What Birds Like Niger Seed


Birds that prefer Niger seed as a part of their diet hail from the finch family and include species such as American goldfinches, house finches, and purple finches. Commonly referred to as thistle seed, it is known for its rich protein content and oil content, making it an excellent source of energy for birds during the colder months of the year when food is scarce. These small black seeds are a favorite among wild birds and can be easily found in bird stores across the world.

In addition to being high in nutrients, Niger seed has a hard shell that requires certain types of birds with heavier bills to crack them open. This means that larger birds like mourning doves or larger species of songbirds often pass up this particular type of seed altogether.

Interestingly enough, Niger seed is not actually native to Africa where the plant originates from; instead, it was brought over by French colonizers who used it for its oil content. Since then, it has become a staple among bird enthusiasts due to its nutritional value and appeal to various species within the avian community.

Move over sunflower seeds, Niger Seed is the new bird crack – and it’s not just for the finches anymore.

What is Niger Seed?

Niger seed, a small and oily black seed, is also known as thistle, ramtil or Niger. It comes from the yellow-flowered plant named Guizotia abyssinica and is native to Ethiopia and India. These seeds are high in protein and fat content that make them nutritious and healthy. The birds that enjoy this seed include finches, sparrows, buntings, siskins, goldfinches, redpolls and more.

Niger seed is primarily grown for oil extraction and considered an important oilseed crop. However, its small size makes it difficult to harvest commercially for bird food purposes. Hence it’s more expensive than other bird seeds but preferred by many bird enthusiasts as it attracts beautiful songbirds like goldfinches who adore its nutty taste.

One unique factor regarding niger seed is that unlike sunflower seeds or safflower seeds which spill underneath bird feeders creating a mess underfoot for both birds and gardeners; Niger seeds do not generate clutter due to their small size. Finally, Niger’s organic nature makes it an ideal low-waste garden staple used by eco-conscious individuals planting hedges to attract little birds such as flocks of tits that consume these heart-healthy tasty treats during winter.

Once upon a time in New York City’s Central Park observatory tower sat dedicated birdwatcher Mr Marcus eager to identify species visiting his feeders when he decided to try out the niger seed he had not tested before. Turns out he had stumbled on something golden when large students of vibrant goldfinches merrily chomped away on his gifted treat before frolicking across the park gathering more friends one handful at a time!

Why are birds so nuts for Niger Seed?” Maybe it’s because it’s like birdie crack – addictive and irresistible.

Why do birds like Niger Seed?

Niger seed is a favorite among birds due to its high-fat content and rich nutritional value. The tiny black seed is packed with essential nutrients such as protein, oils, and minerals that promote healthy growth, coloration, and metabolism in birds. The high oil content of Niger seeds also helps to keep birds warm during cold weather conditions. Additionally, these seeds are easy for birds to digest due to their small size and thin shell.

Niger seed is also known to attract a wide variety of colorful bird species such as finches, siskins, goldfinches, doves, and house sparrows. This is because Niger seeds have a mild taste compared to other birdseed varieties that often have added flavors or preservatives that can be off-putting for some birds. Thus, Niger seeds provide a natural and nutritious source of food for different bird species throughout the year.

Furthermore, Niger seeds can be offered in different types of bird feeders such as tube feeders or mesh feeders which prevent the seeds from spilling on the ground or attracting unwanted pests like squirrels or rats.

In addition to being a popular choice amongst garden birds, Niger seed has an interesting cultural significance in its native land of Ethiopia where it is used for food and oil production. It is also believed to have medicinal properties that help alleviate various health problems.

Why did the bird choose Niger Seed? Because it’s the seediest choice out there.

Which birds like Niger Seed?

Some avian species prefer Niger Seed over other kinds of bird feed. These birds are known to be small and vibrant, and the Niger Seed provides them with just the right amount of protein and nutrients.

  • The tiny American Goldfinches love eating Niger Seeds for their nourishing properties.
  • Another bird that relishes these seeds is the House Finch.
  • A third species that adores Niger Seed is the Redpoll, a winter visitor to many places in North America.

Niger seeds are not only fit for birds’ health but are also easy to digest and help keep their feathers shiny. These attributes attract a lot of different species, such as Pine Siskin and Common Sparrow.

Finding quality Niger Seeds can sometimes be a challenge because not all types are accessible for birds or efficiently processed. In some cases, oil could develop on low-quality seeds, which can be harmful to birds if ingested.

A friend of mine had the pleasure of watching colourful finches feeding on Niger Seed in her garden. She even took pictures! It’s lovely to see how much joy something so small can bring, both to humans and birds alike.

Niger Seed: The bird equivalent of a five-star restaurant.

How to attract birds with Niger Seed

Niger Seed is a popular choice for bird lovers who want to create a welcoming environment for their feathered friends in the garden. Below are some strategies to effectively attract birds with Niger Seeds.

  1. Provide niger seed feeders.
  2. Make sure the feeders are clean.
  3. Place the niger seed feeders in a sunny location.
  4. Use a variety of feeder styles and heights.
  5. Provide a source of water for drinking and bathing.
  6. Use squirrel-proof feeders.

Other important considerations when using niger seeds include: ensuring that they are of high quality, replacing seed regularly, placing feeders in safe locations away from predators, and following sanitation protocols.

Interestingly, Niger Seed gets its name not from the country but from its original use as a component in Nigerian cuisines.

(Source: Audubon Society)

Want to attract birds to your backyard? Leave out some food, but be warned – they might start treating your place like their personal buffet.

Tips for bird enthusiasts

For bird enthusiasts, it is important to provide their feathered friends with the right food to encourage regular visits and support their health. Here are six tips on what bird feeders should provide for their feathered guests:

  • Offer a variety of seeds, including niger seed, black oil sunflower seeds, and millet
  • Avoid using pesticide-treated seed as this can harm birds
  • Clean feeders regularly to prevent mold growth and bacterial contamination
  • Provide water nearby for drinking and bathing
  • Place the feeder in a location that is safe from predators but still easily accessible for birds
  • Consider adding natural sources of food like berry bushes or native plants around the feeder area.

Knowing which food birds like can be important for bird enthusiasts who want to attract specific visitors to their garden or backyard. However, it’s also crucial to remember that different types of birds have different preferences. By researching which species are common in their area, bird feeders can provide an optimal selection of seeds and other foods.

It is said that Audrey Hepburn herself once stated that “To truly hear the songbirds chirping you must first offer them sweet seeds“. This quote emphasizes the importance of providing the right kind of food for our feathered friends. Even modern bird experts agree that offering the right kind of seed-like Niger Seed is crucial in getting beautiful birds flying around your backyard.

Looks like Niger seed is a hit among birds, but it’s a hard pass for anyone with a nut allergy.


To Conclude, Niger Seed is a popular food choice for many bird species. Its small size and high oil content make it an ideal source of energy during cold winter months. It attracts finches, sparrows, buntings, and even doves to your garden.

Additionally, the seed’s thin shells make it easily accessible to birds of all sizes while reducing the amount of waste that falls on the ground.

It’s worth noting that while Niger Seeds are an excellent supplement to a bird’s diet, they should not be their sole source of food. A balanced diet containing seeds, fruits, and insects will ensure that birds receive all necessary nutrients.

To attract birds to your garden using Niger Seeds, you can try using a specialized feeder or adding them to a custom seed mix.

Overall, providing Niger Seed for birds in your garden is a simple but effective way to encourage biodiversity and add some life and color to your surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Niger seed, and why do birds like it?

Niger seed is a very small black seed that originates from Ethiopia, known for its high oil content. Birds love it because it’s high in calories, and it’s a great source of protein and fatty acids.

What types of birds eat Niger seed?

Niger seed is most popular among finches, such as goldfinches, siskins, redpolls, and pine siskins. However, other small birds such as house sparrows and doves will also eat them.

Where can I buy Niger seed?

You can buy Niger seed from almost any birding supply store or pet food store. You can also purchase them online from various retailers.

How do I attract birds that like Niger seed to my bird feeder?

The best way to attract birds that enjoy Niger seed is to put it in a feeder specifically designed for thistle seeds. These feeders have small holes that keep the seeds from spilling out.

How should Niger seed be stored?

Niger seed should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to prevent moisture and pests from contaminating the seeds.

Is Niger seed safe for birds?

Yes, Niger seed is perfectly safe for birds and is a popular food source among many species. However, it’s important to make sure the seed is fresh and free from mold, which can be harmful to birds.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.