Can you eat vulture?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat vulture?” and discuss what are the risks of eating vultures.

Can you eat vultures?

Yes, you can eat vulture meat, but you should not, as eating vultures may present potential health risks. Vultures are scavenger birds that feed on the remains of dead animals, which may carry harmful microorganisms. 

Is it possible to eat Vulture meat?

Yes, it is possible to eat vulture meat and this meat is consumed in many places. In addition to Colombia, where vulture blood is used as a remedy, in some West African countries, e.g., Nigeria and Ivory Coast, people use meat in traditional medicine. 

The illegal trade in vulture body parts for use in traditional medicine is a significant threat that is increasing in intensity. 

Vulture body parts have long been valued in many African cultures, especially in South and West Africa, where some believe that they cure a range of physical and mental illnesses, improve success in gambling and business ventures, or increase intelligence in children (4).

Is there any benefit of eating vultures?

The possible benefit of eating vulture meat is its possible therapeutic effect on some diseases, according to traditional medicine in Colombia.

Due to the specific characteristics of these animals, they have been studied and used in medicine and the consumption of their meat has been related to treating some types of cancer. 

Vultures are contaminated by microorganisms from the carcasses they eat. Therefore, vultures are regarded as having special qualities, one of which is the capacity to ingest carrion without being affected, which suggests that the animal has a special strength, particularly concerning its immune system.

In Colombia, patients have reported using the blood of vultures in their alternative treatments to cancer. Drinking the bird’s blood is the most common description of the animal’s use for cancer treatment. In this sense, having a living animal is important for extracting and drinking blood (preferably fresh) (1).

What are the risks of eating vultures?

The risks of eating vultures are to be contaminated by microorganisms, including pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Vultures get infected with microorganisms from the decaying flesh they consume. 

Toxic compounds are released by decaying microorganisms. Studies found that bacteria such as Clostridium spp., Fusobacterium spp., Enterococcus spp. and Lactobacillus spp. are common species present in the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract. 

A study showed that vultures are hosts of pathogens such as Salmonella enterica ser.Typhi and Paratyphi A, and produce human diseases characterized by diarrhea, fever and high mortality rates. (3).

Vultures are colonized by many species of bacteria and also play an epidemiological role in spreading these pathogens through the ecosystem. Handling and consuming vulture meat may present health risks for the handler, consumer and the environment.

In addition, some vultures may also carry pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics. A study reported that the pathogen Campylobacter spp. resistant to gentamicin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline was isolated from vultures from Spain (3).

Why should you not eat vultures?

Due to its importance for the ecosystems, vultures are not to be consumed as a meat source. There is no doubt that vultures are fundamental to maintaining our ecosystem and should therefore be protected. Loss of vultures from their habitats will impact animal diversity and likely have widespread ramifications for ecosystems (2). 

Vultures are an important part of nature’s sanitation system. Many little insects are also eaten by them, which helps clean the environment.

Vultures play an important hygiene role in some societies by their consumption of animal carcasses. They are particularly important in many developing tropical countries where sanitary waste and carcass disposal programs may be limited or non-existent. 

Decline in vulture numbers can lead to public health problems. In India, vultures compete with feral dogs, which often carry rabies. As vulture numbers have fallen, the numbers of feral dogs and rats have significantly increased in some localities. The loss of vultures has consequences for society (2).


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat vulture?” and we discussed what are the risks of eating vultures.


  1. Sánchez-Pedraza, Ricardo, Magda R. Gamba-Rincón, and Andrés L. González-Rangel. Use of black vulture (Coragyps atratus) in complementary and alternative therapies for cancer in Colombia: A qualitative study. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, 2012, 8, 1-8.
  2. Morelli, Federico, et al. The vulture in the sky and the hominin on the land: three million years of human–vulture interaction. Anthrozoös, 2015, 28, 449-468.
  3. Plaza, Pablo I., Guillermo Blanco, and Sergio A. Lambertucci. Implications of bacterial, viral and mycotic microorganisms in vultures for wildlife conservation, ecosystem services and public health. Ibis, 2020, 162, 1109-1124.. 
  4. Ogada, Darcy, et al. Another continental vulture crisis: Africa’s vultures collapsing toward extinction. Conserv Lett, 2016, 9, 89-97.

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