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Feasting in the Wild: What Do Wild Birds Eat?

Wild birds are a common sight in many parts of the world. Their life and instinct always fascinate peoples who are wildlife explorers.

Thus, you probably have wondered sometimes, what do wild birds eat? Well, they have a diverse diet. It includes seeds, fruits, vegetables, insects, dead animals, and in some cases, garbage.

This article takes a closer look at wild bird diets and the different types of food they consume. So if you’re wondering what wild birds eat, read on!


What do Wild Birds Eat? Different Species and their Diet

Just like life in the wild or on a mountain, wild birds’ food habit is diverse too. Let’s take a quick look at some of the wild birds and their diets in the table below.

Bird Species Diet
Sparrow Seeds, fruits, insects, spiders
Finch Seeds, fruits, insects, spiders
Woodpecker Insects, grubs, fruits, nuts
Humming Bird Nectar, small insects, and spiders
Pigeon Seeds, fruits, plants, insects
Blue Jay Seeds, fruits, nuts, insects, spiders, small reptiles 
Osprey Fish, amphibians, small animals
Bald Eagle Fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, etc.
Hawks Small animals, birds, insects

Please note that this table is not a comprehensive list of all wild birds and their diets. The diets and dietary requirements of different bird species vary depending on their location, season, and availability of food.

Wild birds, though, are numerous. If we had everything categorized, the conversation would be easier to follow. As an example, consider some common foods and the birds that eat them.

Seed and Fruit Eaters

In this category, only the birds which like to consume fruits or seeds are added. The list is pretty long, anyways.

Sparrows, finches, bluejays, and pigeons are examples of birds that primarily eat seeds and fruits. These birds forage for seeds on the ground, in bushes and trees, or from bird feeders. 

They also eat a variety of fruits, such as berries, cherries, and other small fruits available in their natural habitat.

It is often said that these birds have beaks and claws that are friendly for cracking seeds and fruits. They have a varied diet that includes sunflower seeds, millet, safflower, and safflower seeds, which they can find at bird feeders. Besides, they even feed on insects and spiders to supplement their diet.

Insect Eaters

Some species, such as Woodpeckers, Baltimore orioles, and many species of hawks are examples of birds that eat insects. 

These birds consume a variety of insects, such as beetles, caterpillars, ants,  flies, ants, moths, aphids, grasshoppers, and termites, as food sources. They have specialized beaks and claws that help them catch and consume insects. 

Insect-eating birds have developed specific foraging behaviors that allow them to locate and catch insects. 

For example, woodpeckers use their strong, chiseled beaks to peck at the bark of trees in search of insects, grubs, and other wood-boring insects. Hawks, on the other hand, have sharp talons that help them catch and kill insects and small mammals.

Nectar Eaters

Hummingbirds are an excellent example of birds that primarily eat nectar. They feed on nectar from flowers. Occasionally supplementing their diet with small insects and spiders for protein. 

These birds can reach deep inside flowers to get nectar because of their long beaks and tongues. They are known to visit different kinds of flowers throughout the day to consume nectar. They also feed on small insects and spiders for protein and other essential nutrients.

Fish Eaters

Ospreys and bald eagles are birds that are known to eat fish. These birds prey on fish in rivers and oceans and also search for dead fish along the coast. Ospreys have long, narrow wings and sharp talons that allow them to dive into the water and catch fish. 

Bald eagles also have sharp talons and powerful beaks that allow them to catch and kill fish, as well as other small mammals and reptiles.

Except for Bald Eagles and Ospreys, other bird species such as pelicans, great Cormorants, kingfishers, and some birds are known as fish eaters as well.


Vultures and Ravens are examples of carnivorous birds. They mostly feed on small mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects. They also scavenge for carrions. 

These birds have sharp talons and beaks that allow them to catch and kill their prey. Vultures are known to hunt small mammals like mice, voles, and rabbits.

Ravens, on the other hand, are known to hunt for fish and other small aquatic animals. They also scavenge for carriers like dead fish and animals to supplement their diet.


If you are still here, I can assume you are eager to learn a little bit more. Have a look at this section. 

Can wild birds eat pet food?

Wild birds should not be fed pet food as it is not formulated for their nutritional needs. Pet food is intended for dogs, cats, and other domestic animals. It may not provide the necessary nutrients for wild birds.

When is the favorite time for wild birds to consume food?

Wild birds may have different preferred mealtimes depending on the species and their particular eating habits. While some birds might prefer to eat in the morning, others might be more active in the late afternoon or evening.

Do wild birds benefit from avocados?

No, despite frequent claims to the contrary, avocados may not be beneficial to wild birds. Avocados have a substance called persin that, in large doses, can be poisonous to birds.


Wild birds are fascinating creatures in all shapes and sizes, each with unique diet preferences. Understanding the different types of foods that wild birds eat can help us better appreciate these beautiful creatures. So, what wild birds eat is a question that requires to be answered and described. 

Because from seed and fruit eaters to insect and nectar eaters, wild birds have a wide range of dietary needs. As we learn more about wild birds and their dietary needs, we can take steps to help protect and conserve these important members of our ecosystem.

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