Updated at: 25-07-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Vegetables, insects, fruits, seeds, and other plant and animal products are all staples in a bird’s diet. However, many people wonder if birds really do eat butterflies. They are also interested in learning if birds can safely eat butterflies.

Clearly, birds do, in fact, consume butterflies; there’s no equivocation about that. Food-wise, butterflies offer a lot of advantages to avian species. Butterflies provide food and sustenance for many species of birds.

Do All Birds Eat Butterflies?

Although it is true that nearly all bird species consume butterflies, their eggs, and their larva, actual butterfly consumption by birds is extremely unusual.

The monarch butterfly, however, is not particularly appetizing to its predators, such as birds. That’s why you won’t see very many birds gobbling up monarch butterflies.

Adult monarch butterflies receive their flavor from the cardiac glycosides in the milkweed they ate as larvae, which were absorbed into their bodies.

Butterflies are unaffected by this material, however it is deadly to birds and other potential predators. The Monarch butterfly is a good example of a non-toxic species of butterfly that can coexist with birds. Most birds avoid eating butterflies because their bodies are more nourishing than their wings.

Birds hate brightly colored butterflies because they are bitter and contain nutrients that are highly poisonous to them.

Birds like orioles and grosbeaks, on the other hand, are smart enough to slice open and clean the abdomens of butterflies to avoid getting drunk.

Birds do eat butterflies, but it’s not always their first choice. That’s because catching a butterfly takes a lot of energy, as butterflies’ bodies are evolved to ward against predators like birds.

Therefore, birds must follow them in order to catch them and eat them. In contrast, birds avoid eating butterflies since some species don’t have a particularly pleasant flavor or are bad for their health.

What Kinds of Birds Eat Butterflies?

Do Birds Eat Butterflies

The majority of birds occasionally consume butterflies. Warblers, orioles, grosbeaks, blue jays, martins, great crested, tanagers, northern mockingbirds, and many others are just some of the species that may be found here.

Some birds, despite claims to the contrary, prefer to feast on butterflies rather than seeds. Birds that don’t consume seeds include parrots, which will gladly take the opportunity to eat insects if presented with one.

However, birds who feed on insects and have a high tolerance for the poisonous nutrients found in monarch butterflies, or birds that are smart enough to remove all the poisonous organs from the body of the butterflies, are the most likely to consume butterflies.

Do Birds Attack Butterflies?

Birds are the most dangerous predators butterflies face.

However, butterflies have developed strategies over time to protect themselves against predators, such as producing nutrients that are harmful to birds. Nevertheless, even if there are birds that can tolerate these harmful nutrients, they still regularly attack butterflies in great numbers.

How Do Birds Eat Butterflies?

The majority of birds consume butterflies in the same manner they consume other insects. Some birds, like orioles, are savvy enough to cut open the prey’s stomach before devouring it, so reducing the amount of potentially poisonous organs and nutrients consumed.

Unlike other birds, Orioles may consume enormous numbers of butterflies this manner.

How Often Do Birds Eat Butterflies?

Butterflies are a twice-daily snack for birds. They don’t stick to just one source of food. They ensure they stay healthy by eating a wide variety of foods. Now, let’s pretend you’re feeding the birds butterflies.

In that case, once a day, you can give them a meal consisting of fruits, insects, caterpillars, veggies, etc.

In addition, birds shouldn’t be fed butterflies more than twice a day, as the insects contain compounds that might be poisonous to them in large doses.

Do Small Birds Eat Butterflies?

Do Birds Eat Butterflies-2

Tiny birds do, in fact, snack on butterfly wings. Wrens are little birds, but eating too many butterflies can be bad for their health. This is because butterflies contain poisons.

The seize the butterfly and devour it in a matter of seconds; yet, little birds are also birds.

Butterflies are healthy insects, which is a major reason why birds consume them. Birds naturally subsist on a diet of insects.

What Kind of Birds Eat Monarch Butterflies?

The overwintering locations for monarch butterflies are threatened by birds like black-headed grosbeaks and black-backed orioles, which are resistant to poison and thus able to consume vast numbers of monarch butterflies without getting sick.

Orioles clean monarch butterflies by slashing their abdomens to remove the toxins before eating them. Large swarms of these birds consume vast numbers of monarch butterflies in Central Mexico, where numerous overwintering colonies can be found.

As monarch butterflies are exceedingly toxic to birds, they have never been the target of widespread predation in places other than Mexico.

However, because the Mexican monarch lacks the harmful elements, these butterflies are a favorite food of birds like Orioles, which are able to handle a relatively high intake of toxic nutrients.

Why Do Birds Not Eat Monarch Butterflies?

To put it simply, monarch butterflies have compounds with a really terrible taste, which is why birds avoid eating them. Because of this, the moment a bird eats one of these butterflies, it immediately throws up.

But they will try to consume anything that looks like a monarch butterfly, including the viceroy butterfly. Monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed leaves.

Aminoglycosides, which are present in these eggs, are cardiotoxic. These compounds are ingested by the caterpillar while it feeds on milkweed leaves.

The chrysalis phase then serves to keep them alive and well. This substance is still present in the butterfly’s system after it emerges from its metamorphosis.

Because of the intense pain caused by that chemical, the bird immediately begins to vomit the butterfly after ingesting it. Because of the aminoglycosides, the bird experiences chest agony similar to that of a heart attack.


Birds are just one of many different species that prey on butterflies.

When birds can get their beaks on a butterfly, they consume it. Many species of birds enjoy eating butterflies, so it’s not like they’re rare.

Rate this post