Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a C-type serum lectin of importance in innate immunity. Low serum concentrations of MBL have been associated with greater susceptibility to infections. In this study, binding of purified chicken MBL (cMBL) to Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica (S. enterica) serotypes B, C1 and D was investigated by flow cytometry, and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) was used for comparison. For S. enterica the C1 serotypes were the only group to exhibit binding to cMBL. Furthermore, functional studies of the role of cMBL in phagocytosis and complement activation were performed. Spiking with cMBL had a dose-dependent effect on the HD11 phagocytic activity of S. enterica subsp. enterica serovar Montevideo, and a more pronounced effect in a carbohydrate competitive assay. This cMBL dose dependency of opsonophagocytic activity by HD11 cells was not observed for S. aureus. No difference in complement-dependent bactericidal activity in serum with high or low cMBL concentrations was found for S. Montevideo. On the other hand, serum with high concentrations of cMBL exhibited a greater bactericidal activity to S. aureus than serum with low concentrations of cMBL. The results presented here emphasise that chicken cMBL exhibits functional similarities with its mammalian counterparts, i.e. playing a role in opsonophagocytosis and complement activation.