What Birds Eat Millet? – List of 5 Birds & Facts About Them


Written by

Clinton Atkins



George Dukes

what birds eat millet

Millet is a type of wild grass that has small, round seeds and is a favorite of ground-feeding birds. These seeds are usually added in bird seed mixes, but not all birds like eating this wild grass seed.

This article will cover the topic of what birds eat millet. You may be wondering what kind of seeds for birds will your backyard bird visitors like. This depends on the birds you want to see in your garden. Read the article to find out what birds are attracted to millet seeds.

List of Birds That Eat Millet

Here are some of the bird species that like to add millet to their seed diet.

1. Mourning Dove (Zenaida marcoura)


The mourning dove is a medium-sized dove of the Columbidae family. They are very abundant in number and a common species found mostly in open countries, farms, towns, and roadsides.

Common name: American mourning dove, rain dove, turtle dove


  • Length: 31 centimeters (average)
  • Wingspan: 37-45 centimeters
  • Weight: 112-170 grams

Appearance: The male and female mourning doves look alike. They have brownish-gray feathers with a black and white tail. They have black spots on the wings, and their undersides are pinkish in color.

Diet: Mourning doves feed on an exclusive seed diet. They eat safflower, corn, white millet for birds and sunflower seeds. Millet for doves and pigeons is usually the white proso millet type and is the best for wild birds.

2. Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)


The eastern towhee is a large sparrow, and it belongs to the family of New World sparrows. It is known for its distinctive “chewink” call. They are commonly found in dense shrubs and thickets, preferring to forage on the ground.


  • Length: 17.3- 23 centimeters
  • Wingspan: 20-30 centimeters
  • Weight: 32-53 grams

Appearance: The eastern towhee is a large species of sparrow. The males have a black head, throat, and chest. It has a white belly and reddish brown on the sides. The female is mainly brown with a white belly like the male.

Diet: Eastern towhees are ground feeders and are omnivorous. They eat both plants and animals. They eat seeds and fruits, and they are known to also eat snakes, lizards, and frogs. Towhees like to eat white millet seeds.

3. California Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica)


This native North American bird belongs to the family Corvidae or the crow family. California Scrub-Jays are non-migratory and are permanent residents in the areas where they choose to nest. They can be found in oak forests, woodlands, and chaparrals.


  • Length: 27-31 centimeters
  • Wingspan: 39 centimeters (average)
  • Weight: 80 grams (average)

Appearance: This long-limbed bird is medium-sized and has a beautiful azure blue color on the head, wings, and tail. The throat is white with a bluish collar, and the underparts are somewhat gray.

Diet: California scrub jays enjoy an omnivorous diet. They eat insects such as spiders during the summer. Their diet also includes acorn seeds, nuts, and berries. Sometimes, you can see them feeding on small animals such as rodents and small reptiles.

4. Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)


The Purple Finch is a passerine bird under the family Fringillidae. They prefer to live in coniferous forests and along the edges of woodlands. They migrate in the winter to suburban areas, swaps, and other semi-open areas.


  • Length: 12-16 centimeters
  • Wingspan: 22-26 centimeters
  • Weight: 18-32 grams


  • Male Adult: The males are not really purple, but more of a pinkish-red coloration is present on the head, chest, and tail, with streaks on the back. The belly is white, and the wings are brown.
  • Female Adult: The females have no hint of red and are predominantly brown with whitish underparts.

Diet: Their diet is composed of seeds and berries. They like sunflowers, millet in bird seed mixes, and seeds from trees such as ash and elm.

5. Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) or the American Magpie


The black-billed Magpie is a bird that belongs to the same family of birds as the crows, ravens, and jackdaws. It has a distinctively long tail that makes up half of its length. Their preferred habitats are open woodlands, meadows, and grasslands.


Male and female species exhibit size dimorphism. The male magpies are considerably larger and heavier than the females.

  • Length: 45-60 centimeters (from tip to tail)
  • Wingspan: 205-209 millimeters (males) and 172-210 millimeters (females)
  • Weight: 167-216 grams (males) and 141-179 grams (females

Appearance: The black-billed magpie is a medium-sized bird. This species has a long tail with a layered arrangement, the middle pair of feathers being the longest.

The color of their plumage is a deep black on the head, neck, and back, with white on the chest and a white patch on the outer wings. The wings are iridescent blue.

Diet: The diet of the black-billed magpie is varied. It eats wild fruits, grains, and seeds such as millet for wild birds.

This fascinating bird also loves insects such as beetles and grasshoppers. Small animals are also included in their diet and are known to eat carrion.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is millet good for all birds?

No, not all birds will eat millet. Millet is good for birds, specifically ground-feeding birds, because most of them will eat millet, especially when scattered on the ground. Birds that love these small seeds include sparrows, juncos, grackles, and many species of doves.

Can I feed millet to wild birds?

Yes, it is safe to give millet seeds for birds that are wild but feed them only with white millet. This type of diet is usually mixed with other seeds in bird seed packets. It is a good source of carbohydrates and protein for birds.

Is red millet bird seed good for birds?

Try to avoid giving birds red millet since this is not a preferred food for most birds.

Most birds will not eat red millet on bird feeders and prefer white millet. Some birds eat red millet, but they will ignore it if they have other choices on your tray feeders. It is best to give them the more common bird seed plant sources such as sunflower oil seeds, thistle, and corn to ensure that they will eat it and not ignore it.

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Different birds have different preferences when it comes to their diet. To attract the birds to your backyard feeders, you must know what good bird food they prefer.

After reading this article, you already have an idea what birds eat millet. You can now look forward to seeing these birds in your garden as you start putting out the right bird food to attract colorful birds in your backyard. Share this article with other bird lovers if you find the article useful.

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