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What Birds Eat Mealworm: The Ultimate Guide

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Mealworm is a popular dish for birds but not all birds eat mealworm. What birds eat mealworm? Birds such as bluebirds, robins, wrens, chickadees, and sparrows eat mealworms. Mealworms are a popular bird food among bird enthusiasts.

These tasty treats are high in protein and fat, making them a nutritious snack for a variety of bird species. Some birds that regularly eat mealworms include bluebirds, robins, wrens, chickadees, and sparrows. If you’re wondering what birds eat mealworms and planning to attract them to your backyard, offering these worms can help entice your feathered visitors.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of feeding mealworms to birds and how to do it proper

What is a mealworm?

What is a mealworm?

aMealworms are the larval stage of darkling beetles. They’re small, segmented, and brownish, resembling worms. Despite their name, they’re not worms but insect larvae. Mealworms are commonly used as pet food and in livestock feed due to their high protein content. They’re also used in various culinary dishes for their nutty flavor and nutritional value. These versatile larvae are a popular choice for entomophagy, the practice of eating insects.

Understanding Mealworms

Mealworms are a staple in the diet of many bird species. They are the larvae of the darkling beetle and are commonly found in pet stores and bait shops. Mealworms are high in protein and fat, both of which are essential for birds to maintain their energy levels and stay healthy.

They also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can aid in digestion and promote overall wellness. Raising and breeding mealworms at home can be a cost-effective way to ensure your birds are getting the nutrients they need. It’s a simple process that requires some basic supplies and a little bit of patience.

By understanding the importance of mealworms in a bird’s diet and learning how to raise them at home, you can help your feathered friends thrive.

Birds List That Eat Mealworm

Many bird species enjoy mealworms as part of their diet. Some of the birds that commonly eat mealworms include:

  1. Bluebirds
  2. Robins
  3. Chickadees
  4. Nuthatches
  5. Wrens
  6. Sparrows
  7. Thrushes
  8. Warblers
  9. Orioles
  10. Woodpeckers
  11. Starlings
  12. Mockingbirds
  13. Blackbirds

Keep in mind that offering mealworms can attract a variety of bird species to your feeding station, providing a diverse and enjoyable birdwatching experience.

Why Do Birds Love Mealworms?

Why Do Birds Love Mealworms?

Birds have a preference for mealworms due to their high protein, fat, and fiber content. Studies have shown that birds have a higher feeding rate when eating mealworms, indicating their satisfaction. When compared with other food options, mealworms have a higher nutritional value, which is beneficial for the birds’ health.

The presence of chitin in mealworms also aids birds in maintaining healthy digestive systems. Therefore, birds’ inclination towards mealworms as their diet is due to the nutritional benefits it provides. As a result, supplying mealworms can attract birds to feeders and provide them with essential nutrients for their well-being.

Which Birds Eat Mealworms?

Mealworms are a popular food source for certain bird species. Bluebirds, robins and wrens are among those that consume them. These worms play a crucial role in the migration process as they provide much-needed energy for the birds. To attract birds that feed on mealworms to your backyard, invest in a mealworm feeder and place it in a convenient location.

Additionally, you can offer other foods that these birds enjoy such as suet cakes, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. Overall, providing mealworms to your avian guests can help support their health and wellbeing, while offering you the opportunity to enjoy their company in your own backyard.

How To Feed Mealworms To Birds?

Feeder Placement:

  • Use a designated mealworm feeder or a dish with raised edges to prevent escape.
  • Place the feeder in an open area, away from dense foliage where birds can spot it easily.

Gradual Introduction:

  • Start by offering a small amount of mealworms to see if the birds in your area are interested.


  • Ensure mealworms are well-hydrated by providing a shallow dish of water nearby. This is especially important for nestlings.

Live or Dried Mealworms:

  • Offer live mealworms for insectivorous birds that prefer movement, or dried mealworms for convenience.

Food Variety:

  • Supplement mealworms with a balanced diet of seeds, fruits, and nuts to meet the birds’ nutritional needs.


  • Provide mealworms regularly, especially during breeding seasons or harsh weather when insect supply is limited.

Suet or Mealworm Mixes:

  • Combine mealworms with suet or birdseed mixes. This adds extra nutrition and can attract a wider range of bird species.

Avoid Contamination:

  • Ensure mealworms are from a reputable source and free from pesticides or contaminants harmful to birds.


  • Regularly clean feeders and remove any uneaten mealworms to prevent spoilage or the spread of disease.


  • Watch for bird reactions. Some species may be more inclined to eat mealworms than others.

Adjust Quantity:

  • Pay attention to how quickly the mealworms are consumed. Adjust the amount provided to match the birds’ appetite.

Provide Cover:

  • Place feeders near natural cover like shrubs or trees to give birds a safe space to retreat after feeding.

Monitor for Predators:

  • Keep an eye out for any potential predators, such as squirrels or cats, and take steps to deter them.

Remember, patience is key. It may take some time for birds to discover and become accustomed to mealworms. Once they do, you’ll likely have some feathered visitors enjoying this protein-rich treat!

How to Raise Mealworms

Raising mealworms is relatively straightforward and can be a rewarding experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to raise mealworms:

Materials Needed:

Container: Use a plastic or glass container with a lid. It should be well-ventilated but also escape-proof.

Substrate: Provide a substrate for the mealworms to live in. Rolled oats, bran, or wheat germ are common choices.

Food: Mealworms feed on a variety of grains and fruits. Common options include oats, wheat bran, carrots, and apples.

Water Source: Provide a moisture source like slices of fruits or vegetables. Alternatively, use a water gel or dampened cotton.

Darkness: Mealworms prefer dark environments, so consider using a container with an opaque lid.

Step-by-Step Process:

Step 1: Setting Up the Container:

Add a layer of substrate to the bottom of the container, about 2-3 inches deep.

Step 2: Adding Mealworms

Purchase mealworms or start with a small batch from a reliable source. Place them in the container on top of the substrate.

Step 3: Providing Food

Scatter food over the substrate. Replace it every few days to ensure it stays fresh.

Step 4: Water Source

Place slices of fruits or vegetables in the container, or use a water gel or damp cotton. Mealworms get most of their moisture from their food.

Step 5: Maintaining Temperature

Keep the container at a temperature between 70-80°F (21-27°C). Mealworms thrive in warmer environments.

Step 6: Ventilation

Ensure there is adequate ventilation, but avoid large holes that may allow the mealworms to escape.

Step 7: Darkness

Cover the container with an opaque lid or cloth to provide a dark environment. Mealworms are nocturnal and prefer darkness.

Step 8: Cleaning and Removing Waste

Periodically sift through the substrate to remove waste and any dead mealworms. Replace the soiled substrate with fresh material.

Step 9: Life Cycle Observations

Watch as the mealworms progress through their life stages: larva, pupa, and adult beetle.

Step 10: Harvesting Mealworms

When the mealworms reach the larval stage, they can be harvested for feeding to birds or other pets. Gently sift them out from the substrate.

Step 11: Breeding Beetles

If you want to sustain a continuous supply of mealworms, allow some larvae to pupate and transform into darkling beetles. Provide a separate container with a layer of soil for them to lay eggs.

Remember, consistency in providing food, and water, and maintaining a suitable environment is crucial for successful mealworm breeding. With proper care, you can have a steady supply of mealworms for feeding birds or other insectivorous pets.

Storing Mealworms for Birds

Storing Mealworms for Birds

Storing mealworms for birds requires a thoughtful approach to maintain their freshness and nutritional value. Begin by selecting a well-ventilated, escape-proof container with a secure lid, ideally made of plastic or glass. Line the container’s bottom with a layer of substrate, such as rolled oats or bran, providing a comfortable base for the mealworms. It’s crucial to avoid overcrowding, ensuring they’re stored in a single layer to prevent stress and cannibalism.

Do note that supply a continuous source of fresh fruits or vegetables, like apple slices or carrots, and replace them every few days. Additionally, maintain a stable temperature between 70-80°F (21-27°C) in a cool, dark place, as mealworms thrive in warmth and darkness. Regularly sift through the substrate to remove waste, deceased mealworms, and any mouldy food, replacing soiled material to uphold cleanliness. With proper care, you can ensure a steady supply of nutritious mealworms for your avian companions.

Frequently Asked Questions On What Birds Eat Mealworm

Which Birds Eat Mealworms?

Some common birds that eat mealworms include bluebirds, robins, wrens, woodpeckers, and chickadees. Mealworms are also favorites of backyard favorites like finches and sparrows.

What Are Mealworms?

Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle. They are a popular choice of live food for birds, reptiles, and other pets. They are also high in protein and easy to raise at home.

Are Mealworms Good For Birds?

Mealworms are an excellent source of protein for birds. They are especially valuable during the breeding season when parents need to provide their young with a high-nutrient diet. To ensure maximum health benefits and safety, only offer birds commercially raised mealworms.

How Do You Feed Birds Mealworms?

You can feed birds mealworms by offering them in a dish or on a platform feeder. Another option is to place them in a specialized mealworm feeder that allows birds to cling to the side and pluck out individual worms.

Can You Raise Your Own Mealworms?

Yes, you can raise your own mealworms at home. All you need is a container, some wheat bran or oatmeal for bedding, and mealworms to start a colony. With proper care, mealworms will multiply and provide a steady supply of live food for birds or other pets.


Overall, mealworms are highly nutritious and valuable food for birds. They are packed with essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals that are necessary for a bird’s health and development. Whether you are attracting wild birds to your backyard or feeding your pet bird, mealworms make a great addition to their daily diet.

These insects are versatile and easy to offer, and many bird species just can’t resist them. So, whether you want to encourage bird feeding or just want to keep your bird healthy and happy, incorporating mealworms into their diet is a smart and practical choice.

Remember, offering a varied and balanced diet to your birds is crucial for their well-being, and mealworms are an excellent way to achieve this goal. Keep in mind these tips and enjoy the beautiful sight of birds enjoying their favorite meal.

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Angela K. Stone

Angela K. Stone, a devoted bird lover, has worked with the Bird Welfare Organization for years.

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