Yes, different species of birds prey on mosquitoes. As mosquitoes have numerous predators, including birds, it drastically contributes to reducing their population.
However, in this article, learn about all the bird species which prey on mosquitoes. Stay glued
Which birds eat mosquitoes?
Many birds eat mosquitoes and other flying insects, and these predators are swallows, woodpeckers, yellow warblers, purple martins, waterfowls, including ducks, geese as well as other migratory birds.
Moreover, these birds eat the most mosquitoes at both their adult and aquatic stages.
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The birds which prey on mosquitoes usually feed themselves in the daytime during flight. There have also been claims that purple martins can prey on thousands of mosquitoes in one day.
However, predatory birds don’t really contribute a lot to reducing the mosquito population as they prove to be a small portion of their daily diet.
Besides different kinds of birds, other predators that prey on mosquitoes are bats, fish, frogs, and tadpoles, dragonflies, turtles, spiders, etc.
Birds that eat Mosquitoes
The biggest members of the swallow species are considered one of the biggest mosquito consumers. Besides mosquitoes, their diet includes flies, wasps, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, flying ants, etc.
They mostly prey during the flight, which is usually higher than the mosquitoes.
According to some studies, purple martins eat around 2000 mosquitoes in a day. These birds are still not believed to be an effective method of mosquito control.
These are small migratory songbirds, which migrate to different parts of America and Canada. Songbirds mainly consume arthropods such as lice, millipedes, centipedes, and spiders. They feed on flying insects like gnats, mosquitoes, and flies, along with fruits and seeds.
However, still, a bulk of their diet doesn’t include mosquitoes, and they don’t contribute largely to mosquito control. A large part of their diet includes culling insects thriving under the leaves or branches.
Waterfowls like ducks and geese feed on a large number of mosquitoes. Ducks eat mosquitoes and feed on their larva even before their eggs hatch.
The two species of waterfowls that feed the most on mosquitoes are Indian Runner and Muscovy Duck. If you stay near a lake or pond, attracting these birds there will help to reduce the insect population.
Barn Swallows also consume mosquitoes besides other insects. They create flight patterns where they dive and swoop while they prey, and they fly with their mouths open so they can catch whatever they can during their flight.
These birds follow a style of catching one insect at one time, and therefore they are called ‘Aerial Acrobatics’ by bird watchers.
Unlike Purple Martins, Barn Swallows fly at a lesser height and are able to catch more mosquitoes. These birds also feed on other insects, including dragonflies, flies, and flying ants.
Cardinals feed around 51 different types of insects. These are ground feeders and make their nest about 3-12 feet above the ground in bushes and evergreens.
These birds prefer staying around water bodies and are first to feed in the mornings, whereas last to eat at night. Cardinals also feed on different kinds of seeds and nuts.
These are known to feed on some of the most harmful agricultural pests like cotton cutworms, codling moths, grasshoppers, snails, slugs, etc.
Hummingbirds eat a lot of insects and mosquitoes are one of them. These birds can easily catch mosquitoes to eat them. The diet of hummingbirds is usually nectar-dependent but when nectar-rich foods are not available in their surroundings they can easily eat smaller insects.
The way hummingbirds catch mosquitoes is quite amazing, they can grab them while flying in a span of seconds. The ability to fly in both directions makes them sharp predators and can trick the mosquitoes easily with their lighting fast speed and small size.
How to attract mosquito-eating birds?
Keeping bird seed in your backyard or other outdoor space can attract such types of mosquito-eating birds while helping in reducing the mosquito population in the area.
Also, here are a few tips to attract birds, which feed on insects and mosquitoes:
- Avoid using chemicals or pesticides for your lawn or kitchen garden and let the birds do their work.
- Try planting native species, especially the ones which are indigenous in the area.
- Avoid raking leaves under the trees as these are home to hundreds of insects.
- One of the most productive ways of attracting mosquito predators is to plant some birdhouses in your area. Most birds need a comfortable and safe place to lay eggs and to hide from bad weather conditions. A birdhouse can give them a place to dwell and they will eat the mosquitoes in the surroundings as food.
- Fill up the free space or areas in your garden with small plants or trees and keep some water-filled pots along with them. This will attract many birds in the months of summer as they need both shade and water. Eventually, the birds will eat the insects and mosquitoes present in your garden as food.
- Another way of attracting mosquito predating birds is by planting bird feeders in your yard or garden. Birdfeeders attract a lot of birds in your area and help in eliminating the mosquito population and other deadly insects as well.
- The last method is known as the hiding method, here in this method you need to create small places where birds and mosquito predators like bats can easily hide from the eye of humans or anybody else. These places provide a sense of protection and attract many birds.
Who else can eat mosquitoes apart from birds?
Bats are predominantly mosquito predators. They have amazing skills of identification of their prey and can easily catch them with their quick movements. Apart from birds, these are the major threat to mosquitoes.
A large number of fishes eats the mosquito larvae present in the water bodies. Some of the common fishes that feed on mosquito larvae are catfish, bluegill, bass, guppies, and Goldfish.
But, one of the most feared mosquito larvae predators is the Gambusia affinis. The fish because of its higher rate of eliminating mosquito larvae from water bodies is also named mosquitofish.
Many pest control and health agencies use this fish to eliminate mosquitoes from water bodies.
Amphibians like Frogs and Tadpoles
Generally, amphibians do not feed on the mosquitoes or their larvae. Mosquitoes made up a very small portion of the dies of many frogs and tadpoles.
But, there are three types of North American tadpoles that feed heavily on the larvae of mosquitoes, these are-
- The spadefoot toad
- Green tree frog
- Giant tree frog
Turtles can eat mosquitoes
Many turtles do not heavily depend on mosquitoes for their diet but the red-eared slider turtle is a predominant mosquito predator that mainly feeds on the mosquito larvae.
Dragonflies are one of the most common insects to feed on mosquitoes. They do eat mosquitoes but in smaller proportions and do not cause any harm to the wild population of mosquitoes.
Due to mosquito-eating behavior, they are also known as “mosquito hawks”.
Mosquitoes can feed on mosquitoes
Well, you may find it surprising, but in some situations, mosquitoes can feed on other mosquitoes. The predatory mosquitoes from the genus Toxorhynchites are known to eat the larvae of mosquitoes of other species.
Beetles eat mosquitoes
Beetles are commonly known to eat mosquitoes in the form of larvae and pupae. The adult and larval stages of aquatic beetles can feed on mosquitoes. Some of the common species of beetles that feed on mosquitoes are-
- Predaceous diving beetle
- Water scavenger beetles
Spiders can eat mosquitoes
Spiders can eat mosquitoes in close proximity. They generally do not eat mosquitoes but if they are troubling with their webs or are trapped in the webs then spiders can easily eat them.
We hope the above information has helped you in learning what birds eat mosquitoes and other insects too. Let us know if you’ve any further queries regarding the different natures of birds through the comment box below.