Do Birds Eat Dragonflies?

Do birds eat dragonflies? That is a question that many people have asked, and the answer is both yes and no! No all birds typically eat dragonflies as part of their regular diet. However, if they are in search of food or their nest happens to be close to one, they will sometimes catch them for a snack.

What Types of Insects Do Birds Eat?

There are many insects that birds eat, and some of them include grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, cicadas, and even bees. They also feed on beetles such as the American dung beetle and stag beetles. Birds even enjoy moths!

The bird’s diet is very diverse and can be made up mostly of fruit, leaves, other plants matter as well as small animals such as bugs. There are many types of birds that will eat bugs including dragonflies!

Birds Eat Dragonflies and Find Them Very Tasty

So it would not be unreasonable for a bird to occasionally eat a bug like a dragonfly if they come across one while searching for food. Still, though they don’t have time to specifically hunt down these creatures so most likely they just end up eating whatever else their sources offer them?

Especially the more acrobatic fliers such as flycatchers, swallows, kingfishers, and falcons will eat as many dragonflies as they can get hold of!. Spiders eat dragonflies too! Praying mantids love to dine on them while even early-emerging bats might show up for a late-night snack. Frogs, lizards, snakes, turtles, herons, sandpipers, raccoons, foxes skunks patrol ponds, or rivers looking for tasty tenerals (dragonfly nymph) at water’s edge in order to snap it down–in other words underwater creatures big enough can get their meal without breaking a sweat.

Birds That Eat Dragonflies

The majority of birds rely on insects for at least part of their diets. Interestingly, birds can get most of their water needs from their insect’s prey. Most species of birds catch any flying insects they can come in contact with. So basically, most birds would catch a dragonfly to feed on. A bird’s diet and hunting methods are largely determined by how the birds have evolved to find food. For example, a songbird is likely to catch any flying insects it can come in contact with while an owl or pigeon would most often hunt for bugs on the ground at night using its sensitive eyesight.

However, for some giant dragonflies, the birds need to be big enough themselves. Check the photo below and imagine that a little sparrow never could consume one of those!

dragonfly, too big to eat
Too big to be eaten

What Other Enemies Do Dragonflies Have?

Dragonflies are not invincible; they have enemies. Adults are eaten by birds, fish, and frogs while in the larval stage, which is spent underwater it’s preyed on by other water invertebrates as well as Kingfishers (It is said that the Kingfisher’s favorite dish are dragonflies. Not only will they catch an adult, but they’ll eat their offspring as well!).

Although it may seem unusual, some of these big insects’ predators aren’t animals at all; they’re plants. Dragonflies are attracted to plants with a gooey substance, and when they land on the plant’s leaf surface their wings get stuck. Sundews (Drosera) lure dragonflies in by secreting enzymes that prompt them into thinking it would be safe for landing. The tentacles then quickly wrap around the insects’ body while its wing is still wet from saliva, which causes it to freeze up as if paralyzed before being digested alive over time. Not so nice.

Conclusion

Birds have been known to eat dragonflies. They are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any insect that they can consume, but the diet is usually dominated by insects in general. Some birds also enjoy eating small reptiles or amphibians such as frogs and lizards.

PS: For a more spiritual view on dragonflies read our post: Dragonfly Meaning

[Video] Hobby Hunting on Dragonflies

The performance of this master hunter can be understood only in slow-motion.

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