Which Birds Eat Fruit? (And How to Attract Different Species)

Birds are known for their diverse diets, and many species enjoy consuming various types of fruits. Not only does this provide these creatures with essential nutrients, but it can also serve as a crucial energy source, helping them stay active and healthy throughout the day. Furthermore, understanding which birds eat fruit can be useful in determining backyard feeding preferences and attracting the desired bird species to one’s outdoor space.

Fruit-eating birds, referred to as frugivores, are found in numerous bird families, including crows, magpies, jays, blackbirds, orioles, cardinals, and even some warblers and sparrows. These birds commonly consume a variety of fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and many more. Some birds also eat unusual fruits and berries not commonly consumed by humans, which may be toxic or overripe.

Key Takeaways

  • Numerous bird species enjoy consuming fruits, providing them with essential nutrients and energy.
  • Common fruit-eating birds include crows, blackbirds, cardinals, and orioles, among others.
  • Attracting fruit-eating birds to your backyard can be achieved by offering a variety of fruits such as apples, oranges, and berries.

Fruit-Eating Birds

Fruit-eating birds not only provide beautiful sights and sounds but also help in pollination and seed dispersal for a healthier ecosystem. In this section, we will discuss various fruit-eating bird species, including orioles, tanagers, waxwings, robins, mockingbirds, bluebirds, thrashers, cardinals, finches, and jays.

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Orioles are known for their distinctive bright colors and love for fruit. These North American birds often visit backyard feeders for oranges, grapes, and berries. Place halved oranges on platform feeders or oriole feeder spikes to attract these vibrant birds.


Tanagers are another group of fruit-eating birds that appreciate oranges and other fruits during spring and summer. They have a varied diet, which includes nectar and insects but are particularly drawn to fruit. Tanagers will benefit from oranges placed on feeder spikes.


Waxwings are known for their voracious appetite for fruit, such as cherries, serviceberries, and blueberries. These elegant birds love fruit high in sugar due to their high metabolism. You can attract waxwings to your backyard by planting berry-producing bushes.


American robins are considered one of the most widespread fruit-eating birds in North America. They enjoy various fruits, including apples, grapes, and berries, and can often be seen hopping along the ground to pick up fallen fruit.


Mockingbirds are versatile fruit-eaters that enjoy grapes, cherries, apples, and raisins. You can attract mockingbirds to your backyard by offering a variety of fruits and berries in feeders or on trays.


Bluebirds, known for their stunning azure plumage, also enjoy fruits such as oranges. Offer halved oranges on platform feeders or trays to entice these beautiful fruit-eating birds to your yard.


Brown thrashers are known for their long, curved beaks, which help them forage for insects and fruit. Offer halved oranges and other fruits to attract these attractive birds to your backyard.


The Northern Cardinal has the most variety of fruits in its diet, including apples, grapes, berries, and more. These iconic, vibrant red birds can be attracted with fruit offered in feeders and garden planting that incorporates fruit-bearing bushes.


House finches are adaptable birds that enjoy a wide variety of dietary options, including fruits. Adding fruits such as grapes and berries to your feeders will keep your local finch population happy and well-fed.


Blue jays are intelligent birds with a diverse diet, including fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects. To attract blue jays to your yard, offer fruit in platform feeders or trays.

Common Fruits Consumed by Birds

Birds have a diverse diet, with many species enjoying a variety of fruits. Offering fruit in your backyard can help attract a wide range of feathered friends.


Birds such as the gray catbird, grosbeaks, northern mockingbird, and cedar waxwings enjoy a variety of berries. Berry bushes are a great way to attract fruit-loving birds. Some popular options for backyard bird feeders include:

  • Mulberries: These purple fruits grow on trees and shrubs and are a favorite of many birds.
  • Raspberries: These berries grow on shrubs, attracting birds to your yard.
  • Holly and juniper berries: These grow on evergreen trees and bushes, giving birds a reliable source of food in the winter months.

Other berries that birds commonly consume include blackberries, serviceberries, elderberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and currants.


Oranges are a popular fruit choice for many birds, especially orioles. Simply slice them in half and place them on a flat surface or hang them from a tree branch.


Apples are enjoyed by many species such as thrushes and woodpeckers. You can cut up apples into small pieces to make it easier for birds to eat, or you can hang whole apples from a tree branch or feeder.


Raisins are a dried fruit that many birds enjoy. Soak them in water to soften before placing them out for birds to eat. Raisins will attract various birds, including robins and thrushes.


Grapes, particularly dark red ones, are a favorite among birds. You can cut grapes in half to make it easier for smaller birds like tanagers to eat them. Alternatively, if you live in an area that’s warm enough, consider growing grapevines to attract more birds.


Bananas can be an enticing treat for birds, attracting both grosbeaks and northern mockingbirds. Cut bananas into small chunks and serve them on a plate or hang them from a tree.

By offering a variety of fruits in your backyard, you can enjoy the presence of various bird species and help support their dietary needs.

Attracting Birds with Fruit

Attracting a variety of fruit-eating birds to your backyard can be a rewarding experience. Many species such as thrushes, tanagers, and woodpeckers enjoy a fruit-based diet. Let’s explore how to effectively attract these birds using fruit as the primary food source.

Feeder Types

Selecting the right type of feeder is crucial for attracting fruit-eating birds. Consider these options when setting up your fruit-dispensing bird feeding stations:

  • Fruit platforms: a simple, flat surface with raised edges where you can place cut fruit, soaked raisins, or currants for easy access.
  • Fruit skewer feeders: bird feeders designed specifically for holding fruit pieces, with skewers that securely hold the fruit in place.
  • Mixed feeders: feeders for birdseed and suet, with sections or compartments for adding cut fruit or other fruit-based options.

Placement and Maintenance

When setting up your feeder, consider the following placement and maintenance tips:

  1. Height and location: Place feeders at varying heights and locations, as different species may prefer different arrangements. Keep feeders away from busy areas to avoid disturbing the birds.
  2. Safety: Ensure that the area around the feeder is safe from predators such as cats and rodents by placing it at least 10 feet away from cover.
  3. Cleanliness: Keep the feeders clean by washing them regularly. This helps prevent the spread of illness among your backyard bird visitors.
  4. Protection: Use squirrel or raccoon baffles below or above the feeder, respectively, to prevent these animals from accessing the fruit.

Providing Additional Food Sources

Beyond feeders, you can create a more welcoming environment for fruit-eating birds by including additional food sources in your backyard:

  • Plant fruiting trees and shrubs: Consider planting fruit-bearing flora such as grapevines, cherries, and serviceberries to provide a natural food source and habitat.
  • Offer alternative foods: While fruit is their main diet, many fruit-eating birds also enjoy other food options such as seeds and insects. Provide a range of foods like sunflower seeds and suet to attract a wider variety of species.

By following these tips and recommendations, you will create a fruit-filled haven that attracts and supports many species of fruit-eating birds. Enjoy watching your new avian friends as they happily feast on the fruit you provide in your backyard oasis.

Precautions and Considerations

Mold and Spoilage

When providing fruit to birds that eat fruit, it is essential to be cautious about mold and spoilage. Fruits such as oranges, apples, and grapes can develop mold quickly, especially during warmer weather. Moldy fruit can be harmful to birds, so always ensure that the fruit you offer is fresh and free from any signs of mold or spoilage.

To reduce the risk of mold and spoilage, only put out small amounts of fruit at a time. Check the fruit regularly and remove any that appears to be deteriorating. You can also consider placing the fruit in a shady spot to slow down the ripening process and reduce the chances of mold growth.

Pest Control

Feeding fruit to birds can sometimes attract unwanted pests like squirrels and insects, particularly when fruit trees are nearby. To prevent this, take some preventive measures to keep pests away from the fruit you put out for birds.

  • Use squirrel-proof feeders: These feeders are designed to keep squirrels from accessing the fruit, allowing only birds to feed on it.
  • Offer specific fruits: Some fruits, like grape jelly, are more appealing to certain bird species and may not attract as many pests. Experiment with different fruits to determine which ones are most popular with the birds in your area while minimizing pest attractions.
  • Clean up fallen fruit: Regularly remove fallen fruit from the ground near your fruit trees or feeding area. This will help to deter pests and prevent mold growth.

Remember that providing a variety of nutritious fruits is essential for birds such as orioles, tanagers, and other fruit-eating species. Fresh fruit offers essential nutrients and adds diversity to their diets. When learning how to feed fruit to birds, be cautious of mold and spoilage, and take steps to prevent pests from disrupting the feeding process. Follow these precautions to create a safe and enjoyable fruit feast for your feathered friends.

Benefits of Fruit Consumption for Birds

Fruit consumption provides numerous benefits to our feathered friends. Many bird species, like northern mockingbirds, woodpeckers, flickers, sapsuckers, and yellow-rumped warblers, enjoy feasting on fruits. This delicious and nutritious addition to their diet provides them with essential energy, especially during colder months such as winter.

Fruits are a natural source of energy for birds. They offer a mix of sugars, vitamins, and minerals, all of which contribute to their overall health and well-being. For example, bright yellow, red, and orange vegetables and fruits like bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, mango, papaya, and cantaloupe are packed with vitamin A, a critical nutrient for birds.

Some popular fruits among birds include:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Oranges
  • Plums
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Crabapples
  • Prickly pear

It’s not uncommon to see birds eat oranges or other fruits when provided. In fact, many types of birds engage in fruit consumption as a part of their natural diet. Other sought-after treats for birds include berries, such as strawberries, currants, blackberries, mulberries, beautyberries, serviceberries, sumac, holly, juniper, and viburnum.

If you’re looking to attract birds to your backyard or garden, presenting fruit as an option is an excellent idea. When feeding fruit to birds, it’s essential to make sure it is fresh, cut into small pieces, and presented in a clean container or bird feeder.

By offering fruit to birds, you help them meet their nutritional needs, while also providing a tasty treat they’ll appreciate. In turn, these birds will disperse seeds from the fruits they consume, allowing fruiting plants to flourish and grow, creating a harmonious balance between birds and their environment.

Role of Insects and Other Food Sources

Insects play a significant part in the diets of many bird species. For example, house sparrows, blackbirds, wrens, swallows, and robins rely on insects for sustenance, while blue tits can feed their chicks up to 10,000 caterpillars each day. In addition to insects, berries and fruits such as crabapple and viburnum serve as vital sources of nutrition for many bird species, especially during seasonal changes.

Woodpeckers, such as red-bellied woodpeckers, flickers, and sapsuckers, have specific dietary preferences. These birds are insect eaters, but they also consume nuts, fruits, and supplementary food like suet. Additionally, waxwings are known for their love of fruit, while cardinals and other nut-and-seed-eating birds, such as tits, enjoy a diet that includes seeds like sunflower seeds.

It is essential to provide a diverse range of food sources for birds to cater to their individual dietary needs. The availability of the right types of food can also help support bird populations and deter unwanted critters like raccoons, who may be attracted to certain bird food.

Ensuring a balance of insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds in the environment can help attract various bird species while also supporting their overall health and wellbeing. By nurturing a rich ecosystem with a wide array of food sources, we can contribute to the preservation and sustenance of these fascinating creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What birds consume berries?

Numerous bird species enjoy consuming berries, including robins, cedar waxwings, and mockingbirds. These birds are often found in woodlands, hedgerows, and gardens where berry-producing plants are abundant. Some migratory birds, such as thrushes, also feed on berries as a vital energy source during their long journeys.

Which avian species prefer fruits and nuts?

Birds that have a penchant for fruits and nuts are typically part of the crow family, cardinal family, and blackbird family. This includes species like crows, magpies, jays, cardinals, tanagers, starlings, grackles, and orioles. Warblers and sparrows may also feast on fruits from time to time. Birds That Eat Fruit

Do any birds feed on apples in winter?

Yes, some birds, such as American crows, will feed on apples during winter, especially when food sources become scarce. These intelligent creatures have been observed communicating the location of fruit trees to one another. American Crow Info

What types of birds eat oranges and grapes?

Birds that are drawn to sweeter fruits like oranges and grapes include orioles, mockingbirds, and tanagers. These birds enjoy the energy and nutrients provided by these fruits. Birdwatchers often use orange halves or grape clusters to attract these avian favorites to their yards.

Can birds eat dried fruits?

Absolutely! Many bird species can consume dried fruits, such as raisins, currants, and dried cranberries. Be mindful, though, as dried fruits can sometimes contain added sugars or preservatives. If you plan to offer dried fruits to your backyard birds, it is best to choose healthier, unsweetened, and preservative-free options.

Which fruit is best for wild birds?

There is no definitive “best” fruit for wild birds since their preferences and nutritional needs vary across species. However, fruits that are suitable for human consumption are generally nutritious for birds as well. If you’re looking to attract an array of species to your garden, consider offering a mix of fruits, like apples, grapes, berries, and oranges. Experiment with various types of fruit to find out which ones the birds in your area enjoy the most. Fruit-Eating Birds

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