Bird diets and insects


Birds are small, but they are excellent hunters and scavengers. Just like us, birds need to eat. The smallest birds need to eat species that are even smaller than them!

A wren with a green caterpillar in its mouth.

The Wren is a very common bird that you might see in your garden or a local park

Like many other small song birds, Wrens love to eat insects. Insects are high in protein and give birds a lot of energy.

A wren sitting on a stump.

All sorts of creepy crawlies are very important for our ecosystem.

Wren's song (click play above)

Our ecosystems depend on insects, and birds eating them is a vital part of our food chain.

Insects provide a great food source for birds, but they also help out birds in other ways. Can you think of one? (click here to reveal)

Insects are pollinators! They help grow flowers and fruits that birds can eat.

What sort of insects do you think birds eat? Do you know how baby birds are able to eat food?

What do small baby birds eat?

Insects are pretty small as is, so how do you find something even smaller? The answer is… baby insects! 

These are called larvae: an undeveloped form of an insect. At this stage it doesn’t have wings yet, and it looks a bit like a regular worm. 

These little insects won’t put up any kind of defense so they’re easy pickings for birds!

Seeds and nuts provide excellent sources of protein and carbohydrates to give birds energy and to help them grow.

A House Sparrow eating seeds from a feeder whilst landing.

The House Sparrow has a big appetite. Not only do they eat seeds, they also love to eat scraps left by humans.

Sparrow's call (click play above)

A House Sparrow sitting on a stump.

Wren love to hang around in gardens, or even in city centres, as well as on farms (because these have many seeds!)

In the winter time, seeds are a vital food source for most birds. As the temperature drops, some fruit and berries struggle to grow, and so birds turn to other foods.

Do birds only eat seeds and nuts in the winter?

Nuts are a source of fat for birds. Did you know there are such things as healthy fats? Birds need healthy fats to keep their feathers healthy and strong. Seeds and nuts are great sources of healthy fats for humans, too.

Juvenile House Sparrows eating seeds and nuts from a bird feeder.