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30 Birds that Eat Other Birds (A to Z List with Pictures)

30 Birds that Eat Other Birds

Examples of birds that eat other birds include the American robin, bald eagle, black-billed magpie, bluebirds, and brown-headed cowbird.

While cannibalism is not common among all bird species, there are a few that do occasionally prey on their own kind. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the birds that eat other birds and find out why they do it.

Examples of Birds that Eat Other Birds

1. American Robin

American Robin
Scientific NameTurdus migratorius
Type of AnimalBird
Rangealmost anywhere south of Canada

The American robin is a common sight in many backyards and gardens, but what some people may not know is that this friendly-looking bird is actually a cannibal. American robins have been known to kill and eat other robins, especially when the weather is cold and food is scarce.

It is thought that the reason they do this is that they are trying to get rid of competition for food, but it is also possible that they simply view other robins as a source of food.

Related Article: 29 Birds that Can Swim

2. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
Scientific NameHaliaeetus leucocephalus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemost of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico

The bald eagle is one of the most well-known bird species in North America. It is also one of the few birds of prey that will eat other birds. Bald eagles typically hunt fish, but they will also eat small mammals and birds. In some cases, they have been known to kill and eat larger birds, such as geese and ducks.

Related Article: 30 Birds that Fly South for Winter

3. Black-Billed Magpie

Black-Billed Magpie
Scientific NamePica hudsonia
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeamong the meadows, grasslands, and sagebrush plains of the West

The Black-billed Magpie is a scavenger and will often eat carrion, but they will also kill and eat small birds. It is thought that they do this to supplement their diet with protein and fat.

Related Article: 29 Birds that Run

4. Bluebirds

Bluebird
Scientific NameSialia
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewest of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico

Bluebirds are one of the few bird species that will eat other birds. While they typically eat insects, they have been known to kill and eat small birds. It is believed that they do this to get extra protein during nesting season.

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5. Brown-Headed Cowbird

Brown-Headed Cowbird
Scientific NameMolothrus ater
Type of AnimalBird
Rangefields, pastures, meadows, forest edges, and lawns

The Brown-Headed Cowbird is a small black bird with a brown head. This bird is a native of North America and can be found in woodlands and prairies.

The Brown-Headed Cowbird is a parasitic bird, meaning that it does not build its own nest or care for its young. Instead, the female will lay her eggs in the nest of another bird species. The host bird will then raise the cowbird chicks as its own.

6. Canada Jay

Canada Jay
Scientific NamePerisoreus canadensis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeevergreen (especially spruce) and mixed evergreen-deciduous forest across the boreal forest of the northern United States and Canada

The Canada Jay is a member of the crow family and is one of the few birds that will eat other birds. They have been known to kill and eat other birds, such as ptarmigans, grouse, and even songbirds. The reason they do this is that they are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any food source they can find.

7. Chicken

chicken
Scientific NameGallus gallus domesticus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide

Of all the bird species that engage in cannibalism, chickens are perhaps the most well-known. Chickens will sometimes peck other chickens to death, and they have also been known to eat newly hatched chicks. While it is not clear why chickens engage in cannibalism, it is thought that it may be due to a lack of food or water, or stress.

8. Common Raven

common raven
Scientific NameCorvus corax
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeacross the Arctic regions and temperate regions of North America and Eurasia and far south to the mountains of South America and North Africa

The Common Raven is one of the most well-known bird species that engage in cannibalism. Ravens are known to kill and eat other birds, including their own young.

One study found that Common Ravens will even eat eggs if they are available. It is thought that the reason Ravens engage in cannibalism is that they are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of whatever food is available to them.

9. Eastern Kingbird

eastern kingbird
Scientific NameTyrannus tyrannus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemost of eastern North America, from the Gulf of Mexico north to central Canada, as far east as the Atlantic ocean

This North American bird is known to eat other birds, including eastern bluebirds, northern flickers, and purple martins. The kingbird will sometimes even kill adult birds in order to feed their young.

10. Falcons

falcon
Scientific NameFalco
Type of AnimalBird
Rangealong mountain ranges, river valleys, and coastlines

The falcon is a raptor or bird of prey, and as such, it is built for hunting. Falcons typically hunt small mammals like mice or rats, but they will also take other birds if the opportunity presents itself.

11. Finches

House Finch
Scientific NameFringillidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout the temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere and South America and in parts of Africa

Finches are a type of bird that is known to eat other birds on occasion. While the practice is not common among all species of finch, there are some that will engage in cannibalism if the opportunity presents itself. One reason why finches may eat other birds is that they are looking for an easy meal.

12. Fish Eagle

African Fish Eagle
Scientific NameHaliaeetus vocifer
Type of AnimalBird
Rangenext to bodies of water of almost any type and size

The fish eagle is a large bird of prey that can be found near bodies of water all over the world. These eagles typically eat fish, but they have been known to kill and eat other birds on occasion. Oftentimes, these other birds are young chicks or weak adults that would not be able to survive in the wild on their own.

Related Article: 15 Birds that Look Like Eagles

13. Grackles

Grackles
Scientific NameQuiscalus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewet, open woodland and marshes as well as in suburbs, parks, and agricultural fields

The great-tailed grackle is a large, iridescent blackbird that is found in parts of North and South America. These birds are known to eat other birds, and their diet consists of mostly insects and small animals. However, they have been known to kill and eat other grackles.

14. Gray Catbird

Gray Catbirds
Scientific NameDumetella carolinensis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemost of temperate North America east of the Rocky Mountains

The Gray Catbird is a North American songbird that is known to occasionally eat other birds. It has been observed eating both eggs and nestlings of other bird species, as well as adult birds

15. Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Scientific NameBubo virginianus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangepractically all habitats in North America, from swamps to deserts to northern coniferous forests near treeline

The great horned owl is a large owl that is found in North and South America. These owls are known to be one of the most aggressive bird predators, and they have been known to kill and eat other birds, including other owls.

16. Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner
Scientific NameGeococcyx californianus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeSonoran desert and other kinds of brushy country, including chaparral and Texas brushlands

The Greater Roadrunner is a North American bird that can be found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. These birds are known to eat other birds, lizards, snakes, and rodents. On occasion, they eat other birds to get the nutrients that they need to survive.

17. Herons

heron
Scientific NameArdeidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeshallow marine waters along the coast of very southern Florida, the Yucatan Peninsula, and in the Caribbean

Herons are a type of wading bird that can be found in many different parts of the world. These birds typically eat fish, but they have been known to kill and eat other birds on occasion.

18. Kingfishers

kingfisher
Scientific NameAlcedinidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAustralia, Asia, and Africa in wooded tropical areas near water

Kingfishers are a type of bird that is known to eat other birds. They typically eat small birds, such as sparrows and finches.

19. Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk
Scientific NameAccipiter gentilis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCanada, the northern United States (including much of Alaska)

20. Northern Shrike

Northern Shrike
Scientific NameLanius excubitor
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeopen areas within the boreal forest (taiga) and especially at its northern edge

The northern goshawk is a large bird of prey that can be found in wooded areas across North America, Europe, and Asia. These birds are known to sometimes kill and eat other birds, including other goshawks. It is thought that they do this when food is scarce or if they are trying to defend their territory.

21. Owls

Great Horned Owl
Scientific NameStrigiformes
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeeverywhere in the world except Antarctica

One of the most well-known bird cannibals is the owl. Owls are nocturnal predators that hunt other animals for food, including birds. While most owls prefer to eat small mammals such as rodents or rabbits, some species will also eat birds.

22. Parrots

African Grey Parrot
Scientific NamePsittaciformes
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewarm climates all over most of the world

One of the most well-known bird species that engage in cannibalism are parrots. Parrots are social creatures and live in flocks. Occasionally, when food is scarce, they may resort to eating one of their own. This behavior is more common in captive parrots than in wild ones.

23. Pelicans

American White Pelican
Scientific NamePelecanus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeall continents except Antarctica

These large water birds have been known to eat other pelicans, as well as seabirds, ducks, and even baby turtles. While it is not clear why they do this, it is thought that it could be due to a lack of food options, or because they are trying to assert dominance over their flock.

Related Article: 19 Birds that Look Like Pelicans

24. Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird
Scientific NameAgelaius phoeniceus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangefrom southern Alaska at its northernmost point to the Yucatan peninsula

This bird is one of the most common cannibals in North America. They are known to eat other blackbirds, as well as finches, sparrows, and even their own young. It is believed that they do this in order to get extra protein and nutrients during the breeding season.

25. Skuas

skuas
Scientific NameStercorariidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAntarctica

Skuas are a type of seabird that is known to eat other birds. They will typically prey on smaller birds, such as penguins and albatrosses. Skuas will also eat eggs and chicks of other bird species.

The reason why skuas engage in cannibalism is likely due to the fact that their diet consists mostly of seafood. By eating other birds, skuas are able to get the nutrients and energy that they need to survive.

26. Steller’s Jay

Steller’s Jay
Scientific NameCyanocitta stelleri
Type of AnimalBird
RangePacific coast from southern California to Alaska

The Steller’s Jay is a member of the crow family and is found in western North America. These birds are known to eat other birds, including chicks, eggs, and nestlings. It is thought that they do this to compete for food or to reduce the population of other birds in their territory.

27. Thrushes

Song Thrush
Scientific NameTurdidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangedeciduous and mixed forests

The Old World thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur naturally in Europe, Asia, and, Africa. These birds are generally small to medium in size and have dark plumage. Some species of thrush will eat other birds, usually smaller ones.

28. Western Jackdaw

Western Jackdaw
Scientific NameCorvus monedula
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeacross Europe, western Asia, and North Africa

The Western Jackdaw is a member of the crow family and can be found in Europe and parts of Asia. These birds are known to eat other birds, including their own young. It is thought that they do this to reduce competition for food or to get rid of sick or injured members of their flock.

29. Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpecker
Scientific NamePicidae
Type of AnimalBird
Rangewoodlands, savannahs, scrublands, and bamboo forests

Woodpeckers are one of the most well-known bird cannibals. They have been known to peck other birds to death and then eat them. Woodpeckers typically eat insects, but they will also eat small mammals, reptiles, and even other birds

30. Wrens

bird Wren
Scientific NameTroglodytidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCanada through the West Indies and Central America, southward to the southernmost point of South America

The wren is a small bird that is found in many parts of the world. They are known for their high energy levels and their loud singing. While they typically eat insects, there are some instances where wrens have been known to eat other birds.

One such instance was reported in 2012, when a group of wrens was observed preying on baby birds in a nest. The wrens would enter the nest and kill the chicks by biting their heads off. It is believed that the wrens did this in order to reduce competition for food.

Conclusion

Birds that eat other birds may seem barbaric to humans, but it is a normal occurrence in the animal kingdom. Some bird species even prey on their own kind as part of their diet.

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