Chullin 62 - Identifying Kosher Birds

The Torah lists twenty-four types of non-kosher fowl, and all other birds are kosher. The exact identification of the species' names, and the translations of the Hebrews terms are subject to many disagreements, with the practical result that only a few birds are known to be kosher .

However, we can formulate some logical rules, even if we don't know the exact physical birds they refer to. Twenty of the non-kosher birds possess all three kosher signs, that is, extra toe, crop, and gizzard that can be peeled - but they claw their prey. The raven has two of the kosher signs. The ossifrage and the osprey have one kosher sign, a different one each. An eagle has no kosher signs. To determine if a bird is kosher it is first compared to the eagle. If it is unlike an eagle and has at least one kosher sign, and it does not belong to the other twenty-three non-kosher types, then it is kosher.

Ameimar formulated a rule: even if one is not expert in identifying an ossifrage and an osprey - which are rare - if he sees a bird with one kosher sign, it is kosher, provided that it does not claw.

Art: Herbert William Weekes - The Sermon - A Raven Addressing a Gaggle of Geese