Insects are eaten by many birds, but bees are the central component of their diet. Bees are commonly eaten by a few songbirds in North America. Bees are sometimes included in the diets of other insects. To avoid being stung, these birds employ a variety of strategies. To get rid of the stinger, some of them rub it against a limb. We’ll take a look at 10 species of birds that are known to eat bees in this article. Let’s take a closer look at these fascinating birds’ behaviors, diets, and preferred environments.
10 BIRDS THAT EAT BEES
1. SCARLET TANAGER
Scientific name: Piranga olivacea
Because it relies so strongly on bees for its food, the Scarlet Tanager is frequently referred to as a “bee-eater.” Bees aren’t the only thing this tanager hates. Cicadas, beetles, termites, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and moths are among the insects that it enjoys.
In thriving deciduous woods, where insects are more likely to return to hives and nests among the branches, Scarlet Tanagers live in the tops of trees. They’ll snatch certain insects from leaves, tree limbs, and flowers. Wasp and hornet nests, on the other hand, are usually found in the air when it comes to bees.
In the United States, the Scarlet Tanager may be found. Returning to South America for the winter in the spring and summer.
2. SUMMER TANAGER
Scientific name: Piranga rubra
The Summer Tanager may be seen in the spring and summer by birdwatchers in the Southeast and Southwest. The Summer Tanager is an insect-eating bird that solely eats bees and wasps, and is related to other red birds like the Scarlet Tanager and Northern Cardinal.
Open woods with a mix of deciduous trees and shrubs are preferred by summer tanagers. When flying, they capture wasps and bees, beat them against a tree limb, and then devour them. They choose lower-elevation habitat zones wherever they live in their range.
3. PURPLE MARTIN
Scientific name: Progne subis
The most sociable of the swallow family’s songbirds are Purple Martins. They may be found in tiny patches of habitat along the West Coast and in the Southwest, as well as throughout the East and Midwest.
Look for them mid-flight, hunting insects and flying acrobatically. Many kinds of flies, beetles, moths, and spiders are eaten, as are bees and wasps. They occasionally consume little flecks of gravel, which help them break down the tough exoskeletons of the insects they consume.
4. NORTHERN CARDINAL
Scientific name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Seeds and fruit are the primary foods of the Northern Cardinal. Nonetheless, throughout the breeding season, they will supplement their diet with insects, as many songbirds do. When bees are active in the warmer months, they will go after them, among other insects.
Offering sunflower seeds to Northern Cardinals will encourage them to visit your yard. The majority of the eastern and southwestern United States are year-round habitats for them.
5. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
The eastern woodlands of the United States are home to the Red-bellied Woodpecker. In search of insects in the bark of tree trunks, they flit between the upper canopies of the trees in dense deciduous landscapes.
Snags and live tree branches are home to many varieties of bees who build hives. A Red-bellied Woodpecker may attack the bees as well as the sweet honey inside a beehive when it is spotted.
6. CASSIN’S KINGBIRD
Scientific name: Tyrannus vociferans
The loudest songbird in the Southwest, the Cassin’s Kingbird, lives in dry deserts. They like to sit on exposed perches and watch flies enter the range of vision. They’ll swoop down and grab the bug from the air as soon as they’re spotted. Bees, wasps, crickets, and cicadas are all fair game.
Males will even attack hawks that enter their territory, and they aren’t afraid of danger. They eat bees and wasps as well as other insects.
You may hear them at night and see them in the morning, when their cry resembles a “ti-bew.”
You may hear them singing at night, where their call sounds like a “ti-bew,” and you’ll seldom visit a backyard.
7. NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos
Throughout the whole United States, the Northern Mockingbird is a well-known sight. They’re well recognized for their skill to imitate other bird sounds and for their tenacious defense of their area.
During the summer, when insect populations are plentiful, they mostly consume insects. Ants, earthworms, moths, and grasshoppers are all eaten in addition to bees and wasps. They adopt a mainly berries and fruits diet in the autumn and winter.
8. HERMIT THRUSH
Scientific name: Catharus guttatus
Inhabitants of Canada and the United States are small brown and white hermit thrushes. They may be found in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Rocky Mountains during the spring. The Southeast and the West Coast are their wintering grounds.
During the spring and summer, they eat insects, much like Northern Mockingbirds. Insects, including bees, ants, wasps, caterpillars, and beetles are all on the menu. Since they aren’t frequent woodland visitors, you’ll most likely observe them during excursions or walks in rural woodlands.
9. CHIMNEY SWIFT
Scientific name: Chaetura pelagica
When it’s on the wing, the Chimney Swift is easy to see. Their body is cigar-shaped and their wings are long and slender. During the spring and summer months, it is found in the eastern and midwestern United States. The legs and feet muscles of members of the Apodidae family are quite weak. As a consequence, they spend the majority of their time in the air, where they may hunt insects while in flight.
At daytime, when bees are active, Chimney Swifts look for them. They eat a wide range of insects, from flies to crickets and from skeeters to locusts. As they feed on residential areas, orchards, open fields, and marshes, you may see them swooping around in the sky.
10. YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIE
Scientific name: Pica nuttalli
The Yellow-billed Magpie is a raven and crow relative that only lives in California. On the Central Coast, Central Valley, and in the Sierra Nevada foothills, you may spot them.
These birds are omnivores and spend a lot of time investigating things. Trash, grain, and tiny animals, such as magpies, are often consumed. Insects, including bees, make up a significant percentage of their diet. They forage straight from the leaf litter as well as in the air, looking for new meals on the ground and in the air.