Do Birds Eat Holly Berries?

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It is almost always the case that different types of berries are on the list of food for birds. But it’s impossible for all birds to eat all these berries; some are specifically for certain species.

Though it can’t be said for sure which bird prefers which berry or fruit, we know that there are generally accepted observations about a birds food habits. 

This means that you should be careful and cautious when giving any bird, irrespective of their species, any fruit or berry.

Do Birds Eat Holly Berries?

Holly berries are toxic for most animals and better suited for birds, who like their flavor.

Birds have to wait late into winter to be able to eat the fruit, but they feast on them when they’re ripe in autumn. The fruit tastes great and is better suited for hungry birds.

Birds love berries and seeds. They will usually head to the tastiest, most colorful berries first. This means they often feed on Holly berries. These berries catch the eye of birds and most birds love them.

American/Red holly berries:

Birds like to eat berries in the winter is the small, but beautiful, blueberry.

Yaupon holly berries:

Small red berries are sought after by many birds.

Burford holly berries:

Typically, these berries get softer during the winter, and that’s when the birds are most likely to enjoy them.

Winterberry holly berries:

As the name suggests, this product will be popular among birds during the winter and fall seasons.

Blue holly berries:

Birds enjoy the delicate blue holly berries, even though they are hard to find.

Japanese/black holly berries:

In addition to their seeded fruit being a favorite of birds, Japanese holly berries provide a great food source for birds. In your yard, you can grow the fruit anywhere because it is easy to grow.

Green holly berries:

The green holly berries like the other berries of this kind are often enjoyed by birds. This is a common type of berry and it is better for birds to eat.

Holly berries are common in many countries and they grow everywhere. The birds flock to them because it’s so easy for the fruits to be eaten. They can’t wait until winter or autumn for the fruits to ripen and soften, though.

Are Holly Berries Poisonous To Birds?

Holly berries can be poisonous to humans and other animals. Most birds have no problems with eating them, though – the berries are large and brightly colored for a reason!

The majority of overwintering birds enjoy the berries.

A lot of birds are attracted to fruit and berries with bright-colored, soft skin. Holly berries have nice, pretty colors. 

And at the end of winter, animals tend to find softer fruits. That’s when birds with delight in the fruits. There is no poison in holly berries for most birds.

Do Holly Berries Make Birds Drunk?

With the vast amount of berries, holly can easily intoxicate birds. Overdosing on too many berries means that the birds loose their minds over a matter of moments.

In most cases, this occurs when the fruit is very ripe and the birds are overfed.

Most of the time, if birds take one or two hollyberries they won’t feel any effects. If they eat more, they will get drunk.

Which Birds Eat Holly Berries?

The songbirds, crows, and blackbirds are the ones that eat holly berries. Not all birds visiting the holly tree are poisoned by its fruit.

Most of these birds are winter ones and they enjoy the small fruits on the holly berries. Holly berries are enjoyed by a variety of birds, including the following winter birds:


Parrots typically don’t like holly berries. In some rare cases, it’s been noted that the fruit can be poisonous to the bird.


Parakeets will usually avoid the fruit of the holly berry plant.


Although you should never give Cockatiels holly berries on your own, it is okay for them to have the berries.

Although these small garden birds are happy to eat the holly berry fruit, they can’t consume too many at once.


Even though they’re called “lovebirds,” they don’t do much to celebrate Valentine’s Day.


The various types of fruit that holly berries provide are only a fraction of the diverse food chart of doves.


The Holly Berry fruits can be poisonous to the Parrotlet birds. These birds are not generally found in areas where these berries grow.


The cockatoo bird doesn’t enjoy the holly berry fruit. The berries can cause some digestive problems for the bird.


Gastrointestinal problems can be caused by holly berries in the Conure bird’s diet. This leads them to have an upset stomach, so they try to avoid this at all costs.

Pionus Parrots:

Most Pionus Parrots will get an upset stomach and become sick if they have a single holly berry. And even if they only eat one leaf, it will probably make them sick.

African Greys:

The male koel (or hamerkop) is a member of the cuckoo order and is not particularly fond of the holly berry fruit. Consumption of the holly berry fruit can actually be toxic for this bird.


It’s common in late winter for Robins to have the holly berry fruit. This is when the fruit is ripened and soft enough for the birds to eat.

Birds normally time mating based on availability of holly berries. Some birds, like Robins and Cardinals, cannot consume the holly berry fruit.

But other birds, like Pigeons and Jays, tend to enjoy it more. It just depends on the bird.

My Holly Berries Are Being Eaten By Birds. What Can I Do?

You will probably see a lot of birds in your yard if you have holly berries in your backyard. Especially during the colder months when the fruit is ripe and soft. 

Keep them away by taking some measures. Several methods can be used to accomplish this:

Net the tree:

Once you see your holly berry tree start to produce fruit, netting it is a good idea. This prevents any birds from eating any of the berries and will diminish the likelihood of disease.

Plant yellow berries:

Birds mostly prefer the red holly berries. By planting yellow holly berries, there might be less of a chance that birds will come near your yard and tree.

Use reflection:

For bird control, many people tie foil tape or any other shiny thing to their trees. The birds don’t like reflections from shiny objects, so they’ll avoid these kinds of areas.

It might be difficult to identify specific ways to keep your tree from being a target for birds during the winter. However, with these tricks, you’ll have everything you need for a healthy, bird-free backyard.

When Do Birds Eat Holly Berries?

Holly berries are ripe for North American consumption from early Autumn to late Winter, and birds love to eat the fruit that becomes soft over the course of these months.

It’s because winter is when birds primarily feed on holly berries.

Hard fruits like apples and pears are tough for birds to peel through. When they try to eat them, the seeds get stuck in their throat and make it hard for them to swallow. 

That’s why during winter, birds go for holly berries. The cool thing about them is that their fruit is soft and ripe during winter. 

This texture is perfect for birds because it makes it easy for them to eat. The birds can spot the fruit even better when it is bright red.

Final Thoughts

Birds love brightly colored fruits. Especially ones with soft flesh. This is why many animals enjoy the fruits of the holly berry during the winter. 

During the cold months, these lovely red-colored berries are very ripe and soft, so birds eat them in search of food.


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