WHAT DO BIRDS EAT?
Eating like a bird means different things to different birds. Here is a look at a few outstanding examples.
The various families of finch-like birds with classic wedge-shaped bills feed largely on seeds, but many other types of birds indulge in this energy rich food.
Large Ground-Finch      Geospiza magnirostris
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Frugivores are most diverse in the tropics where fruit is available year-round. Many polygynous birds are fruit eaters. Males of these species have bright colors to augment their courtship displays, so many brightly colored birds rely heavily on fruit for their diet. Not all of the photos here depict frugivores many omnivorous birds incorporate fruit into their diets.
Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher      Ptilogonys caudatus
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Nectar provides a rich source of energy for many small birds, though these birds must supplement their diet with other foods. Hummingbirds constitute the largest family of nectivores, with approximately 350 species, all in the New World.
Sword-billed Hummingbird      Ensifera ensifera
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The majority of birds rely on insects for at least part of their diets. Insectivorous birds can get most of their water needs from their prey.
Magnolia Warbler      Setophaga magnolia
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A few species of birds specialize in eating worms, while many other species eat worms occasionally
American Woodcock      Scolopax minor
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Birds have evolved a wide variety of adaptations for feeding on fish. Some behavioral adaptations include plunge diving, surface diving, skimming the surface, spearing, and stealing. Beak shapes are highly varied correlating with the different behavioral adaptations. Fish-eating birds tend to have rear facing hooks on their tongues and a well developed proventriculus, the anterior chamber of the stomach.
Osprey      Pandion haliaetus
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Many species of birds relish amphibians, but none are exclusively amphibian eaters.
Black-crowned Night-Heron      Nycticorax nycticorax
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Reptiles are popular prey items for a wide variety of birds, but only a few raptors are truly reptile specialists.
Greater Roadrunner      Geococcyx californianus
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A number of hawks and falcons specialize in preying on birds, but many types of birds are more opportunistic, especially when it comes to feeding on baby birds.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk      Accipiter nisus
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Mammals, especially rodents, are the dominant prey item for many raptors.
Northern Hawk Owl      Surnia ulula
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New and Old World Vultures are the preeminent carrion-eaters. Many other species indulge to varying degrees.
Black Vulture      Coragyps atratus
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Eggs of all sorts are a major source of nutrition for many birds, though no birds are exclusively egg-eaters.
Laysan Finch      Telespiza cantans
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