The Birds That Surprisingly Eat Termites

Termites are rarely considered to be the targets of animal predators. However, many animals consume termites. Birds are among the most common of termite predators, but some birds consume termites far more often than others. The woodpecker is one type of bird that eats termites regularly. This is easy to understand since woodpeckers must make contact with wood-eating termites often. But there are a few other types of birds that you would never guess enjoy feasting on termites. These birds include toucans, waterbirds, geese, storks and even chickens.

You may not see chickens roaming around often, but if you did, then you would find them picking at the soil in order to consume various types of insects. Chickens would seem to be particularly attracted to termite meals since they have often been observed gobbling down large numbers of termites in ravenous frenzies. If you were to place a termite infested log in front of a chicken, it would only be a matter of seconds before every visible termite wound up in the chicken’s guts.

Although termites cause problems for people in the United States, they are even more abundant in tropical regions of the world. This is why the well known tropical bird referred to as the toucan has developed a taste for termites. The toco toucan of South America feasts on termites regularly, and is the only type of toucan known for doing so. In addition to the toco toucan, the yellow-rumped cacique feeds on winged termites while they are swarming. In North America, a type of waterbird known as the black phoebe also feeds on swarming termites. Waterbirds are well known for their termite-eating habits. For example, the marabou stork, will scavenge for termites and carrion. Egyptian geese are known for consuming a variety of different types of termites. Basically, any type of bird that feeds on insects will also consume termites whenever the opportunity arises.

Have you ever witnessed a bird, or several birds, eating an insect of any type? Do all birds eat insects?