What Bugs Do Birds Eat


Birds are known to be voracious insect eaters, and their diets often consist of bugs like beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. Insects provide an excellent source of protein for birds, especially during breeding season where the demand for food is high. Moreover, birds also consume spiders, ants, and other crawling insects. Interestingly, some birds also feed on flying insects such as moths, flies, and mosquitoes. As per their dietary requirements and seasonal needs, different species of birds target various types of pests to satiate their hunger pangs.

Pro Tip: Attract more insect-eating birds to your yard by planting native plants that are natural hosts to insects or set up bird feeders with mealworms or crickets as bait.

Who knew that birds were such avid entomologists? These feathered bug-gobblers have a vast palate of creepy-crawlies to choose from.

Types of Bugs that Birds Eat

Birds are known to feed on a variety of insects and other small organisms as part of their diet. These tiny creatures not only serve as a source of nutrition for birds but also help to control the population of pests in the environment. Here are some examples of the types of bugs that birds eat:

  • Beetles: The hard exoskeletons of beetles provide an excellent source of protein for many species of birds, especially in their larval stage when they contain more fat.
  • Ants: Ants are a great source of protein and can be found in abundance throughout most ecosystems, making them an easy prey item for many bird species.
  • Flies: Birds often feed on flies due to their slow-moving nature and high supply in certain areas. They can also target specific types, such as fruit flies or house flies.
  • Caterpillars: Though caterpillars might seem less appetizing than other insects, they serve as a crucial source of food for growing birds because they’re high in nutrients and easy to catch.

Birds use different techniques to capture these types of bugs depending on their hunting behaviour, diet and adaptation. For example, some aerial hunters like swifts have been known to eat over 5000 insects per day while others prefer hunting from a perch or by searching for prey on the ground. Interestingly, some birds have developed unique strategies for consuming certain insect species. For instance, woodpeckers use their specialized bills to drill into tree trunks where they extract beetle larvae that live beneath the bark.

A study by the University of Illinois found that one third of songbirds’ diet consists mainly of insects during breeding season {source}. This indicates how important bugs are for bird populations worldwide. As we can see from these examples, there’s no shortage of bug options available to birds who require this kind of protein-rich dietary supplement.

Birds may have a reputation for being cute and innocent, but don’t be fooled – they’re actually fierce bug-consumers, and they love every bit of the crunchy goodness.

Benefits of Eating Bugs for Birds

Birds and their affinity for insects are a fascinating subject. These creatures tend to thrive on bugs, which not only provides them with necessary nourishment but also keeps other insects at bay. The benefits of consuming insects for birds are numerous and positively impact several aspects of their lives.

  • Rich in Nutrients: Bugs provide an excellent source of protein, minerals and vitamins that help maintain the overall health of birds.
  • Keeps Pest Population Under Control: Consuming insects helps prevent an uncontrolled increase in insect populations, which could have detrimental effects on the environment at large.
  • Maintenance of Natural Ecosystems: Birds play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of natural ecosystems by controlling pest populations through eating insects.
  • Fueling Migration: Insects serve as a high-energy food source during migration seasons when birds need sufficient fuel to cover long distances.

Furthermore, it’s interesting to note that some species of birds specialize in consuming certain types of insects, such as woodpeckers that primarily prey on wood-boring beetles. It highlights how each species’ diet is best suited to meet its unique nutritional needs.

Pro Tip: Attracting birds to your garden can be as simple as placing a few birdfeeders stocked with seeds or hanging a few insect-friendly plants like marigolds or daisies.

Looks like these birds are not only experts in flying, but also in snacking on those pesky bugs.

Common Bird Species that Eat Bugs

Birds are known to be natural predators of insects like bugs. Many common bird species have a natural tendency to feed on insects, contributing positively to the ecological balance. A variety of birds regularly consume various kinds of bugs, making them an essential part of the food web.

  • Some common bird species that eat bugs include American Robins, Barn Swallows, and Blue Jays.
    • American Robins thrive on worms but also enjoy feeding on beetles and caterpillars.
    • Barn Swallows catch flying insects such as midges and mosquitoes in flight.
    • Blue Jays primarily prefer grasshoppers and crickets but will also eat spiders and snails.

There are many other bird varieties that feed on bugs such as warblers, swallows, wrens, and woodpeckers. They play a vital role in controlling bugs within their ecosystems.

Some species that aren’t typically associated with consuming insects also turn to the occasional bug for their diet. For example, birds like chickens or turkeys will consume bugs that they find while foraging.

It’s interesting to note that many farmers invite certain bird species onto their land due to their helpful insect-controlling abilities. According to Michigan State University’s Extension Service, one songbird like chickadees alone can help reduce 2000 arthropods during growing seasons annually.

As per research by University Wisconsin-Madison states Chickadee help reduce pest population which leads to healthier gardens.

Looks like birds have a taste for bugs, so next time you’re snacking on some crickets, remember to share with your feathery friends.


This article shows the vast variety of bugs that birds consume. From insects like beetles, caterpillars, and moths to larger insects like grasshoppers and crickets; birds have a diverse diet. They even eat spiders and other arachnids. Certain species of birds are known for eating ants, termites, and other small invertebrates. Birds also feed on snails, slugs, and earthworms as they provide valuable nutrients such as calcium. So next time you see a bird flitting about in your garden, know that it may be helping you get rid of pesky bugs.

Birds play a vital role in controlling insect populations thus maintaining ecological balance by preying on them. When we think about what bug birds eat, we must consider not just the type of food but also the nutritional content provided by these insects, which is crucial to their survival.

It is fascinating to note that while most people associate birds with seeds or fruit diets, many species feed predominantly on insects throughout much of their life cycle. Understanding this dietary preference helps us to prevent certain insect infestations by encouraging bird populations around our homes.

Next time you’re out observing nature or working in your garden, take some time to admire the beautiful sights while keeping an eye on the dynamic interaction between birds and bugs. Don’t miss out on this captivating natural world!

Frequently Asked Questions

What bugs do birds eat?

Birds eat a variety of bugs, including spiders, beetles, caterpillars, ants, termites, mosquitoes, flies, and grasshoppers.

Why do birds eat bugs?

Birds eat bugs as a source of protein and other nutrients. They also help keep bug populations in check, which can have a positive impact on ecosystems.

Do all birds eat bugs?

No, not all birds eat bugs. Some birds, such as hummingbirds, primarily feed on nectar and insects are only a small part of their diet. Other birds, like owls, primarily eat rodents and small mammals.

What are the benefits of birds eating bugs?

Birds eating bugs can help control pest populations, which can be beneficial for crops and gardens. Additionally, bugs are a good source of nutrition for birds and help sustain their health and energy levels.

How can I attract bug-eating birds to my yard?

You can attract bug-eating birds to your yard by setting up bird feeders and bird baths. Planting certain plants, such as sunflowers and coneflowers, can also attract bugs that birds like to eat. It’s also important to provide a safe and comfortable habitat for birds.

Is it harmful for birds to eat bugs that have been sprayed with pesticides?

Yes, it can be harmful for birds to eat bugs that have been sprayed with pesticides. Pesticides can harm birds and other wildlife, and it’s important to limit their use and avoid spraying in areas where birds are present.

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.