Do Birds Eat Ants? Are Ants Good For Birds?

Did you know, the tiny ants that just move in a line, are a very essential part of a bird’s diet. 

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

You will often find birds scraping the ground, or just putting their beaks into the sands, and wonder what they are doing. 

Yes, birds eat ants. Ants are abundant in numbers and thus serve as an excellent food source for birds. 

You will be surprised to know that the tiny ants have a high level of proteins that are very good for birds’ health. 

The proteins from ants help birds’ muscles to stay strong and help them in flying. 

Eating ants also helps them to keep the blood circulation at its best, and heartbeat at normal eat, as ants are a good source of zinc, potassium, and iron.  

What happens if my bird eats an ant? 

It’s okay if your pet bird eats ants. There is no need to worry or panic. 

It’s been observed that usually birds like to eat ants and pet birds like parrots can swirl ants like balls and may taste them but are never fond of eating them on a regular basis. 

Pet birds usually do not hunt ants and enjoy eating them. The reasons can be they get enough nutrition and tasty food in their regular diet, and it can also because they are an inhabitant of hunting ants in out and eating them

The only thing you as an owner need to take care of is to avoid using insecticides, anti-toxicant of ants because if ants are infected by either of them, being eaten by your pet bird will be harmful.  

How Do birds hunt ants? 

Birds like northern flicker and green woodpecker that are ground-feeding birds have adopted a specific method to hunt hunts. 

Birds look for food on the ground, and as soon as they spot ants on the ground, they dig the ground with their beaks. Lastly, to lap up ants, birds use their sticky tongue. 

The method of anting by birds is used by birds to hunt an anthill. Birds rub ants on their tails and wings, remove the harmful formic acid, oils, and chemicals and then eat them. 

Do ants bite birds

Some birds like southern fire ants are dangerous for birds, can invade their home, and kill nestlings but ants usually do not bite back birds. There is no strong evidence or discovery that ants can bite back the birds. 

However, one cannot deny the fact that ants eat dead birds while they decay on the ground. There have been a few circumstances where ants marched and attacked a bird and the bird needed rescue. 

How Do you get rid of ants without harming birds?

The only and effective way to protect your pet birds and your home from the tiny creature, ants are destroying the source, their nests. 

You can use water to destroy the nest once it is found. You can also use toxicants from markets like sprays, and boric acid to kill ants, but look for brands that do not have chemicals that can harm birds. 

For protecting your birdcage from ants, you can also take the help of home remedies that are safe for application without hurting birds. 

You can use cornmeal, vinegar mixed with water, soapy water as ants cannot cross it, and cooking oil under birdcage. 

Do birds eat ants when alive?

Birds like eating ants, by foraging and hunting them. Ants are easily found and can be easily hunted by birds like pigeons, crows, and wrens. Birds eat alive ants that can benefit the birds in many ways. 

Eating ants is a good source of nutrients like zinc, protein, magnesium, and iron for birds to include in their diet. 

The nutrients gained helps birds to keep their muscles strong, keep hemoglobin at a balanced rate, heartbeat normal, and help in providing oxygen to the body. 

Birds can also eat dead ants but the benefits will be negligent.  

Which birds eat ants?

Many species of birds have been found to enjoy eating birds as part of their regular diet. These birds would be best to be used as an alternative for insecticides in your garden or home.

The list of birds that eat ants: 

  • Grouse
  • Hummingbirds
  • Crows
  • Wrens
  • Antbirds
  • Wild turkey
  • Sparrows
  • Pigeons
  • Starlings
  • Pheasants and 
  • Woodpeckers

Some birds do not enjoy ants( the list also includes pet birds) like parrots, blackbirds, owls, cardinals, and robins. 

Do robins eat ants?

Robins are the species of birds that do not enjoy eating birds. However it does not mean they never eat ants, robins eat ants less frequently than the birds given in the above list.

Robins ate omnivore birds that feed on insects like ants, wasps, termites, and beetles. They have strong beaks that can easily catch insects, however, they are less fond of ants.  

Do blackbirds eat ants?

Similar to Robins, Blackbirds are not fond of eating and hunting ants. They consume ants less frequently than birds like pigeons, sparrows, and wrens. Blackbirds have been found eating red ants if seen hunting ants very rarely. 

Do pigeons eat ants?

Pigeons, whether flying over urban cities, are pets or come under the category of wild, are known for eating whatever they get from nature. From leftover crumbs to insects they can have it all. 

Pigeons eat insects like ants, worms, and spiders. Wood pigeons and doves are the types of pigeons that commonly eat ants at a higher rate as their habitat supports them with a greater supply of ants. 

Do crows eat ants?

Wonder what’s the crow’s favorite insect, not only in terms of eating but having a bath of them is ANTS. Crows not only eat ants as a source of food but many crows love to perform the method of anting and rubbing ants. Using wings and tails that cover their body from ants.  Crows can be seen scanning lawns searching for insects. 

The process of anting is not completely understood, but as ants have defensive secretions which fight bacteria and fungus, birds try to use it by having baths. 

Do hummingbirds eat ants?

The hummingbird that ate is known for having the love for nectar also needs other nutrients and does include insects in their diet. Hummingbirds eat insects like ants, beetles, mites, gnats, spiders, mosquitoes, and wasps. 

The rate of frequency of hummingbirds consuming ants is moderate. They neither depend excessively on insects nor avoid them. 

Hummingbirds are also known for eating larvae and insect eggs, so there are possible chances they can eat ants’ eggs of ants. 

What type of ants Do birds eat?

The type of ants that is consumed by birds mainly depends on the areas, region, and habitat. With different regions comes different species to be hunted and foraged in gardens.

The ants that is most commonly eaten by birds are:

  • Flying ants
  • Red ants
  • Carpenter ants and 
  • Black garden ants 

Some species of birds like to consume fire ants. The purple martin is the bird commonly found to be eating fire ants. 

Do birds eat flying ants?

Flying ants serve as a feast to birds. It is a vital food source for birds. 

Birds like sparrows, gulls, and hummingbirds are more likely to catch and eat flying ants more than other birds. 

The types of ants that can fly and be eaten by birds are carpenter ants, flying ants, and winged pavement ants. 

Do birds eat fire ants?

Birds, when given the opportunity, eat fire ants. Fire ants are eaten by many species and it does have a major impact on their population scarcity. 

Birds like purple martin in the USA are fond of red fire ants that are mating queen and king. Across the state, the birds hunt red fire ants especially and can be the cause of red fire ants scarcity in the USA.  

Do birds eat carpenter ants?

Carpenters ants are among the types of ants that are eaten by many species including birds like woodpeckers, wild turkeys, and starlings. 

The crow-sized, red-topped pileated woodpecker prefers eating carpenter ants more than many birds that are likely to eat ants. Along with small woodpeckers, some songbirds also hunt and eat carpenter ants. 

Do birds eat red ants?

Birds like wrens, flickers, sparrows, and antbirds chow down and lap the red ants from the ground and enjoy it. Birds can also eat the red ants laded eggs. 

Red ants provide minerals, fibers, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, and magnesium to the diet of birds. 

Do wild birds eat ants?

Wild birds like the northern flicker, the chipping Sparrow, the eastern wild turkey, the house sparrow, the common raven, the Downy woodpecker, and the red-bellied woodpecker, eat ants from the ground. Out in the open regions ants are widely found and are part of wild birds’ food source. 

Do small birds eat ants?

Birds of any size can be found eating insects like ants, beetles, and mites. 

Ants are also eaten by small birds. Swallows, sparrows, wrens, eastern bluebird, grasshopper sparrow, and acorn woodpecker are some of the small birds that are fond of hunting and eating ants. 

Do birds eat ants in the garden?

Birds are the best replacement for insecticides and ants spray to be used in gardens and lawns to make the place free from ants. 

Birds foraging for food can easily scan gardens and lawns and hunt ants. Birds like sparrows, crows, wrens come to gardens, lawns, and parks to eat small insects like ants. 

Do birds eat ants’ eggs?

In the season of summer, it is easy for birds to find ants’ eggs under paving slabs. There are many birds that like to eat ants’ eggs. Not only do ants’ eggs serve as food but also have nutritional value that can be used by birds to be strong.