Dunnock eating holly-berries

13 Birds That Eat Holly Berries (with Photos, ID & Info)

Most people know that holly berries are toxic to humans, but what about birds? Holly berries are an important food source for many species of birds in winter. The following article will explore 13 Birds That Eat Holly Berries with Photos, ID & Information.

Birds That Eat Holly Berries

American Robin

An American Robin foraging on the ground.
Photo by Skyler Ewing from Pexels

Holly berries are a favorite food of American Robins. They eat them during the winter and summer months to keep their body temperatures up, as well as give themselves energy for migrating in the springtime.

American Robins can be found all over North America and most often live near orchards where they can find plenty of holly berries to feed on.​​​​​​​

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European Robin

European Robin
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay

The European Robin is a small bird that lives in the United Kingdom and some parts of Europe. They can be found nesting in almost any area with some cover, but they prefer woodlands and forest edges for their breeding sites.

They are a migratory species, which means they will travel to warmer climates during winter, but then return to their homes in the spring. The robin loves eating berries from plants like holly bushes because it gives them enough energy for migration! 

Cedar Waxwing

A Cedar Waxwing perched on a branch.
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

Every year, in the late winter or early spring, Cedar Waxwings fly south to their nesting grounds. This is usually because of the cold temperatures and lack of food sources. However, these birds also eat holly berries, which can provide them with more sustenance than they find on their long journey south.

When they arrive at their destination, it is very common for them to feast on any berries that are available before continuing onto the forest where they will nest.

Related Post: How to Attract Cedar waxwings to your yard?

Eastern Bluebird

An Eastern Bluebird perched on a branch.
Image by Naturelady from Pixabay

Eastern bluebirds are small songbirds that are native to North America and found in the eastern United States. These birds are often seen eating holly berries. They feed on the berry as well as use it to decorate their nests, or they may even just perch near a tree full of berries and peck at them occasionally. 

It eats the berries, which are high in nutrients and sugar, to keep its energy up during cold weather when it can’t find other food sources. 

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Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

The gray catbird is a common bird in the Eastern United States. These birds are most regularly found near forests, woodlands, and parks where they can eat berries from holly trees.

They also like to feast on other types of berries including blackberries, raspberries, and mulberries. The Gray Catbird is also known as a “mocker” because it mimics sounds made by other animals such as crows or red-winged blackbirds. 

Common Blackbird

The common blackbird is a species of bird in the thrush family. They are found all over Europe, Asia and North Africa. During the winter months, common blackbirds feed on holly berries. This is due to the low amount of food available during this time.

These birds have also been known to eat many other things as well, such as seeds and nuts from various trees, fruits from plants and even insects that they find in lawns or fields.

Related Post: Birds That Look Like Crows But Aren’t

Hermit Thrush

The Hermit Thrush is a songbird found in North America. In the beginning of winter, many animals are looking for food. The hermit thrush is one such animal that eats holly berries when other sources of food have run out.

The hermit thrush feeds primarily on insects in summer but will switch to eating fruit in winter. When there are no more insects available, the bird’s only option is to eat fruit or starve. 

Related Post: How to Attract Thrushes to your yard?

Mistle Thrush

A Mistle Thrush perched on a branch.
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay

The Mistle Thrush is a bird that lives in the Northern Hemisphere. It has brownish-gray feathers and is very hard to spot. The song of the Mistle Thrush sounds like rain on leaves or grass, making it one of the most distinctive songs of any bird.

It often nests in holly bushes because they are good for camouflage, which is important for its survival. ​​​​​​​During December through February, you can see them gathering around the holly trees that line our neighborhoods​​​​​​​.


A Fieldfare perched on a branch.
Image by 73PiotraSS from Pixabay

The Fieldfare is a bird found in the Northern Hemisphere. They are typically found in England, Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia. The birds migrate to warmer climates during winter months, but they do not migrate south of the Sahara Desert.

They are a member of the thrush family, which includes birds such as robins, sparrows, bluebirds, blackbirds and jays. The Fieldfare will eat anything from berries to small insects. In winter, they can be seen eating holly berries when other food sources have been depleted.


The Redwings are common birds in Europe and the Palearctic. It’s main food source during the winter is made up primarily of these tiny little fruits because they contain vitamins and other minerals essential for survival through cold weather months.

They eat a wide range of insects, and earthworms most of the year. Their diet is about 20% vegetarian food such as berries and flowers, with 80% of their diet being meat such as worms or other insects.​​​​​​​

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird is a migratory bird that spends the summer in Canada and other northern areas, but during fall it travels south to spend winter in the United States. These birds are very abundant, so they can be found almost anywhere throughout North America.

They usually migrate down to Mexico or Central America for the winter because their territory has become uninhabitable due to snowfall. This particular species of bird will eat holly berries during this time of year, which aids them in the journey.

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Northern Cardinal

A Northern Cardinal perched.
Image by TheBirdBird from Pixabay

Northern Cardinals are one of the most popular bird species in North America, and have been so for many years. One aspect of their popularity is due to their eye-catching red plumage with a black mask across their eyes. Northern Cardinals are found throughout North America, including Alaska and Canada, but they can be found mostly in eastern parts of the United States where there is an abundance of deciduous trees.

They primarily eat seeds and insects but will sometimes supplement their diet with fruit such as the sweet holly berry in the winter months when they’re scarce.

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Blue Jay

A Blue Jay perched on a tree branch.
Image by cadop from Pixabay

The Blue Jay is a member of the Corvidae family and has one of the widest ranges in North America. They are known to eat insects, berries, nuts, seeds, fruits and even eggs from other birds.

The Blue Jay will occasionally eat holly berries throughout winter; however, they only make up a small percentage of their diet during this time.

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