A common redstart with an insect in it's mouth.

31 Birds That Eat Insects (Keep Your Garden Bug Free)

Many gardeners are looking for a way to naturally keep their plants safe from pests. One of the best ways is by attracting insectivorous birds in your garden.

Here are 31 birds that eat insects that will help you achieve this goal! Insectivorous birds are an environmentally friendly solution to bugs and pest control because they eat insects, spiders, worms, centipedes and more. 

Birds That Eat Insects

American Dipper

Image by Daniel Roberts from Pixabay

The American dipper is a small waterbird that ranges throughout much of North America. The dipper is a common visitor to parks and gardens, and can be found in many habitats, including forests, meadows, and wetlands.

The diet of the dipper includes insects, water insects, and other small creatures. The dipper breeds in cold water ponds and rivers, constructing a nest of sticks and mud on the bottom.

Purple Martin

A baby purple martin perched on a metal bar.
Image by jnelson from Pixabay

The Purple Martin is a small bird that ranges throughout the eastern and central United States. The Purple Martin is a migratory bird, so it will move around based on food and water availability.

The Purple Martin prefers to live in areas with trees and other vegetation, but will also inhabit open areas. The Purple Martin feeds primarily on insects, but will also eat fruit occasionally. The Purple Martin nests in trees, and typically has three to six eggs.

Related Post: How to Attract Purple Martins to your Yard (Expert Tips)

Carolina Wren

A Carolina Wren with an insect in it's mouth.
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

The Carolina Wren is a small, sprightly bird found throughout the eastern United States. The range of this bird extends from Pennsylvania to Texas, although the wild population is thought to be declining. It is a common bird in wooded areas and gardens.

The Carolina Wren is a cavity nester, preferring abandoned houses and other large, natural openings in trees. The diet of this bird includes insects, seeds, and fruit.

Related Post: How to Attract Wrens to your Backyard? (Expert’s Guide)

Black-capped Chickadee

A black-capped chickadee perched on a log.
Image by Bryan Hanson from Pixabay

The Black-capped Chickadee is a common bird found throughout North America. It ranges from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the eastern seaboard of the United States to western Panama.

The Chickadee is a migratory bird, and it nests in a variety of locations, including in trees, on cliffs, or in abandoned buildings. The chickadee is mostly insectivorous, but will also eat small fruits and berries.

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White-breasted Nuthatch

A White-breasted Nuthatch perched on a branch.
Image by RusticPix .com from Pixabay

The White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is a common but little known nuthatch in the eastern United States. It ranges from New England south to the Florida Keys, west to Oklahoma and Texas, and north to central Manitoba.

The nuthatch is mainly a forest bird, but it also inhabits brushy open woodlands and orchards. It feeds on insects, nuts, seeds and fruit.

Related Post: How to Attract Nuthatches to your Backyard? Expert Tips!

Scarlet Tanager

A Scarlet Tanager perched on a tree branch.
Image by Vincent Simard from Pixabay

The Scarlet Tanager is a small, crimson red bird with black wings, that can be found in a range of habitats across North America. They are commonly seen in open areas such as forests and edge habitats, but are also common in urban areas.

The Scarlet Tanager’s diet consists mainly of insects, but they will also eat small birds and other small animals. They often build their nests on the ground near water, but they have been known to nest in high trees as well.

Related Post: How To Attract Scarlet Tanagers To Your Backyard Fast?

American Goldfinch

An American Goldfinch perched on a fence.
Image by Miles Moody from Pixabay

The American Goldfinch is a small bird native to North America. They are found in the eastern and central United States, as well as in Canada. They are also found in parts of Mexico. The American Goldfinches range includes a large area of both open and forested land.

The birds are common around human habitation, but they also inhabit areas where there is plenty of food. They eat a variety of things including seeds, insects, and other small animals.

Related Post: Interesting American Goldfinch Facts You Need to Know!

House Finch

The house finch is a small passerine bird that ranges across much of North America. It is found in a variety of habitats, including open country, urban areas, and suburban gardens.

The house finch is a feeder bird, and its diet consists mainly of seeds but also insects such as aphids. It breeds in both cold and warm climates, and builds a cup-shaped nest from shredded wood, leaves, and other materials.

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

An adult male ruby-throated hummingbird hovers over the feeder.
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird ranges from southeastern Canada and through most of the United States, including all of Florida, to Northern Argentina.

It is found in wooded areas with a lot of flowers, such as gardens, orchards and natural parks. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird  construct their nest in a crotch in a tree or other suitable location. It feeds on insects and nectar.

Related Post: Where do Hummingbirds go in the Winter? (Explained)

Swainson’s Hawk

A Swainson's Hawk  perched on a wooden post.
Image by Steppinstars from Pixabay

The Swainson’s Hawk is a medium-sized raptor that ranges throughout most of North America. The Swainson’s hawk is found in the eastern half of the United States, as well as in parts of Canada and Mexico.

The Swainson’s Hawk is an opportunistic hunter that feeds primarily on insects, small mammals, birds, vertebrates including reptiles and amphibians. This bird has a wide range and can be found in many habitats, from dense forests to open prairies. 

Related Post: 32 Fun Facts About Hawks (with Photos & Details)

Broad-winged Hawk

A broad-winged hawk perched on a tree.
Image by Magicman2u2 from Pixabay

The Broad-winged Hawk is a medium-sized hawk that is found throughout the United States and parts of Canada. It is the most common hawk in North America, with an estimated population of around 1,000,000.

The Broad-winged Hawk is a raptor that is primarily a scavenger, eating carrion and other dead animals. It also hunts small animals, but its primary food source are rodents, chipmunks, shrews, and they also feed on lizards, snakes, crabs, insects.

Red-tailed Hawk

A Red-tailed Hawk perched on a wooden fence.
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

The red-tailed hawk is the most widely distributed hawk in North America. It ranges from coastal California to the Great Lakes, east to the Atlantic coast, and south to central Florida. There are also populations in Mexico and Central America.

The Red-tailed hawk is found in open habitats with plenty of trees and open spaces for soaring. It feeds on small animals, such as rodents, birds, and rabbits, as well as reptiles such as snakes, lizards, and occasionally insects.

Related Post: Interesting Red-Tailed Hawk Facts That Will Amaze You!

Rough-legged Hawk

A rough-legged hawk perched on a pole..
Image by Pepper Trail from Pixabay

The Rough-legged Hawk ranges throughout most of North America, from the Arctic tundra to the Sonoran Desert. It is found in wooded areas and open fields, and is a common visitor to bird feeders.

The Rough-legged Hawk is an opportunistic predator that feeds on small prey such as rodents, frogs, and birds, but will also eat insects.

Harris’s Hawk

A harris's hawk perched on a wooden stump.
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay

The Harris’s hawk range extends from central Texas to the Gulf of Mexico and includes most of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The hawks are found in open country with plenty of areas to hunt and perch such as prairies, oak-hickory forests, and thorny briers. They are opportunistic feeders that consume a variety of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

Related Post: 60 Fun Facts About Harris Hawks (with Photos, ID & Info)

Scops Owl

The scops owl is a large owl that ranges throughout much of North America. They are noted for their distinctive ears and facial features, and typically inhabit open areas such as prairies, meadows, and open woodland.

The scops owl is primarily a nocturnal bird, but will also hunt during the day. The owl feeds mainly on small mammals, but can also consume birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

Related Post: 17 Fun Facts About Owls That Will Amaze You

Screech Owl

An Eastern Screech Owl perched on a treebranch.
Image by Irene K-s from Pixabay

The screech owl is the smallest owl in North America and is found in the western United States and Canada. The screech owl is a nocturnal bird that prefers to live in open spaces, such as woodlands and deserts.

The screech owl has a small range and is not considered endangered, but its habitat is in decline due to development. The screech owl feeds on small animals, such as rodents and birds, and sometimes eats carrion and large insects.

Related Post: 9 Birds That Eat Mice (With Photos, ID & Info!)

Barn Swallow

A barn swallow perched on a tree stump.
Image by Elsemargriet from Pixabay

The barn swallow is a common sight in most parts of the world, found in both rural and urban areas. The Barn Swallow is a migratory bird, spending the winter in southern countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay and the summer in Northern Europe and Asia.

They are widespread but considered rare in North America. These birds are omnivorous, eating insects, small rodents, and other small animals. They often perch on high points to watch for prey.

Related Post: 62 Birds That Eat Frogs (with Photos, ID & Info)

American Kestrel

An American Kestrel perched on a rock.
Image by PBarlowArt from Pixabay

The American Kestrel is a small, falcon-like bird that ranges throughout most of North America. It is found in open country, including farmland and forests, and occasionally occupies urban areas.

It is a very common bird in urban areas and can be found nesting in any type of location, from large trees to the roofs of buildings. The American Kestrel is a dietary specialist, feeding mainly on small rodents and birds, but also consuming insects.

Related Post: 27 American Kestrel Fun Facts (with Photos, ID & Info)

Common Kingfisher

The common kingfisher is a migratory bird that resides in tropical and temperate regions around the world. It is usually found near water and hunts for small prey.

The common kingfisher has a wide range and can be found in many habitats, such as forests, wetlands, and rivers, andis a common sight in coastal areas, and it often nests near water.Its diet consists of small animals, such as insects, fish, and small amphibians.

Pileated Woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker is a large woodpecker found in the southeastern United States. The Pileated woodpecker is the largest species of woodpecker, with a length of40 to 50 cm (16 to 19.7″ in)​​​​​​​ and a wingspan of 65 to 75 cm (25.6 to 30″ in)

They are mostly black, but have white markings on their heads, backs, and wings. The Pileated woodpecker feeds primarily on hardwood trees, though they will also eat insects.

Related Post: How to Attract Pileated Woodpeckers to your Yard (Fast)

Black Drongo

A Black Drongo perched on a plant with an insect in it's mouth.

The Black Drongo is a small bird found in open woodland and forest. It is generally a shy species, but will feed mainly on insects, but also small mammals, reptiles and ocassionally fruit. The range of the Black Drongo is mainly in Southeast Asia but also occurs in parts of South Asia, Central Asia and China.

There are seven subspecies which differ slightly in plumage, size and diet. The Black Drongo is usually monogamous but can form pairs during the breeding season.

Tree Creeper

A tree creeper perched on a tree, probing for insects.
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay

The Tree Creeper is a small, bird-like creature found in North America. It has a wide range that includes most of the United States and Canada as well as parts of Mexico.

The Tree Creeper’s habitat varies depending on the region it resides in, but it typically inhabits forests, woods and other wooded areas. The Tree Creeper is insectivorous​​​​​​​, and feeds only on insects.

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Common Black-hawk

A common black hawk perched on a tree.
Image by jkdvmim from Pixabay

The Common Black-hawk, also known as the hawk, is a medium-sized raptor that ranges across much of North America. The hawk’s preferred habitat is open areas with plenty of trees and vegetation, but it can be found in urban settings as well.

The hawk diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice, rats and squirrels, but it will also feed on other birds, reptiles and insects.

Corn Bunting

A Corn Bunting perched on a branch.
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay

The Corn Buntings are a small passerine bird that ranges throughout much of North America. They favor open habitats with plenty of grasses and insects to eat. These birds are usually seen in flocks and are very active during the day.

They forage on the ground or in low trees, sometimes hovering to snatch insects from the air. This species is mostly seed-eating, but will also consume small creatures such as lizards or spiders.

Eastern Bluebird

An Eastern Bluebird with an insect in it's mouth.
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

The Eastern Bluebird is a common bird found throughout the eastern half of North America. It ranges from Florida to Maine,south to Virginia and west to Oklahoma.

They can be found in a variety of habitats, including deciduous and mixed forests, suburban areas and even urban parks. The Eastern Bluebird feeds mostly on insects, but will also eat small spiders and other creatures.

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Eastern Kingbird

An Eastern Kingbird perched on a branch.
Image by Diana Roberts from Pixabay

The Eastern Kingbird is a small bird that lives in the eastern United States. It has a range that includes parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

The Eastern Kingbird’s habitat includes open areas with many trees and shrubs such as fields, roadsides, orchards, and woodlands.​​​​​ Its diet includes insects.

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird is a medium-sized, gray and white bird that ranges throughout much of North America, South America and some Caribbean islands. It occupies a wide range of habitats, from open areas near water to dense forests.

The main diet of the Northern Mockingbird consists of insects, which it captures by flying close to them and then striking out with its wings opened very wide, but they are also known to eat fruit.

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Grasshopper Sparrow

A Grasshopper Sparrow perched on a branch.
Image by Meg Earsley from Pixabay

The Grasshopper Sparrow is a migratory bird that can be found in North America, Mexico and Central America. It has a distribution range which includes the eastern deciduous and oak woods of the United States as well as the boreal forests of Canada.

The main habitat for this bird is wooded areas with plenty of insects such as grasshoppers to eat. The Grasshopper Sparrow’s diet consists mainly of insects, but it will also consume small amounts of seeds.

Related Post: How to Attract Sparrows to your Backyard? (Like A Pro)

Eurasian Reed Warbler

A Eurasian Reed Warbler perched on a branch.
Image by Tomi Frank from Pixabay

The Eurasian Reed Warbler has a distribution range that spans across much of Europe and Asia. This species prefers areas with dense vegetation, such as riparian corridors and woodland edges.

The main habitat for the Eurasian Reed Warbler is deciduous and mixed forests. This bird primarily eats insects, but will also consume other small invertebrates.

Related Post: How to Attract Warblers to your Yard? (Expert Tips)

Greater Roadrunner

The Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus, is a ground-nesting bird that ranges from southern Arizona to northwestern Mexico.

The Greater Roadrunner is generally found in open country with scattered trees and bushes, but it can also be found near urban areas. The Greater Roadrunner eats insects, small animals and seeds.

Related Post: 35 Fun Facts About Roadrunners (with Photos & Details)

Acorn Woodpecker

An acorn woodpecker perched on a tree.
Image by stephmcblack from Pixabay

The Acorn Woodpecker is a small woodpecker found throughout most of North America. It occupies a wide range, from the far north down to central Mexico, and has been reported from every state except Rhode Island.

The Acorn Woodpecker’s main habitat is hardwood and mixed forests, but it can also be found in deciduous woods. They are primarily insectivorous, consuming insects such as ants, termites, bees and wasps.

Birds That Eat Flying Insects


The swallow is a bird that is known for its aerial acrobatics. These birds are able to catch insects in flight and can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Swallows have long, slender wings and a forked tail that helps them maneuver through the air.

They also have keen eyesight that allows them to spot their prey from great distances. Swallows typically eat insects, but they will also eat spiders, worms, and small reptiles.


The swift is one of the most interesting birds in the world. They can fly very fast, and they catch insects in flight. Swifts spend most of their lives in the air, and they only land to breed. They build their nests out of twigs and grasses, and they lay their eggs on a ledge or in a hole. Swifts are very social birds, and they often form colonies.

They feed on insects and spiders, which they catch in midair. Swifts have sharp claws that help them grip onto prey. Furthermore, their sense of smell helps them locate sustenance. Swifts can live for up to 20 years.


Nighthawks are aerial insectivores that feed predominately on moths. They are named for their habit of feeding at night, when most other birds are inactive. Nighthawks are characterized by their long, pointed wings and wide mouths. They catch insects in flight by swooping down from a perch and grabbing them out of the air. Nighthawks typically forage in open areas near woods or water.

They can be seen perched on telephone poles, fence posts, or tree limbs, where they scan the ground for prey. When they spot an insect, they fly down to snatch it out of the air. Nighthawks have excellent vision and can spot prey from a great distance. They also have a keen sense of hearing, which allows them to detect the movements of insects in the dark night sky.


Gray Flycatcher
Image by ebaso from Pixabay

Flycatchers are a family of birds that all share one common trait: they catch insects in flight. While many different types of birds can do this, flycatchers have evolved to be particularly good at it. They have long, slender wings and a quick reflexes, which allows them to snatch flying insects out of the air. Flycatchers are found all over the world, but they are particularly common in tropical and subtropical areas.

They live in a variety of habitats, from forests to grasslands to wetlands. Flycatchers are insectivores, consuming mainly insects. They typically hunt by perching on a high branch and waiting for an unsuspecting insect to fly by. When they see one, they take off after it and snatch it out of the air.


A pine warbler perched on a tree.
Image by Hans Toom from Pixabay

The warbler is a small passerine bird that inhabits many parts of the world. There are around 60 different species of warblers, and they can be found in many habitats, including forests, meadows, and wetlands. Warblers are insectivores, which means that they eat mainly insects. They catch most of their prey while flying through the air.

Warblers have very good vision and can spot insects from a long distance. They also have very good hearing, which allows them to hear insects even when they are hidden deep in the vegetation. Warblers use their sharp beaks to snatch insects out of the air. 


A bohemian wawing perched on a tree.
Image by PenjaK from Pixabay

Waxwings are a type of bird that is found in North America, Europe, and Asia. They get their name from the waxy red tips on their wings. Waxwings are known for catching insects in flight. They have a very good sense of sight, which allows them to spot prey from a distance.

They also have a keen sense of hearing, which helps them to locate insects that are hidden among the trees. Waxwings typically eat berries, but they will also eat insects when they are available.

Pet birds that eat insects

Birds are known to be opportunistic feeders, meaning they will consume a variety of food items depending on what is available. While most people think of bird feeders stocked with seeds when they think of backyard birds, a surprising number of pet bird species enjoy eating insects.

In fact, many bird enthusiasts consider watching their pet birds hunt and capture insects in the wild to be one of the most fascinating aspects of keeping them as pets. There are a number of different bird species that eat insects as part of their regular diet.

Insect-eating pet birds include parakeets, cockatiels, canaries, finches, and toucans. Interestingly, many insect-eating birds are also proficient at catching small fish.

Special beaks of birds that eat insects

Birds that eat insects have beaks that are specially adapted to their diet. For example, the beak of a hummingbird is long and thin, perfect for extracting nectar from flowers.

The beaks of birds that eat insects are usually shorter and wider than other bird beaks, and they sometimes have sharp edges or points that help them to catch and eat insects.

Are birds that eat insects carnivores?

Birds that eat insects are classified as carnivores because they consume meat. This means that they rely on the nutrients that come from animal tissue in order to survive.

While some people may think of birds as being primarily herbivores, the truth is that many of them are actually opportunistic predators.

This means that they will eat whatever prey is available to them, regardless of whether or not it is plant or animal-based.

Attracting birds that eat insects

One great way to help control insect populations is to attract birds that eat insects. Certain birds are especially attracted to feeders that offer them a variety of foods, including insects.

Orioles, for example, are known to enjoy eating large numbers of beetles, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.

Bluebirds will also consume a variety of insects, including wasps, bees, ants, and flies.

Hummingbirds are drawn to feeders with sugar water as well as those with small insects suspended in the liquid.

These and other bird species can be attracted to your yard by providing the right food and habitat conditions. A few simple tips include:

  • Placing a few feeders in different areas of your yard will help attract different types of birds.
  • Offering a variety of food options will attract the greatest diversity of birds. This can be done by planting flowers that produce nectar or by putting out feeders filled with bird seed that includes a variety of insects, such as sunflower hearts, black oil sunflower seeds, and cracked corn.
  • Place a birdbath near the bird feeders.
  • You can also provide habitat for insect-eating birds by creating a brush pile or leaving some dead trees standing.

Do wild birds eat insects?

Yes, wild birds eat insects. Insects are a great source of protein for birds, and they also provide important nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

In fact, many bird species rely on insects as their main food source. This helps to explain why you often see birds hunting for insects in the garden or park.

What birds eat biting flies?

Biting flies can be a nuisance, but what do birds eat that eat biting flies? Actually, there are quite a few birds that will take advantage of this food source.

Some of the most common birds that eat biting flies are swallows, blackbirds, and grackles. These birds have adaptations that allow them to easily catch and consume these insects.

Do pigeons eat insects?

Most people think that pigeons only eat seeds and that they are not able to catch any other types of food. However, pigeons are actually quite versatile in their diet and can eat a variety of different things, including insects.

In fact, pigeons will eat insects occasionally, although they generally prefer seeds. Insects are a good source of protein for pigeons and can help them to stay healthy and strong.

Additionally, eating insects can help to keep the population of pesky insects down, which is beneficial for both people and animals. So next time you see a pigeon eating an insect, don’t be too surprised – it’s just another thing that the bird is capable of eating!

Do sparrows eat flies?

Yes, sparrows do eat flies. In fact, they are known to eat a variety of insects, including flies, mosquitoes, and caterpillars. Sparrows typically hunt for food on the ground, but they will also fly up to catch insects in the air. They have a sharp beak that is perfect for tearing into the tough exoskeletons of insects.


  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service. Reach out for expert insights and support at admin@learnbirdwatching.com, and embark on a rewarding journey in the world of birds.