Insects as bird food
In nature, birds are looking for food all day long. Due to their rapid metabolism and high body temperature, they require a lot of energy. Birds are not capable to break into their fat reserves when confronted with acute famine. This means that a bird who cannot eat a whole day long, will have serious metabolism problems within 24 hours. In nature, animals have a highly varied menu consisting of some important food sources like insects, worms, eggs of other birds, fruits and some seeds. Animal products make up at least 20of the menu while seed is only a small part of it.
Nevertheless, birds in our houseroom are offered ready-to-eat bird food, containing all necessary ingredients, which is usually bird seed. Young birds are lucky to have some egg food in their menu or are raised on high-protein dressing. Once they are full-grown and eat independently, all whats left on the menu is: seed. All birds need their daily animal proteins to get important essential amino acids and vitamin A, B1 and B12 down. The amino acids profile of insects is quite similar to that of plumes (= 90proteins). Birds will show ailments if these substances, which are not found in vegetable products (like seeds), are not offered to them. The necessary proteins come from their own muscles (lose weight), the internal organs render fat (bad condition, short of breath). Moreover, they could also suffer from epileptic attacks (vitamin B1 deficiency which affects the nervous system) and from infections (no resistance without vitamin A).
Each bird category eats insects as staple or supplementary food
In free nature, most seed-eating tropical birds feed primarily on ripe and half-ripe seeds, next to insects. They are occasionally considered as complete insect eaters due to the feed they give to their young. Even the majority of bird species in captivity feed primarily on seeds, but even then should we offer them animal feed and especially during nesting period.
Seed-eating birds make up the greater part of hobby animals. The following species eat insects or can be taught to eat them.
- European birds (wild birds)
- Tropical birds
- Small and large parakeets (e.g. the blue-winged parakeet )
- Domesticated birds, such as canary birds
These birds feed primarily on insects. Insect-eating birds are found all over the world, such as in European and more tropical continents.
Grackles are mad about Topinsect insects.
The menu of water birds, like ducks etc, is very broad but insects are a daily part of it. Insects are particularly essential for peepers during the first days after hatching out of the eggs. A lack of insects often leads to dead.
It seems logical that carnivorous animals need animal food, but it is still remarkable that there are also insect eaters among raptors such as the honey-buzzard (80of its food consists of insects). It is also known that small species of raptors eat insects.