Does Snakes Eat Birds? Will Your Bird Be Next? 10 Fact

Yes, snakes can eat birds. They use their long, flexible bodies to coil around their prey and constrict it to death. Once the bird is dead, the snake will swallow it whole because they have a special kind of jaw that can unhinge. This allows them to open their mouths wide enough to fit even the largest birds. 

Snakes can kill birds in a variety of ways. So if you see a snake, be sure to give it a wide berth!

At the end of the article, you will learn: 

  • Different ways that snakes kill birds.
  • Types of snakes that eat birds.
  • Habitats where snakes and birds interact.
  • How humans can help to protect birds from snakes.
snakes catch a bird
Photo by Mark Stoop on Unsplash

Do Snakes Eat Birds?

To find out if snakes eat birds, we need to understand what snakes like to eat. Snakes are carnivores (meat-eaters), which means they mostly eat other animals. What they eat can vary depending on the type of snake and where they live.

Snakes preying birds, is it true?

There is evidence that snakes do eat birds. Scientists and people who study wildlife have seen snakes catching and eating birds. Some snakes are really fast and can snatch birds right out of the air! Other snakes use sneaky tactics to surprise birds and catch them for a meal.

Source: ScienceDaily

Misconceptions of bird consumption by snakes

Sometimes, people think that snakes only eat rodents or other reptiles and don’t eat birds. But that’s not true! Snakes are smart hunters, and they can eat many different kinds of animals, including birds. While not all snakes go after birds, many of them do enjoy a tasty bird snack.

birds targeted by snakes

The types of birds targeted by snakes

Snakes are known to target different types of birds as their prey. Here are some examples of the types of birds that snakes may target:

  • Small songbirds: Snakes can prey on small songbirds like sparrows, finches, or warblers.
  • Waterfowl: Snakes may go after waterfowl such as ducks or geese.
  • Gamebirds: Snakes might target gamebirds like quails, pheasants, or grouse.
  • Shorebirds: Certain snake species may prey on shorebirds such as sandpipers or plovers.
  • Nesting birds: Snakes are known to raid the nests of nesting birds, consuming eggs and baby birds of various species.
  • Urban birds: In urban areas, snakes may target city-dwelling birds like pigeons or starlings.
  • Birds of prey: While less common, snakes can even pose a threat to birds of prey like hawks or owls.

The hunting strategies by snakes to capture birds

Snakes have developed unique strategies to capture birds as prey. Some snakes, like tree-dwelling pythons, may coil around tree branches and wait for birds to come within striking distance. 

Others, like quick and agile racers, might chase after birds on the ground or even snatch them right out of the air. Each snake species has its own hunting technique that suits its particular habitat and prey preferences.

Read More: Why Cats Kill Birds

How snakes select birds as their prey

  • Availability of birds in their environment. 
  • Snakes may prefer smaller birds that are easier to handle and swallow. 
  • Larger snakes can take on bigger birds.

How do snakes attack birds?

  • Venomous fangs: Some snakes possess venomous fangs that inject venom into their bird prey, immobilizing or killing them. Examples: Pit vipers (e.g., rattlesnakes, copperheads)
  • Constriction: Certain snake species, like pythons and boa constrictors, use constriction to suffocate and subdue their avian victims.
  • Camouflage: Snakes often have patterns or colors that help them blend into their surroundings, allowing them to approach birds unnoticed.
  • Heat-sensing pits: Pit vipers, such as rattlesnakes, have specialized organs called heat-sensing pits that help them detect the body heat of birds, enabling precise targeting in low-light conditions.
  • Swallowing capabilities: Snakes have flexible jaws and stretchy skin that allow them to swallow birds whole, even if the prey is larger than the snake’s head.

Types of Snakes That Prey on Birds

Snakes that eat birds can be found in all parts of the world, including South America, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The most common snakes that eat birds include Boa constrictors and Pythons.

Snakes that eat birds can be either venomous or non-venomous. Venomous snakes use their venom to kill their prey, while non-venomous snakes use their teeth to constrict and kill their prey.

Black Racers:

  • These fast and agile snakes are known for their ability to catch birds on the ground or in low vegetation.
  • They can be found in various habitats, including forests, fields, and even urban areas.

Black Rat Snakes:

  • Black Rat Snakes are excellent climbers and are skilled at raiding bird nests high up in trees.
  • They have a wide distribution and can be found in different habitats, such as forests and grasslands.


  • Bullsnakes are powerful constrictors and have been observed preying on both ground-dwelling and tree-dwelling birds.
  • They inhabit grasslands, deserts, and open woodlands across their range.


  • Coachwhips are highly active and agile snakes known for their exceptional speed.
  • They hunt birds by chasing them down, often in open areas like deserts, grasslands, and scrublands.


  • While primarily known for consuming rodents, some Copperhead snakes have been observed feeding on small birds.
  • Copperheads can be found in forested areas, rocky hillsides, and near water sources.

Corn Snakes:

  • Corn Snakes are commonly kept as pets, but they are also skilled predators of birds in the wild.
  • They can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and farmland.

Fox Snakes:

  • Fox Snakes are opportunistic hunters that feed on a range of prey, including birds.
  • They are often encountered near wetlands, grassy areas, and agricultural fields.

Garter Snakes:

  • Garter Snakes have a varied diet that includes amphibians, fish, and birds.
  • They are adaptable snakes and can be found in diverse environments like grasslands, forests, and wetlands.


  • Kingsnakes are powerful constrictors that consume a variety of prey, including birds and their eggs.
  • They are found in different habitats, ranging from deserts to forests and even urban areas.

Pine Snakes:

  • Pine Snakes are known for their burrowing behavior and are skilled hunters of ground-dwelling birds.
  • They are typically found in sandy areas and pine forests.
Snakes preying birds

Do snakes eat baby birds and birds’ eggs?

Yes, Snakes can eat both eggs and baby birds. Snakes are attracted to bird nests because they are a reliable source of food. Bird eggs are a high-quality source of protein, and baby birds are easy to catch and kill.

Snakes will often raid bird nests at night when the birds are not around. They will climb into the nest and eat as many eggs or baby birds as they can.

How to prevent snakes from targeting pet birds

  • Remove food sources. Snakes are attracted to food, so removing any potential food sources from your yard will help to deter them. This includes things like pet food, birdseed, and garbage.
  • Secure your birdhouses. If you have birdhouses in your yard, make sure they are secure so that snakes cannot access them. You can do this by nailing the birdhouses to a sturdy tree or post.
  • Trim your vegetation. Snakes like to hide in vegetation, so trimming your shrubs and trees will make it more difficult for them to find a place to hide.
  • Install snake fencing. If you live in an area with a lot of snakes, you may want to consider installing snake fencing around your yard. This will prevent snakes from entering your yard in the first place.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. When you are outside, be aware of your surroundings and look for snakes. If you see a snake, do not approach it and call a professional to remove it.
  • Keep your bird feeders clean and free of debris. Snakes are attracted to the scent of food, so keeping your bird feeders clean will help to deter them.
  • Remove any potential nesting sites. Snakes like to lay their eggs in warm, dark places. If you have any potential nesting sites in your yard, such as piles of rocks or wood, remove them.
  • Monitor your birdbaths. Snakes are attracted to water, so make sure to monitor your birdbaths and remove any snakes that you see.
  • Be vigilant. The best way to prevent snakes from attacking your pet birds is to be vigilant and look for them. If you see a snake, do not approach it and call a professional to remove it.

What animal eats a bird except for snakes

Here are some other animals that eat birds:

  • Hawks
  • Owls
  • Falcons
  • Eagles
  • Hawksbill sea turtles
  • Snakes
  • Bobcats
  • Cougars
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Weasels


Do pythons eat birds?

Yes, pythons do eat birds. In fact, they are one of the main predators of birds in their habitat. Pythons are constrictor snakes, which means they kill their prey by wrapping their bodies around it and suffocating it. Once the bird is dead, the python will swallow it whole.

Do sparrows eat snakes?

No, sparrows are not known to eat snakes. In fact, they are preyed upon by snakes themselves. However, there have been reports of sparrows attacking snakes in self-defense.

Do birds eat snakes?

Yes, there are some birds that do eat snakes, such as the secretary bird. Secretary birds are large, ground-dwelling birds that live in Africa. They have long legs and a sharp beak that they use to catch snakes. They will also eat other small animals, such as rodents and lizards.

Wrap Up

The question “Do snakes eat birds?” is affirmed by nature’s reality. Snakes, as predators, play a crucial role in the ecosystem by consuming birds. Understanding this natural dynamic encourages coexistence and underscores the importance of maintaining a balance in the intricate web of life.

Here are some studies that have been published on snakes eating birds:

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