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Do Birds Eat Spiders? What You Need To Know!

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bluebird eating spider

Many birds consume spiders and consider them a valuable addition to their diet. While omnivorous birds eat them occasionally, insectivorous birds consume spiders daily. The most common birds that eat spiders every day are wrens, robins, blackbirds, sparrows, bluebirds, and blue tits.

Adult birds even feed their little ones with spiders because they contain a lot of taurine, which is beneficial for birds. If you’d like to know more about this strange feeding pattern, continue reading below.

hummingbird divider

Why do birds eat spiders?

Spiders are easy prey to many bird species, so that’s why birds love to eat them. Spiders contain many nutrients that birds need to function. Taurine is an amino acid that’s present in large quantities in spiders. It has a beneficial effect on birds, as it helps them be more intelligent and less anxious. It also helps birds to improve their vision.

Spiders also contain a lot of protein which birds need to develop their muscles. They represent a high-quality delicacy for birds, especially during migration and wintertime. As birds have difficulties finding food during these occasions, spiders can be a true treat that birds will love eating.

Which birds eat spiders?

Many different bird species consume spiders. Most of them are insectivorous birds, although omnivorous birds also eat them on certain occasions.

1. Sparrows

sparrow bird perching on a tree

Image Credit: Oldiefan, Pixabay

Sparrows are small birds that eat spiders when they notice an opportunity for an easy catch. They are fast and agile, so they can quickly catch a spider. Sparrows collect most food on the ground, feeding on spiders and other insects. These birds are friendly and love being around humans, so a sparrow could be a great bird friend to keep your yard spider-free.


2. Bluebirds

western bluebird on a tree trunk

Image Credit: stephmcblack, Pixabay

Bluebirds are unique birds with vivid sky-blue feathers. They commonly eat spiders found in the grass since they love to catch their prey on the ground. These birds strike from above, so the attacked spider is unprepared for the attack. Since bluebirds are petite, they prefer hunting tiny or even baby spiders. Before the attack, a bluebird might spend a couple of minutes observing its target.


3. Blackbirds

blackbird perching on wooden fence

Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Blackbirds can be found worldwide, and they are among birds whose primary food source is spiders. They catch spiders directly on the ground, and they can spot them quickly because of their excellent eyesight and agility. Blackbirds prefer eating baby spiders as they are easy prey, and they also feed their babies with baby spiders they catch.


4. Crows

crows standing on ground

Image Credit: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

Crows are one of the most adaptable birds on the planet, as they will eat almost anything they can find. You can frequently notice crows eating spiders since they are easily accessible. Crows are not too picky, so they won’t intentionally hunt for spiders, especially if there’s another food source around them. Nevertheless, if a crow’s food source runs out and the crow notices a spider, it will undoubtedly eat it.


5. Jackdaws

jackdaw bird standing on ground

Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Jackdaws are great at catching insects, so they also hunt spiders if they’re hungry. These birds will hunt larger and smaller spiders if they have an opportunity. They have weird eating patterns, so jackdaws will also eat mice, snails, and frogs.


6. Blue tits

blue tit bird standing on a tree trunk

Image Credit: ginger, Pixabay

Blue tits are native to Europe and are known for their stunning colors. They are also considered birds that eat spiders. Although they won’t likely go spider-hunting, if they see an opportunity to eat a spider, they won’t hesitate. Blue tits also feed their baby birds with spiders, providing them the needed nutrients to develop and grow.


7. Barn swallows

barn swallow perching on a tree trunk

Image Credit: Elsemargriet, Pixabay

Barn swallows are a widely spread bird species you can find throughout the world. These birds love to find shelter in barns and other enclosed spaces. They will collect any food they can find, which commonly includes spiders.


8. Robins

robin bird on a tree trunk

Image Credit: susannp4, Pixabay

If you have a spider issue around your household, consider attracting robins to your yard. Robins are known for eating bugs and insects, so they also feed on spiders. Spiders and other insects make up more than half of robins’ diet, providing protein and other valuable nutrients.


9. Owls

owl perching on a tree

Image Credit: herbert2512, Pixabay

Most owls also hunt spiders and consume them in their regular diet. Still, this is not their primary food choice compared to some other insects and animals. Owls prefer to eat mice and frogs if they can find them in their environment.


10. Swallows

swallow bird perching on a wire

Image Credit: maroj10, Pixabay

Wild swallows feed on items they can find nearby, which commonly include spiders. They also eat flying insects, worms, and ants.


11. Wrens

wren bird perching on a tree

Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

Wrens are petite brown birds that primarily feed on insects. They consider spiders a true delicacy and love to eat them. Wrens are another bird species you can attract to your yard if you have a problem with too many spiders.


12. Tanagers

tanager bird perching on tree

Image Credit: marvinbla, Pixabay

Tanagers are brightly-colored birds commonly found throughout North America, and they also eat spiders. Their tactic is to pick spider webs off trees and swallow them alive. These birds can eat over 10 spiders per day.


13. Spiderhunters

spiderhunter bird perching on a plant

Image Credit: Erik_Karits, Pixabay

Spiderhunters got their name due to their outstanding ability to catch spiders. You can’t find these birds in the US, but they represent a great example of birds that eat spiders. They will first patiently wait for their prey and swallow the spider whole once it comes closer.

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Which types of spiders do birds eat?

Birds prefer to catch live spiders, although they will also eat a dead spider if hungry enough. They tend to adapt to eating the spiders in their surroundings, so the type of spiders they will eat depends mainly on their environment.

Types of spiders birds eat frequently include:
  • Sector Spider
  • Brown Recluse
  • Giant House Spider
  • American House Spider
  • Cellar Spider
  • Long-bodied Cellar Spider
  • Jumping Spider
  • Wolf Spider
  • Orb Spiders

Most of the spiders that birds consume are smaller in size so that they can catch them effortlessly. Still, larger birds tend to go for larger spiders if they can be found in the birds’ habitat.

Also, birds tend to go for non-venomous, tiny spiders, although some birds attack large, venomous spider species. Birds usually know which spider is safe for eating, and eating a venomous spider doesn’t necessarily need to be harmful to birds. Since the venom needs to access the birds’ blood to harm it, eating that spider won’t cause any issues.

wolf spider close up

Image Credit: mailmeyoufool, Pixabay

How do birds hunt spiders?

Birds have different techniques for catching spiders, and the way of hunting for spiders depends on the bird species. The most common methods of catching spiders include chasing them on the ground and in trees, picking them up from above, and taking them from their nests and webs.

Birds catch spiders with their beak, and some birds kill them before eating or crush them inside their beaks. Some birds will toss the spider in the air to attempt to kill or stun it. Birds that feed their babies with spiders will also kill the spider to ensure it won’t escape while bringing it to their nest.

Other birds prefer to eat spiders alive, right in the spot where they found the spider.

How to attract spider-eating birds to your backyard?

There are a couple of different ways to attract spider-eating birds to your backyard. You could create bird feeders and provide food for birds for a couple of days. That way, they will keep coming back to your backyard, while, once there’s no more food, they will start eating insects near your house.

Another great way to attract birds that eat spiders to your yard is to create a suitable environment that birds can enjoy. Consider planting shrubs, trees, and bushes that will attract birds.

You could also create a birdbath in your yard or hand a colorful birdhouse. Providing water and shelter is a great way to attract insect-eating birds, which can later become your regular visitors.

Conclusion

Spiders are a great source of protein and taurine, making them valuable food for birds. Birds that feed on spiders tend to be very healthy, fast, and well-developed. Spider-eating birds can even help you resolve a pest issue in your backyard, so this feeding habit represents a win-win situation for you and the birds.


Featured Image Credit: Chase D’animulls, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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