Do Sparrows Eat Ants?

Do Sparrows Eat Ants?

There are different types of birds in the world. Also, their feeding habits differ from each other. While some birds primarily feed on berries and seeds, there is a group of birds that feed on smaller creatures such as insects, worms, and ants.

Do sparrows eat ants? Yes, sparrows eat ants.

In this article, we will explore why sparrows eat ants and nutrition they receive from it.

Do Sparrows Eat Ants?

Sparrow are omnivores by nature meaning their diet includes just about anything edible such as fruit, vegetables, and yes – even ants if given an opportunity. Their primary diet also includes ants.

Interestingly enough though, unlike other birds such as northern flickers or downy woodpeckers which can’t resist ants, sparrows aren’t quite so picky.

Why Do Sparrows Eat Ants?

Sparrows are known for having diverse food sources, and ants make up a significant part of their diets.

Ants provide essential nutrients that contribute to maintaining the overall health of these small birds.

The protein-rich bodies of many types of insects, including ants, serve as an excellent source of energy for sparrows. Ants include not just protein, but also zinc, iron, and potassium.

These minerals are important for birds, for flying.

Nutrition Value To Sparrows From Eating Ants

Ants may be tiny creatures with busy lives underground or inside anthills; however, they offer nutritional value to birds like sparrows. Ants are packed with essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals which help boost sparrow’s metabolism.


Zinc is a vital mineral for birds as well as humans. It contributes to the healing of damaged tissues. Also, it facilitates protein synthesis and bolsters the bird’s immune system.


Protein is another essential component. As we all know that protein helps in growth and overall development. It aids in feather growth, hormone regulation, and the repair of injured tissues, similar to the effects of Zinc.


Iron helps in growth and provides energy, and it is also present in ants, contributing to the bird’s stamina.


Ants also contain less amount of magnesium. It contributes to optimal bone and heart health, further enhancing the bird’s well-being.

What Type Of Ants Do Sparrows Eat?

The types of ants consumed by sparrows may vary according to their habitat.

Birds mostly eat flying ants. While northern flickers diet and downy woodpeckers mainly feed on carpenter ants. The green Wood pecker’s Lunch includes smaller birds!

However, carpenter and flying ants are the most common ones that sparrows eat.

Some types of ants that sparrows eat are:

  • Carpenter ants
  • Harvester ants
  • Black garden ants
  • Pavements ants
  • Fire ants

How Do Sparrows Catch Ants?

You’ve probably seen it before: birds hopping on the ground, their sharp eyes scanning for something hidden beneath the grass. For a sparrow, this can be a hunting technique that gets them delicious ants and other insects.

The small birds use their pointed beak to grab and eat the ants. They also forage around the ground. Sparrows are also known to eat ants from branches of the trees.

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Do Baby Sparrows Eat Ants?

The diet of baby sparrows is slightly different from that of adult birds. These hatchlings require additional nutrients for growth and development.

While adult sparrows commonly consume insects, including ants. Sparrows feed their babies regurgitated food, which could contain tiny bits of ant matter in addition to seeds and berries.

As babies grow older and become more independent, they gradually introduce insects into their diets by themselves.

Are Ants Harmful To Birds?

Yes – especially when ants are eaten in more quantity, it could result in digestive issues.

It should be noted that ants are very safe to consume by sparrows and other birds. Only Fire ants are harmful to the nest. These ants can cause harm to nestlings.

What Other Kinds Of Birds Eat Ants?

Ant-eating birds are not limited to sparrows alone – various bird species eat ants. Some of these birds are

  • Downy woodpeckers
  • Northern flickers
  • Northern Cardinals
  • Crow
  • Raven
  • Owls
  • Pigeon

Frequently Asked Question

Can eating too many ants be harmful to birds?

Yes – especially when ants are eaten in more quantity, it could result in digestive issues.

Are all species of ants equally nutritious for birds?

Yes, ants are nutritious. It contains zinc, magnesium, iron, and protein.

How do birds find anthills or nests?

Birds have sharp eyesight when it comes to locating potential food sources. To locate ant hills, they might observe the behavior of other animals or follow scent trails left by neighboring ants.

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