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Flamingos are cute enough to cook, but do people actually eat flamingos?
There isn’t much humans won’t eat, especially if there are limited food sources around. The world’s many cultures have different outlooks on what is and isn’t acceptable to consume, and while many of you reading this right now might find the idea of eating a flamingo to be appalling, that doesn’t mean everyone else on earth agrees.
So, are there people who eat flamingos?
People don't generally eat flamingos, do they?— Mr Bob (@MrBob_52) November 19, 2015
Asking before, well you know.
Do People Eat Flamingos?
In modern times? Not many.
In most of the world, nobody is eating flamingos. But there are places where flamingos are eaten.
Perhaps the most well-known location for flamingo filets is Iraq. In the last few years, flamingos have become more popular as a meal in the country. Poaching flamingos is not illegal in Iraq, and poverty could be part of what's driven the increased eating of the fowl.
Akre Iraqi Kurdistan - Photo by ThousandTravelTales/Shutterstock.com
Otherwise, there aren't too many cultures eating flamingos right now. I'm sure that someone, somewhere (other than Iraq) eats flamingos. But flamingos are not something you will easily find on a restaurant menu across the globe.
Did People Used to Eat Flamingos?
Yes, there are multiple examples of humans eating flamingos throughout history.
Ancient Romans used to dine on flamingos many centuries ago, with the bird’s tongue considered to be an especially wonderful treat.
“Apicius, the most gluttonous gorger of all spendthrifts, established the view that the flamingo’s tongue has a specially fine flavor,” ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder has been quoted.
Today I learned that the Romans used to eat flamingo tongues. Have you SEEN a flamingo's tongue?! Who in the name of Piers Morgan's bra would see one of these & think, 'You know what? I'm gonna eat that'? pic.twitter.com/WLTVxZYjOw— LuSea (@Lu_Sea_Em) September 3, 2019
Humans were eating flamingos more recently than that, though. William Dampier, a pirate from the late 1600s and early 1700s who became the first Englishman to explore some of what is now Australia, wrote about eating flamingos in his journal.
“The flesh of both young and old is lean and black, yet very good meat, tasting neither fishy nor any way unsavoury,” Dampier wrote. “Their tongues are large, having a large knob of fat at the root, which is an excellent bit: a dish of flamingo’s tongues being fit for a prince’s table.”
More recently, an edition of Harper’s Bazaar from 1879-80 explained how some parts of the world enjoyed the fowl’s taste.
“The flamingo, however, is useful as an article of food,” the publication wrote. “In certain parts of Egypt and the East roast flamingo is considered very delicate eating and in ancient times a stew of flamingo tongues was a royal dish.”
People nowadays don’t quite think of flamingos in that same way, but throughout human history, there have been many of us who had no qualms with chowing down on the pink fowl.
Is It Legal to Eat a Flamingo?
It is illegal to eat a flamingo in the United States and many other countries around the world. Flamingos are a unique bird that humans have decided we want to preserve. If people were to begin hunting flamingos, for food or otherwise, it would decimate their populations to the point of endangerment at a minimum.
What Does a Flamingo Taste Like?
First of all, weird question. Second of all, I don’t know, because I’ve never eaten a flamingo. But for reasons that I don’t want to know, there are people on the internet who have reported on the bird’s taste.
Photo by CREATISTA/Shutterstock.com
Flamingo meat doesn’t have much fat, and it eats a lot of fish, algae, and other things the average human would not find appetizing. It’s probable that flamingos taste gamey and fishy. Flamingos probably taste more like ducks than chickens.