Types of Live Food for Different Bird Species

Different bird species have varying dietary preferences, and live food can be an essential part of their diet. Live food is particularly important for many baby birds, as it provides essential nutrients for their growth and development. Here are some types of live food commonly fed to different bird species:


  • Bluebirds
  • Chickadees
  • Wrens
  • Robins
  • Woodpeckers


  • Bluebirds
  • Warblers
  • Thrushes
  • Chickadees
  • Nuthatches


  • Insect-eating songbirds (e.g., sparrows, finches)
  • Thrushes
  • Orioles
  • Cardinals

Fruit Flies:

  • Hummingbirds
  • Small softbills


  • Robins
  • Blackbirds
  • Thrushes
  • Starlings


  • Canaries
  • Finches
  • Lories and lorikeets


  • Swallows
  • Flycatchers
  • Sparrows
  • Buntings

Ants and Ant Pupae:

  • Antbirds (specialized insectivores that feed on ants)


  • Some warblers
  • Hornbills

Small Fish:

  • Kingfishers
  • Ospreys
  • Herons
  • Cormorants

Small Crustaceans (e.g., shrimp):

  • Gulls
  • Terns
  • Puffins

Small Mammals and Amphibians:

  • Raptors (eagles, hawks, owls)
  • Kingfishers


  • Many songbirds (e.g., finches, sparrows) eat a variety of insects, including caterpillars, beetles, and flies.

It's important to note that not all birds require live food in their diet. Many birds, such as pigeons, doves, and waterfowl, primarily feed on seeds, grains, and vegetation. Additionally, some bird species are omnivores and will eat a combination of live food and other food sources. Read our handy article about  the benefits of feeding live food to birds, not to mention when to feed live food to garden birds.

Bird feeding its young

When providing live food to birds, it's crucial to ensure that the insects or other live prey items are free from pesticides, and the feeding process should be carried out in a way that minimizes stress to the birds. Always consider the specific dietary needs of the bird species in question and provide a balanced diet that includes the live food appropriate for their natural feeding habits. Live food for Birds stocks a range of mealworms, mini mealworms earthworms, calciworms and waxworms which are suitable for wild birds.