6 Birds That Eat Mosquitoes

Written by Patrick Sather
Published: October 11, 2021


Mosquitoes are one of the most irritable pests living in your backyard or garden. There is nothing worse than coming in from outside to discover you’ve been eaten alive by mosquitoes. In addition to their annoying bites, which can leave you very itchy, some can also carry deadly viruses. While there are things you can do to limit their population, sometimes these tactics can feel like a losing battle. Thankfully, nature is there to lend a hand and bring in some reinforcements to stem the mosquito’s advance. Those reinforcements come in the form of several species of insect-eating birds. There are many birds that eat mosquitoes, and some consume them in large quantities. They act as a natural form of mosquito repellant, and best of all you don’t even have to pay for them! That said, how do you know that the birds in your backyard or neighborhood eat mosquitoes?

In this article, we’ll help you figure out if the birds in your area eat mosquitoes. Specifically, we’ll discuss 6 different birds that eat mosquitoes, along with where they live and how you can identify them. That way, you’ll know if you need to put on any extra bug spray before you go out into your yard. Here are 6 birds that eat mosquitoes. 

#6: Barn Swallow

A Barn Swallow sits on a clump of clay and holds in its beak a straw found for the construction of a nest.
The barn swallow is the most widely distributed swallow in the world.

The barn swallow is a member of the swallow, marting, and saw-wing family, Hirundinidae. It is the most widely distributed swallow species in the world, found on every continent except Antarctica. Due to its abundance, it often goes by simply “swallow.” They breed in the Northern Hemisphere and overwinter in the Southern Hemisphere. Barn swallows build cup nests in varied environments including grasslands, woodlands, and urban areas. Their name comes from their tendency to build their nests in human structures like barns. Most barn swallows measure around 6.7 to 7.5 inches long, with a wingspan of 12.6 to 13.6 inches. They sport sharp blue and white underparts, a blue back and tail, and reddish-brown forehead, chin, and throat. In addition to mosquitoes, they also eat other winged insects. Common prey include flies and ants, which they catch in midair or on the ground. 

#5: Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) sitting on a tree branch.
The eastern phoebe eats a wide variety of insects including mosquitoes.

The eastern phoebe is a small songbird in the tyrant flycatcher family, Tyrannidae. Part of its name, phoebe, refers to the Roman moon-goddess Diana but also sounds similar to its vocalizations. Eastern phoebes spend their summers in the eastern half of Canada and the United States. As the weather changes, they migrate south to overwinter in southern states and Mexico. On average, eastern phoebes measure 5.5 to 6.7 inches long, with a wingspan between 10.2 and 11 inches. Typically, their plumage appears gray-brown on the back, with a white throat and grayish breast. They build cup nests in woodlands, urban areas, and open areas, particularly near sources of water. In addition to mosquitoes, they eat a wide variety of other insects. If insects are not readily available, they may also eat fruits and berries, especially during the winter. 

#4: Purple Martin

Birds that eat bees: Purple Martin
In addition to bees, purple martins also like to munch on mosquitoes.

The largest swallow in North America, the purple martin belongs to the same Hirundinidae family as the barn swallow. It gets its name from its dark blackish-blue color, which can look purple in certain light. During summer, they live throughout the eastern and southwest United States, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. For the winter, they will head to South America. Purple martins usually measure around 7.5 to 7.9 inches long with a wingspan of 15.3 to 16.1 inches. They build their nests in cavities, either in birdhouses, gourds, or inside hollowed-out trees. Known for their throaty, full vocalizations, purple martins sound big, but rarely aggressively defend their territory against invasive birds. Their diet includes mosquitoes, as well as other insects, especially bees. Extremely acrobatic birds, purple martins delight birdwatchers with their aerial displays as they swoop and dive to catch prey. 

#3: Blackpoll Warbler

Birds that eat mosquitos: Blackpoll Warbler
Blackpoll warblers hut by flitting about branches in search of mosquitoes and other insects.

The blackpoll warbler is a small songbird in the New World warblers or wood-warblers family, Parulidae. In summer, their breeding grounds stretch throughout Alaska and most of Canada. For the winter, they migrate to South America and record one of the longest non-stop overwater flights of any songbird. Their name comes from their black and white forehead and crown, as well as their high-pitched vocalizations. Blackpoll warblers feature black and white plumage, with white wing bars and streaky underparts. They tend to live at higher elevations, either in mountainous woodlands or scrubland. That said, some also live near coastal areas, tundra, and coniferous forests. Mainly insectivores, their diet includes mosquitoes as well as webworms, ants, gnats, aphids, spiders, and sawflies. While hunting, they will flit about the branches of trees and hover over the ground until they spot their prey. 

#2: Muscovy Duck

Muscovy ducks standing on stone wall
The Muscovy duck is both a feral and domestic breed native to the Americas.

The Muscovy duck is both a wild and domestic breed of duck found throughout North and South America. Originally bred in South America by Native Americans, feral populations now exist in Hawaii, Louisiana, Florida, and some other states. In Spanish, they are also called pato casero, or “backyard duck,” and pato mudo, meaning “mute duck.” The name “Muscovy” is an old word used to describe the area around Moscow. According to some claims, the name comes from a trading company that transported the ducks between the New and Old World. A large species, Muscovy ducks can measure up to 30 inches long and weigh nearly 15 pounds. Their plumage typically includes black and white feathers, with pink or red wattles around the bill. Muscovy ducks eat a wide variety of foods outside mosquitoes including grasses, fish, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, and insects. 

#1: Bluebird

Adult male Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) flying at Kamloops, Canada.
Bluebirds eat a variety of insects including mosquitoes and grubs.

The term bluebird refers to one of three species of songbird in the thrush family, Turdidae. The species include the mountain bluebird, western bluebird, and eastern bluebird. They range throughout North America, including the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Central America. Bluebirds feature prominently in popular media and cultural traditions and remain popular with enthusiasts and the general public. All species are medium-sized and feature blue or blue and beige plumage. Most bluebirds prefer to live in grassland areas with few trees. Known to act highly territorial, they build their nests in cavities inside trees or artificial nesting boxes. That said, in recent years populations have declined due to competition from invasive house sparrows and starlings. In addition to mosquitoes, they also eat a large variety of insects and particularly enjoy larvae such as mealworms. When insects run in short supply, they will also eat fruits and berries.