Bird Predators: What Eats Birds?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: March 21, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/FG Trade
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Birds are dangerous predators with the ability to swoop down on unsuspecting animals. They attack reptiles, insects, turtles, worms, and the occasional fruit tree. Because of their ability to fly, birds quickly flutter away when they sense danger. One wonders then if any animals spend their time chasing birds. In this article, you will find a tidy list of what eats birds and how they do it.

What Eats Birds?

Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) with open wings. This vulture is one of the biggest flying birds in the world.
Birds are prey to coyotes, foxes, snakes, and cats.

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Cats, bats, squirrels, foxes, snakes, and coyotes are major bird predators. A bird may have a fighting chance against its attacker, depending on its size and strength. However, small birds are hardly a match for raptors like eagles, hawks, and owls who hunt for other birds. 

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Bird Predators: Cats

Are bobcats dangerous - Bobcat
In the United States, bobcats are popular bird predators.

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Cats are dedicated bird-hunters as birds make up to sixty percent of cats’ diets. In addition, both domestic and wild cats hunt birds for meat. Bobcats, in particular, are popular bird predators in the United States and are skilled at hiding. They ambush their prey and pounce on it as soon as it comes with reach.

Most cats enjoy the thrill of chasing and killing birds. Although, a hungry cat will actually eat its kill. Generally, cats often target small bird species or fledglings. Fledglings are young birds who only have one feather coat, and they make a tasty snack for hungry cats.

Bird Predators: Bats

Are Bats Mammals
Bats hunt and eat other birds mid-air.

Bats are nocturnal predators. This means that most of their hunting activity is done at night. Their eyesight is well adjusted for detecting prey and hunting them. They hunt for fish, lizards, frogs, and birds. Noctule bats are a species of bats that attack songbirds in flight and eat their catch in the air. Bats are also fond of targeting migrating birds. Since flocks contain several birds, a bat can pick off as many treats as he can catch. Some bats that feed on birds are the Indiana bat, hoary bats, and Tricolored bats.

Bird Predators: Squirrels

Squirrels eat a variety of injured birds and their young ones. Instead of chasing birds, they climb trees searching for nests and eggs to eat. They are good foragers and are sometimes lucky to find a sizeable bird who is injured and make a meal of it.

Bird Predators: Raccoons

Never mind their adorable looks. Raccoons are prolific predators. They raid bird nests and turtle nests, searching for eggs and young birds to eat. Raccoons hardly attack adult birds. Instead, they prefer to feed on dead birds or injured birds. Raccoons may also raid chicken houses to eat any baby chicks or ducks they find.

Bird Predators: Foxes 

Foxes are cunning bird predators. Like the raccoon, foxes stalk and watch their prey, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Foxes often go for young birds or chicks since they are inexperienced and haven’t mastered their flying abilities. The red fox is fond of raiding bird nests to feed on fledglings. Arctic foxes who live near water have the advantage of hunting sea birds. These birds have a keen hearing, so they can target and pounce on other birds without warning. Sometimes, they scavenge for the leftovers of other carnivores.

Bird Predators: Snakes

Snakes like boas or pythons lunge at birds who unknowingly perch close and constrict the birds before swallowing. Other snakes raid poultries and bird nests for chicks, bird eggs, and small birds. Since birds also eat snakes, a struggle may ensue when one attacks the other. The winner may depend on the size of the bird or the snake species. Whoever wins gets a medal for his troubles.

Bird Predators: Fish

Aquatic birds like penguins and others who fly close to the surface are at risk of being eaten by fish. Such fish include the African Tigerfish, Northern Pike, Catfish, and Largemouth Bass. The African Tigerfish mainly hunts for birds that fly near the water’s surface by jumping out of the water to grab them. Other fish swim close to drinking holes to catch small birds who stop to drink water.

Bird Predators: Frogs

Frogs have large appetites and will attempt to eat any animal within reach, including birds. Bullfrogs and Khorat big-mouthed frogs are known to wait at the edge of streams or ponds to grab unsuspecting birds, fish, and smaller frogs. 

Bird Predators: Baboons

Baboons are omnivorous animals who love to eat different birds and other smaller mammals like rabbits. Some baboon species that eat birds are Guinea baboon, Chacma baboon, Olive baboon, and the Hamadryas baboon. So naturally, baboons hang around trees, rocks, and other high surfaces when hunting. This vantage position makes it easier to spot and kill birds for food. Sometimes they kill and store the birds in trees or cracks to eat later. Chimpanzees are even more ingenious as they sometimes use sticks and rocks to bring down birds.

Bird Predators: Coyotes

Coyotes are skilled at jumping and catching birds. Their method is to grab a bird by the neck and bite its neck. These predators are particularly dangerous when they move in packs. A pack of coyotes can devour an entire flock of birds. Flightless birds are more vulnerable because the pack will keep returning until all the birds are eaten.

Bird Predators: Weasels

Weasels are small yet dangerous bird hunters. Their bodies are pretty slim, so they can squeeze into small spaces to access chicken coops or burrows of other animals. They enjoy feeding on the head and entrails of chickens in particular. Bird eggs are also on the menu for them. When weasels attack, they end up injuring or killing several birds to store away the extra meat in their den.

Bird Predators: Other birds

Birds like falcons, eagles, and hawks are major bird eaters with excellent vision. The falcon’s diet is made almost exclusively of bird meat. They have keen eyesight and speed, which helps them attack and grab other birds without stress. They eat pigeons, ducks, waterfowls, and several other small birds. Eagles are powerful birds with sharp claws and hooked beaks.

After a successful hunt, they use their beaks to tear out the flesh of birds. Eagles feed on gulls, roadrunners, skuas, and other birds. Their strength enables them to attack pretty big birds and carry them off for feeding. Hawks are fond of targeting chickens and turkey. This is because land fowls are meatier and easier to trap. Hawks soar in the skies, watching for an opportunity, and swoop in to steal off a chick or a bird from its flock. Owls also use their night vision abilities to catch young birds.

A List of Animals that Eat Birds 

  • Cats
  • Bats
  • Squirrels
  • Foxes
  • Snakes
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Baboons
  • Coyotes
  • Weasels
  • Other birds

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