Seeds come in all shapes and sizes, and are an important part of the diet for many bird species. This variety in seeds has thus led to a wide variety of bird beaks used to feed on them. Seed eating birds can be divided into two groups; those that husk the seed before eating it, and those that swallow the seed whole. Seed eaters that husk seeds have specially adapted beaks; it has a conical shape with a groove and cutting edge on the lower and upper mandible. Those that swallow the seeds whole do not have specially adapted beaks. In both groups the beak shape and size determines the type and size of the seeds that a bird will feed on, and for many of these birds they will make use of seeds in their diet for a major portion of the year.
Thank you to all the photographers that submitted photos of seed eating birds, your pictures can create awareness about the diversity and beauty of this group of birds. Here we present the Top 25 photographs of seed eating birds.
Scaly-breasted munias have a main diet of seeds and berries, they are social foragers and feed in flocks (Praveen K Bhat)Baya weaver displaying on his nest in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, these birds feed on seeds from plants and on the ground (Indranil Bhattacharjee)White-throated sparrow feeding on seeds in the USA (Kelly Hunt)Oriental turtle doves are native to Europe and east Asia, they feed on a wide range of seeds, and forage on the ground (Ashok Appu)Military macaws have large beaks that are ideal for opening and breaking into hard shelled seeds and nuts, these birds are distributed in the forests of Mexico and South America (J Bernardo Sanchez)Red-winged blackbirds are omnivorous birds found in most of North and Central America (Gargi Biswas)Red munia perched atop a plant, its main diet consists of seeds, and its beak turns red during the breeding season (Ganesh Rao)Beautiful grey junglefowls are distributed in the Indian Peninsula and feed on grains, insects, and berries (Shantanu Bhattacharya)Swamp sparrow in New Jersey, USA, its main diet in winter is seed, while in summer it is arthropods (Anthony Cedrone)European goldfinches are native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, they have been introduced into other areas, and feed predominantly on small seeds (Jilly Sidebottom)Bearded reedlings feed on seeds in winter, and on aphids in the summer, they are distributed in temperate Europe and Asia (Zafer Tekin)Song sparrows are an American sparrow species that feeds on seeds and insects, they make use of their song to attract females and declare territory (Henser Villela)Scaly-breasted munia in Haryana, India, the bill of this species is suitable for crushing seeds (Nishant Rana)Indian silverbill peeking out from behind the leaves, in Gujarat, India (Unmesh Jadav)Black francolin close up, in addition to their diet of berries, insects, and larvae, these birds feed on grass and cereal crop seeds (Sanjay Solanki)Red-headed bullfinches are found in Bhutan, Nepal, India, and Tibet, they feed on seeds of trees and plants (Ajoy Kumar Dawn)Chestnut-bellied nuthatches are found in the Indian subcontinent, they feed on insects, seeds and nuts (Hitesh Chawla)Russet sparrows are from eastern Asia and the Himalayas, they have a thick bill that is ideal for eating seeds (Ramesh Aithal)Tri-coloured munias are native to Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and southern China, they feed on grains and seeds (Sandeep Beas)Red crossbills, like other crossbills, have distinctive mandibles that allow them to extract seeds from conifer cones and other fruits, this species breeds in North America, Europe, and Asia (Jola Charlton)Indian silverbills are found in the Indian subcontinent, they feed in flocks on grass and crop seeds (Shantharama Holla K)Zebra doves are native to Southeast Asia, they feed on small grass seeds and insects, like most other doves they have a crop attached to their throat that allows them to swallow food whole and digest it slowly (Radhakrishnan Sadasivam)White-eared bulbul in Aravali Biodiversity Park, Haryana, India (Aman Sharma)Nilgiri pipits are endemic to the high-altitude hills of southern India, they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN due to their grassland habitat being threatened by wattle plantations (Pallavi Sarkar)Mourning doves feed mainly on seeds and will fill their crops to capacity, the seeds are then digested while the bird is resting; to help digest the seeds they will swallow grit such as fine sand (Kishore Bakshi)
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Edited by Laurie Johnson, Campaign Manager