Rating Video Game Birds I Would (And Wouldn't) Eat For Thanksgiving Dinner

by Charles Harte on Nov 23, 2023 at 12:00 PM

Ah, Thanksgiving. It's a time of year for gratitude, togetherness, repeatedly attempting to explain my job to older relatives, and most importantly, a time when a lot of people come together to eat one really big bird. But here's the thing. Why do we always eat the same kind of bird? I mean, turkey is fine and all, but why not branch out a bit? Why not chicken, or quail, or pheasant?

And that got me thinking – why limit my daydreaming to real-life birds when there's so much delicious-looking poultry in video games? Sure, not every video game bird would be tasty, but it's worth assessing in case I ever get Jumanji-ed into a game one day.

Here's my rating of video game birds based on how good they'd be for Thanksgiving dinner.

Kazooie (4/10)

from Banjo Kazooie

Kazooie doesn't look actively gross, but she doesn't have that much meat on her to begin with. She also has way too much personality for me to feel good about eating her. I'm not saying there are no interesting birds in the real world, but I don't think any are as expressive as Kazooie.

Unfezant (9/10)

from Pokémon

The average ring-necked pheasant is 2.6 pounds. That's a lot of food, but Unfezant weighs a whopping 63.9 pounds! That is massive, easily feeding three times the number of people as a typical Thanksgiving turkey. The only downside here is raising a Pidove or Tranquil enough levels to evolve, but once the larger Pokémon world accepts Thanksgiving as the norm, I'm sure farmers will be raising plenty in pastures.

Cucco (0/10)

from The Legend of Zelda

I'm sure a Cucco would taste delicious. We just have no way of knowing, since no one has ever slaughtered one and lived to tell the tale.

Shriek (-5/10)

from Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Is this thing even a bird anymore? It's certainly not making my mouth water.

Stormbird (0/10)

from Horizon Zero Dawn

Zero points here. This thing is not edible! Unless you're the Iron Giant from Brad Bird's 1999 animated classic The Iron Giant, steer clear of this one.

Brewster (6/10)

from Animal Crossing

Meat-wise, I'm not sure what Brewster really offers, but I will say this – a bird as refined as he is definitely isn't doing hard labor. I'd even go so far as to say he's the type of bird that really takes care of himself. I bet whatever meat is available on those bones is nice and tender, with a hint of coffee-tinged richness.

Franklin (9/10)

from Animal Crossing

Obviously, Franklin would be delicious – he's literally a Thanksgiving turkey – but I can't give him a perfect score here since that would kind of be against the spirit of the list. I want cool, exotic, gamer birds, not turkeys in different fonts.

Duck (10/10)

from Duck Hunt

These things look delicious. I wish ducks were real.

Necky (2/10)

from Donkey Kong

This bird is 90% head, which is not what I'm looking for at a Thanksgiving dinner. I'm also pretty sure Necky is based on a vulture, which is a notoriously disgusting bird. I'm not surprised Donkey and Diddy stick to bananas.

Klepto (5/10)

from Super Mario

I'm not convinced Klepto would taste that much better than Necky, but I HATE this guy and would love to eat him as revenge for all the stuff he's stolen over the years. This dude is gonna burn in hell and I would be thrilled to be a part of it.

Death Rite Bird (-10/10)

from Elden Ring

This one is just bones! You can't eat bones.

Warhawk (8/10)

from Elden Ring

Now THIS is a bird! Sure, it's got swords for feet, but given the choice, what bird wouldn't want swords for feet? When you really think about it, this is like the Happy Meal of Thanksgiving birds – it comes with dinner and two toys for the kids!

Prinny (0/10)

from Disgaea

Prinnies explode when thrown, so I can't imagine they'd do very well in an oven for hours at a time. The only explosion I need at my Thanksgiving is a political discussion at the dinner table.

Goose (7/10)

from Untitled Goose Game

I've never had goose, but I've heard it's pretty good. The main reason I'm docking points here is that even if we can catch this guy, the townsfolk from the game are going to be way too excited that this bird is finally dead. I'm gonna have a hard time getting a plate for myself. 

Songbird (?/10)

from Bioshock

I don't want to eat Songbird, but even if I did, I'm not sure if I could. It's unclear if it has any truly organic parts and what the source of those organic parts would be. And I don't think anyone is happy to have "mystery meat" on the table for Thanksgiving.

Moa (9/10)

from Halo

I'd love to get me some "Moa" of these birds! Hahahaha actually though, these guys don't just look good, they're canonically tasty, existing as burgers inside the Halo universe. And then someone decided to turn those fictional bird burgers into a real-life Pringles flavor, which caused a writer for Polygon to say, "I’ve never found a Pringle flavor I like this much." So, yeah. I'd eat one.

Donald Duck

from Kingdom Hearts

This is a weird one. This is more of a guy than any of the birds on here. I can't just eat a guy.


But like, if I HAD to... 6/10.

Chocobo (100/10)

from Final Fantasy

Ever since the first day I laid eyes on a chocobo, I've wanted its wings in my mouth. There is no creature in all of video games that looks tastier than this plump, plumed pinnacle of poultry.

I wrote this list for you, chocobo. And if I have my way, one day, you'll be mine.