What Birds Eat Peanuts? – 9 Avian Species


Written by

Clinton Atkins



George Dukes

what birds eat peanuts

The edible seeds of peanuts, which are high in protein and fiber, are an excellent source of wholesome nutrition for birds, especially during winter.

So, what birds eat peanuts? It might surprise you that a variety of birds love this food. These include the lovely blue jays, cardinals, doves, and even wild birds!

Keep reading as we delve more into our peanut lover’s feathered friends and the way they want it served.

Avian Species That Eat Peanuts


Most birds in the world are classified as omnivores. This means that their diet consists of both plants (including seeds) and animals—however, different avians like different kinds of peanuts. Some like eating the nut whole, while some prefer unshelled ones.

Listed below are 9 common kind of birds eat peanuts:

#1 Blue Jays


Blue jays eat peanuts whether in a shell or not. One thing about them is that you will never see them waste any drop of seed. If anything, they will try their best to cram as many peanuts as possible into their throat and bill. Aren’t they amazing?

#2 Native Sparrows

Native sparrows are not regular eaters of peanuts. However, small birds like them and robins would enjoy crushed peanuts the most. This is due to the fact that it is safer for them to get the nutrients quickly while the predators are on the lookout.

#3 Northern Cardinals


Peanuts are one of the top favorite seeds of northern cardinals. These cute birds prefer unshelled peanuts but can eat the shelled peanuts as well, thanks to their short yet powerful beaks. That said, they are not picky eaters and can eat peanut butter too.

#4 American Crow

American crows are wild birds that can quickly devour a bunch of food scraps. But if you want to make friends with these omnivores’ neighbors, give them their favorite unsalted peanuts.

Crows are a bit more suspicious than other peanut lovers. However, the constant offering would be enough to build their trust in you. Just be extra careful, as, in many jurisdictions, it may be illegal to feed these birds.

#5 Mourning Doves


Doves are born with short, slender beaks that make it easier for them to eat seeds.

However, it is not designed to split open shells; hence they love shelled peanuts.

In particular, they enjoy sunflower seeds. On the other hand, sweetened or raw peanuts should not be given.

#6 Woodpecker

Apparently, these colorful large-sized birds are also a fan of peanuts—they love bulk peanuts and sometimes sunflower seeds.

In fact, if they spot a chance to get peanuts from bird feeders, they’ll probably stick around to crack open the shells.

#7 Ravens


It turns out that ravens and crows are not simply similar in appearance, but they also have the same favorite snacks. Aside from fruits and vegetables, ravens also love unsalted peanuts and other types of nuts.

#8 Nuthatches

Just like other backyard birds, nuthatches love hanging around peanut feeders. Their preferences are unshelled and unsalted. Adding peanut butter to the feeder will surely make it a buffet for these songbirds as well.

#9 Black-capped Chickadee


Who could possibly forget that the cute black-capped chickadee is also a big fan of peanuts?

These birds absolutely adore peanuts and peanut butter. Spread these foods in your backyards and tree branches, and the avian will flock to your home. Just make sure that the nuts are crushed into small pieces for easy consumption.



What kind of peanuts can you feed to different kinds of birds?

From the number of available varieties in the market, you might wonder what the best one is for different types of birds.

A great piece of advice would be not to feed birds sugared or salted peanuts. These are high in sugar and salt, which can be detrimental to the avian’s health.

In addition, birds should not consume raw peanuts. Not only will the uncooked food obstruct their digestion, but it could also impede their absorption of nutrients. Hence, dry roasted peanuts are preferable.

In a nutshell, the best peanuts for birds are whole, shelled, and crushed peanuts. Peanut butter is great as well, but should be served in moderation.

Can birds eat peanuts in the shell?

Yes! Larger species, such as crows or ravens, will have no problem eating whole peanuts. However, for smaller birds, it’s best to remove the shell to feed them. In fact, some might even prefer crushed nuts, as the tiny pieces won’t be a choking hazard.

Are peanuts good for birds?

If you are worried that peanuts are good for birds, you have one less problem to worry about! Technically, peanuts are legumes, not nuts. Whatever it is called, peanuts are an excellent source of nutrition for the birds.

They are packed with high fat and protein that is perfect for the winter season. However, anything that is too much is not healthy. Peanuts are best given during the cold season as they can fill their energy storage.

When should we not feed birds with peanuts?

In general, peanuts are safe for birds. However, parrots might be the exception to this, as it is hard to know if Aflatoxin (a dangerous toxin caused by the Aspergillus fungus) is present.

How to feed peanuts to backyard birds?

You should first know what type of peanut to offer. Then, scatter enough peanuts for 1-2 days on the ground or your chosen feeder.

It is best to put a variety of peanuts from feeders to attract different kinds of birds. If whole nuts are unavailable, you can spread the peanut butter directly on the trunk of trees or holes. Be careful of overfeeding, as the food may turn rancid before the birds get to it.

Kibbled peanuts are also a good alternative as they have a lower risk for aspiration for young birds during breeding.

What is the best bird feeder for peanuts to attract birds?

We have so much on the list, but the top would be the Naturesroom Peanut Bird Feeder. It can hold up to 2 pounds in weight, leaving plenty of food for the birds. It is also chew-proof, which means less damage and more prolonged use.

Do all birds eat peanuts?

Even though most birds are omnivores, not all of them enjoy peanuts. Birds not eating peanuts may be due to their varied tastes, while some prefer fresher foods instead of peanuts that are rich in fat.

Can birds choke on peanuts?

Absolutely! Not only are peanuts larger than most seeds, but these are a choking hazard for baby birds. With this, providing a great water source is essential, especially for birds with nutty diets.

In addition, you may want to de-shell and chop the peanuts into small species if feeding small avian species.


You might have thought that feeding birds peanuts is a confusing thing to do. But since you now know what birds eat peanuts, we can assure you that birds like jays, cardinals, sparrows, and doves will go nuts for peanuts!

Like what we have tackled, most birds like peanuts but sometimes differ in how they want them to be. Next time you want to add bird feeders, make sure to remember that they want it unsalted and roasted!

Thank you for reading, and feel free to tell us about your beautiful bird scenario after reading this article.

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