What Eats Birds?

Birds come in many shapes, colors, and are found in virtually every different type of habitat on earth. With over 10,000 different species, it’s impossible to list every single natural predator.

It depends on the species and the location of course.

There are however, two species that have no known natural predators: a healthy adult golden eagle, which has no natural predators; and California condors which have no known natural predators other than humans.

Eggs, chicks, and immature eagles will fall prey to some of the predators listed below. And of course, like condors, eagles have to beware of human hunters.



What Animals Eat Birds?

Birds of all sizes can easily turn into meals for hungry predators, including domestic ones.

In the United States of America alone, Studies have suggested that domestic outdoor house cats are the biggest threat to birds. In the United States and Canada, they kill (on average) 2.4 billion birds every year.

And, of course, there are many other predators who will happily snack on our feathered flying friends.

We explore some of them below.

1. Mammals

Domestic cats are not the only danger to birds.

Dogs, bobcats, weasels, foxes, raccoons, bears, wolves, and coyotes will also take advantage of a juicy bird.

Bears, wolves, and coyotes are the animals that occasionally threaten young golden eagles, and could be seen as potential predators of condors, as well.

Seabirds, like penguins, also need to be on the lookout for marine mammals such as seals. Seals will often hunt near nesting colonies to gain access to easier prey in the form of young seabirds.

2. Other Birds

While birds don’t usually eat their own species, larger birds often prey on smaller birds. Some raptors (birds of prey) like falcons, owls, and eagles will even raid the nests of other raptors to eat the eggs.

Birds who eat other birds tend to prefer going after fledglings, chicks, and eggs as they are simply easier prey than mature adult birds.

Some of the species of birds who eat other birds include: crows, jays, gulls, skuas (predatory seabirds related to gulls), and roadrunners.

3. Snakes and Frogs

Most snakes are simply not quick enough to catch a bird that easily fly away to escape. However, that doesn’t really stop them from dining on bird when given the opportunity.

Boas and pythons will prey on eggs and nests.

Some snakes sneakily lie in wait for the opportunity to eat a bird. For example, the Cantil snake takes advantage of the bright yellow tip of its tail, which just happens to look like work. When an unsuspecting bird approaches, attack! Without even knowing the bird ends up in the snake’s stomach.

Similarly, large-mouthed frog species like the Khorat-frog and the American Bullfrog are ambush predators. Given the opportunity, they will eat anything they can swallow, including birds.

4. Insects

Many birds eat insects, but there are also insects that eat birds. Praying mantises and orb-weaver spiders lie in wait near hummingbird feeders and flowers so they can feast on these rapid-winged delights.

Mantises grab the tiny birds by their neck and start nibbling away. Orb-weavers simply use the power of their webs. Stinging insects like wasps and hornets will also go after a bird that comes too close to its nests.

5. Sea Anemone

This might surprise you, as sea anemones aren’t exactly the fastest animals in existence. Still, they can sometimes trap seabirds, wading birds, gull chicks, or injured birds.

The bird might be lucky enough to escape, but sometimes they simply become a meal. Alternatively, sea anemone simply eats birds who were unlucky enough to get stuck somehow and drown.

6. Plants

Okay, so plants aren’t animals. Still, its interesting to know that carnivorous plants also eat birds. Pitcher plants attract birds to their delicious nectar.

The birds come in for a drink and get trapped in the deep well of the plant, where they remain while the plant slowly digests this healthy treat.

Clearly birds have a lot of natural enemies, including human beings. It really depends a little bit on location, species, and good or bad luck. There is even evidence that dinosaurs regularly feasted on prehistoric birds.

Read on for more interesting facts about what eats birds.

What Eats Birds of Prey?

We’ve already mentioned that Golden Eagles and California Condors don’t really have natural predators.

Many birds of prey stay at the top of the food chain, because of their size, strength, ability to fly, talons, and stealth. However, the young of most species are vulnerable and will be eaten if a predator has the opportunity.

The enemies really depend on the species. For example, healthy adult owls rarely turn into someone’s meal.

However, injured owls and baby owls will become dinner to other owls, opossums, foxes, and crows. Even adult owls sometimes fall prey to hawks, ravens, or other owls because of disputes over territory. After all, it is a bird-eat-bird world.

What Spider Eats Birds?

As mentioned earlier, orb-weaver spiders often eat hummingbirds. Their strong webs can span three feet across, and can easily capture a bird or a bat.

Yet they are not the only spiders that eat birds. Goliath bird eating tarantulas are the biggest tarantulas in the world (with bodies of about 4.75 inches and a leg span of up to 11 inches).

Their name really says it all, they eat birds. They actually eat anything smaller than they are, which includes mice, frogs, and lizards.

What Fish Eats Birds?

At first you might think that birds are safe from fish, because one can fly and the other remains in water. That would be incorrect. Seabirds often float on the water, giving predators like sharks easy access.

Other fish, like African tigerfish, have mastered the art of jumping out of the water to catch swifts, swallows, and other birds flying near the surface in search of a snack or a drink.

Giant Trevally, a fish that usually eats other fish, will occasionally leap out of the water to get a special avian treat. At least one has been caught on film catching a sooty tern midair.

What Hawk Eats Birds?

Another stealthy hunter near the top of the avian food chain is the Cooper’s Hawk. They eat mostly medium-sized birds and small mammals. This includes robins, jays, and flickers, but occasionally they will eat larger or smaller birds.

They hunt by hiding perched in the cover of the trees until they can swoop on their prey with a burst of speed.