Poultry is usually sold in the same shops and market stalls which sell butcher's meat. Though not a bird, rabbit is frequently found at poultry shops. They are usually young and small, skinned, but weighed whole. You can usually buy half a conejo, split lengthwise.


Spanish chickens are battery-raised unless indicated otherwise. Free-range chickens can be labelled either Pollo de Aire Libre or Pollo de Corral. The butcher will weigh the bird whole, with head and feet still attached, then cut it up for you. Supermarkets often offer chicken parts. The breast is pechuga, boned chicken breast is filete de pechuga and the legs are called muslo. A gallina is a stewing hen.


Turkey is a favourite holiday fare in Spain and shortly before Christmas it will be found in all the markets. Supermarkets carry turkey all year round. Free-range turkeys, usually sold fresh, should be selected only when they are quite small or they will tend to toughness.


Frozen duckling is available in most poultry shops. It is not so often found fresh. Duck has a much heavier bone structure and higher fat content than chicken, so purchase larger servings.

oca, ganso

Not widely appreciated in Spain. Like duck, it has a heavy bone structure and is very fatty. It must be quite young to be good.

Guinea Fowl

This fowl, which originates in Africa, is available in some specialty markets and appears on the menus of gourmet restaurants. Its flesh, which is very lean, somewhat resembles pheasant or partridge.


These tiny game birds are now farm-raised and readily available in poultry markets and supermarkets all year round. They need frequent basting as they are quite lean.


Spain is known as the partridge capital of Europe and, during the winter hunting season, it is quite usual to see men returning to the village with several of these birds tied to their belts. They must be young, otherwise they need long, slow braising. Partridge are also farm-raised, so they reach the market while still tender.


Not nearly so widely found as partridge, pheasant can often be ordered through butchers and poultry dealers who specialize in luxury products. This bird is very lean, should be young to be tender and profits from being hung for a few days.

Pigeon, Dove
pichón, palomo

Though battery-raised, these are not available everywhere. Young and tender, they are quite tasty.

Small Wild Birds

Neither size nor song matters to the hunter of tasty morsels. Thus pajaritos, tiny birds of hardly a mouthful, used to be a specialty of many tapas bars. Zorzales are thrushes, alondras are larks, becadas are woodcock and tórtolas are turtle-doves.