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21 Animals That Eat Birds (A to Z List of Predators)

bird

Animals that eat birds include baboons, cats, coyotes, fish, frogs, raccoons, red foxes, seals, snow foxes, snakes, squirrels, and weasels. 

Raptors such as falcons, eagles, hawks, and owls also hunt and eat other bird species.

Animals that eat birds are called avivores.

Various birds can fall prey to these predators, and while red foxes, eagles, and cats are commonly known predators of birds, many unexpected and unusual predators like baboons can also hunt and eat birds.

What Eats Birds?

1. Baboons

baboon
Scientific NameSimia hamadryas
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeOmnivore
DistributionAfrica and Arabian Peninsula

Baboons are terrestrial and diurnal primates that are primarily found in woodland and open savannah across Africa. This animal comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. 

There are six species of baboon that are omnivorous and love to eat birds of all kinds. The six species include:

  • The hamadryas baboon
  • The Guinea baboon
  • The olive baboon
  • The yellow baboon
  • The Kinda baboon 
  • The chacma baboon

Bamboo sleep on high cliffs, rocks, or in trees at night, while during the day, they search and hunt their prey, including birds that they eat.

2. Badgers

badger
Scientific NameMustelidae
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeOmnivores
DistributionNorth America, Africa, Asia, Europe

Badgers are prolific nest raiders, particularly of waterfowl such as ducks. One study from North Dakota found that 32 percent of badgers’ droppings were found to contain the remains of waterfowl.

They also eat waterfowl eggs, with 60 percent of the badgers in the study having remains of eggs in their droppings.

From this, we can deduce that badgers are very much predators to birds, and an animal that birds need to be weary of, especially when choosing where to nest.

3. Bats

bat
Scientific NameChiroptera
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeOmnivores
DistributionEverywhere except the Arctic and Antarctica

Bats are the only mammals that can fly! They make up 20% of all classified species of mammals in the world, with over 1,400 recognized species. 

Research shows that bats love to hunt and eat other birds mid-air. According to npr.org, there is solid evidence available that proves that giant noctule bats catch and eat songbirds mid-flight in Europe.

Species of bats that feed on birds include:

  • Little brown bat
  • Big brown bat
  • Hoary bat
  • Eastern red bat
  • Tricolored bat
  • Indiana bat

Bats are nocturnal predators which mostly sleep during the day but become very active at night.

See Also: Do Bears Eat Birds?

4. Cats

Scientific NameFelis catus
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeCarnivores
DistributionWorldwide (Domesticated)

Domestic house cats and wild cats such as bobcats are known to eat birds. Birds make up to 60% of a wild cat’s diet.

Research shows that domestic house cats eat approximately 500,000,000 wild birds in the United States each year. This indicates that cats can be a serious threat to local native bird populations.

Before they eat birds, feral cats cover the birds with dirt, sticks, and leaves, just as domestic cats use litter to cover them.

5. Chimpanzees

chimpanzee
Scientific NamePan troglodyte
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeOmnivore
DistributionSub-Saharan Africa

The chimpanzee is an ape species native to the savannah and tropical forest in Africa. These primates are excellent predators of various bird species. 

The four subspecies of chimpanzees that eat birds include:

  • Pan troglodytes verus
  • Pan troglodytes troglodytes
  • Pan troglodytes ellioti
  • Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii

Additionally, chimpanzees are intelligent animals that can modify grass, rocks, leaves, and sticks to hunt smaller prey like birds.

6. Coyotes

coyote
Scientific NameCanis latrans
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeOmnivore
DistributionNorth America

Coyotes are found in both cities and the countryside. This animal is often found under decks and porches, but in general will avoid human interaction. 

These bird predators are avid jumpers and diggers, and they can carry off birds with ease. Coyotes eat birds by wrapping around them and biting the back of the bird’s neck.

They are especially dangerous to birds because a pack of coyotes can finish off an entire flock in a night. And if they are unable to do so, they will keep coming back until they eat every bird in the flock.

7. Eagles

eagle
Scientific NameHaliaeetus leucocephalus (bald eagle)
Type of AnimalBird
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionWorldwide except Antarctica

Like other birds, eagles have feathers around their bodies and typically feed on other bird species, including skuas, pink robins, gulls, roadrunners, and silvereyes.

It’s believed that 28% of their diet comprises of birds, with mammals being another major food source.

Eagles are large and powerful birds with sharp claws ( 10 times more potent than humans) and massive feet. In addition, they possess hooked solid beaks, which they use for hunting smaller birds and getting flesh out of them.

Even though eagles enjoy eating other species of birds, they don’t eat their species. 

Furthermore, this raptor is powerfully-built, with great strength and a firm grip. Hence, it’s easy for them to carry and eat birds that weigh as much as five pounds.

8. Falcons

falcon
Scientific NameFalco subbuteo (type species)
Type of AnimalBird
Dietary TypeCarnivore
Distribution Worldwide except Antarctica

Falcons are similar to eagles, except they’re faster and smaller. About 40 species of falcons are found in most parts of the world, and they belong to the family of Falconidae. 

This bird of prey diet consists mainly of other bird species. It’s believed that most falcon species eat up to 99% of other birds. Hence they hunt, catch and eat smaller birds such as songbirds, pigeons, jays, blackbirds, waterfowl, starlings, grebes, ducks, gulls, and many others.

Falcons have very sharp eyesight (2.6 times better than humans), giving them an advantage when hunting smaller birds. 

Since their wings are specifically designed for speed, they hunt other birds by speeding towards and catching them unaware. Then they use their long sharp talons to grab these prey before they eat them.

9. Fish

northern pike
Scientific NameEsox lucius (northern pike)
Type of AnimalFish
Dietary TypeOmnivores
DistributionWorldwide

There are predatory fish like African tigerfish which feed on aquatic birds (e.g. penguins) and other species of birds that fly close to the water’s surface.

Other fish that are known to eat birds include the Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass.

Fish are known to partially beach themselves to hunt birds whose visit to popular drinking holes close to the water’s edge is predictable. 

Meanwhile, the African tigerfish can amazingly jump out of the water to catch birds that fly close to the water surface.

10. Bird-Eating Frog

Scientific NameLimnonectes megastomias
Type of AnimalAmphibians
Dietary TypeCarnivores
DistributionThailand

Giant frogs have voracious appetites and can devour anything that comes their way, including birds!

In 2009, scientists discovered a species of frog called the Khorat big-mouthed frog (a fanged frog) in Thailand. This frog species usually stays close to streams, pouncing on unsuspecting birds that generally come for water.

In addition, it was noted that the Khorat big-mouthed frog is capable of catching and eating life birds.

Further studies show the presence of feathers in the animal’s digestive tract, proving their dietary preferences for birds.

11. Hawks

hawk eating a bird
Scientific NameButeo jamaicensis (red tailed hawk)
Type of AnimalBird
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionWorldwide

Hawks are birds of prey well known for hunting and eating birds like doves and baby chicks. They’re mostly found sitting on lamps in big cities and soaring the skies in rural areas.

When hawks go for a bird flock, they will only predate one or two birds and save the rest later. Hawks usually cut the bird’s head off and eat the innards and breast meat.

In addition, hawks possess sharp vision, which makes them dangerous predators of smaller birds. Generally, male hawks are smaller than females.

While there are over 200 species of birds known to be eaten by hawks, typically, hawks will try to eat landfowl such as chickens and turkeys. This is because they’re much easier to catch and often much meatier than other types of birds.

12. Mink

mink chewing bones
Scientific NameNeogale vison (American mink)
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionNorth America and Europe

Mink are cousins of weasels and ferrets and are found in both Europe and America, including now South America due to introduction by humans.

They’re known to eat just about anything they can get their hands on, including mammals, fish, and birds. While fish compose most of their diet (Mink are excellent swimmers and considered semi-aquatic), studies of their droppings also reveal that birds make up a fair part of their diets.

European mink tend to eat ducks and moorhens, while American mink commonly prey upon dippers and pine grosbeaks.

13. Owls

owl eating a bird
Scientific NameStrix aluco (tawny owl)
Type of AnimalBird
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionWorldwide

Owls are bird predators who hunt during the night. These animals rely on their excellent vision in the dark to catch their prey.

This nocturnal animal loves to eat other species of birds. However, they focus on catching the young ones. Owls hardly go for adult birds because they’re too big, but they can do it if the birds are unprepared.

There is a wide range of owl species around the world, and while all owls are known to eat birds, some do so more than others. It’s believed the pygmy owl is a specialist bird hunter, while many others are simply opportunistic carnivores.

14. Raccoons

raccoon
Scientific NameProcyon lotor
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeOmnivores
DistributionNorth America

Raccoons have adorable faces, which may make them seem harmless. However, this animal loves to ransack bird nests in search of little birds to eat.

They are nocturnal animals that are opportunistic when it comes to hunting adult birds. They would instead scavenge for carrion meat to eat, or better still, find any injured adult birds in the wild.

Raccoons are omnivorous animals that usually stay in tree cavities. Hence they find young birds as easy prey to target.

15. Red Foxes

red fox
Scientific NameVulpes vulpes
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionNorth America, Europe, Asia. Introduced Species in Australia.

Red foxes love eating birds, and they use strategies similar to raccoons to hunt. This predator has the patience to wait for a chance to strike, which could see them waiting for several hours before they pounce on their prey. 

Most times, the red fox will raid nests, young birds, and eggs. Large hawks are also notorious for going after smaller hawks!

Furthermore, red foxes feel confident against chicks because they are not experienced fliers and may not be as strong and prepared for nest raids as the adult birds.

16. Snow Foxes

arctic fox
Scientific NameVulpes lagopus
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionArctic

The Snow fox is a small fox found in the entire Arctic tundra biome. 

They are also called the arctic fox, polar fox, or white fox. This animal loves hunting and eating birds like seabirds(marine birds). 

Snow foxes prefer to live in cold areas, and they have warm, thick fur that helps them against cold and serves as camouflage. 

17. Squirrels

squirrel
Scientific NameSciurus vulgaris (red squirrel)
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeOmnivore
DistributionNorth America, Europe

Squirrels are known to eat injured birds and their young. 

These small animals are found in nearly every habitat, including tropical rainforest and semiarid deserts. However, squirrels can’t live in the driest of deserts or high polar regions, making some birds like penguins safe from squirrels.

Squirrels can scale tree limbs and trunks because they are experienced foragers. Hence, they can raid birds’ nests in search of unhatched eggs to eat.

18. Seals

seal
Scientific NameHalichoerus grypus (grey seal)
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionColder waters, Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Seals are marine animals primarily found in the colder waters of the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.

This animal loves to feed on different species of birds like the penguin.

Some species of seals that prey on seabirds include:

  • New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri)
  • Southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina)
  • Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
  • Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) 
  • Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus

Seals prefer to stay in marine environments, although they can live in freshwater. Furthermore, this aggressive marine predator can hunt in the water and on land. They also target nesting colonies nearby to prey on young and inexperienced birds.

19. Snakes

red snake
Scientific NameSerpentes
Type of AnimalReptiles
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionWorldwide except some islands such as Hawaii, New Zealand and Ireland

Snakes are common in most parts of the world. These reptiles are predators of both chicks and eggs in bird nests.

Snakes like pythons or boas will catch unwary birds when they accidentally come close. Then, they will constrict the birds and swallow them.

Furthermore, many small snakes can raid unprotected birdhouses to hunt for brooding adults and their young. Similarly, bird feeders attract snakes, but it’s believed primarily this is because bird feeders also attract rodents, which are most snakes’ preferred food. However, many birds also eat snakes, so a fight often ensues with the victor getting a meal!

Go Deeper: Do Snakes Eat Birds?

20. Vultures

vulture
Scientific NameGypiinae
Type of AnimalBird
Dietary TypeOmnivores
DistributionWorldwide except Antarctica and Australia

A vulture is a raptor (bird of prey) that scavenges on carrion meat, including birds.

There are 23 extant species of this scavenging bird predator, which includes:

  • Old World vultures: comprises sixteen living species native to Africa, Asia, and Europe.
  • New World vultures: comprises seven species restricted to North America and South America 

Vultures rarely go after healthy birds, but they may take them down if they encounter injured or sick ones. 

21. Weasels

weasel
Scientific NameMustela erminea
Type of AnimalMammal
Dietary TypeCarnivore
DistributionEuropes, North America, Northern South America, Asia

Weasels are predatory mammals that feed on various species of birds. They have slender bodies and short legs, which helps them to follow their prey through burrows. 

These animals are found in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and small areas in North Africa.

Some species of weasels that eat beds include;

  • Mustela erminea
  • Mustela altaica
  • Mustela richardsonii
  • Mustela eversmannii
  • Mustela haidarum
  • Mustela furo
  • Mustela kathiah
  • Mustela itatsi
  • Mustela lutreola

Weasels sometimes eat birds like chickens. They love to eat the head and entrails of chickens. Their body structure helps them get around tight corners and hunt for adults, chickens, and young chicks.

Conclusion

Animals that eat birds include mammals (such as bats, weasels, or bamboos), birds of prey (such as eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls), and aquatic creatures (such as seals and fish). Reptiles like snakes love to eat birds as well.

Due to their ability to fly, birds often manage to escape predators, so the most common way birds are caught are either through nest raids (especially for chicks) or stalking (such as is the case with cats predating birds).

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