13:51
  • @msh210 Surely there must be authoritative lists, some newer and some older. I am looking for older.
    – Yehuda W
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 15:38
  • Are there any birds that have the properties of what we call "poultry" and are not kosher?
    – CashCow
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 15:39

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