Feeding and Attracting Rosebreasted Waxbills
Rose-breasted waxbill (Grouper) are brightly colored relatives of Cardinals and Tanagers. These migratory birds are widespread in the Northeast, but southern birders may be lucky enough to spot them en route between their nesting grounds and wintering grounds. Are you wondering what rose-breasted hawkbeaks eat and how to attract them to your yard?
The rose-breasted waxbill has a special beak, but feeds on insects, seeds, fruit, and other vegetation. They’ll visit the breeder, especially if sunflower seeds, peanuts, and safflower seeds are on the menu. Out of the backyard, they forage among the leaves of trees and shrubs.
Rose-breasted wax-billed birds use their powerful beaks to quickly eat hard foods such as sunflower seeds. They can also crush tough insects like beetles, which is great when feeding chicks.
In this article, we take a closer look at one of the smallest songbirds in the United States, the rose-breasted waxbill. Read on to learn how these birds make a living in the wild and how to attract them to your backyard.
Rose-breasted waxbill particularly enjoys sunflower seeds in backyard bird feeder
What is the rose-breasted waxbill’s favorite food?
Insects are a major part of the rose-breasted waxbill’s diet. However, they are not readily available at bird feeders. Sunflower seeds are the best food to attract these birds to your backyard.
What seeds do rose-breasted waxbills eat?
Rose-breasted hawkbills eat a variety of wild and cultivated seeds. They pick seeds directly from the branches of trees, shrubs, and weeds, but they also visit bird feeders and occasionally forage on the ground.
The rose-breasted waxbill has been known to feed on the following seeds:
- smart grass
Close-up of a female rose-breasted waxbill near a seed feeder (sunflower seeds)
What Insects Do Rose-breasted Waxbills Eat?
The diet of most rose-breasted waxbills consists of insects and other invertebrates. beetle (Coleoptera) is a major component of their diet.
Rose-breasted waxbills also prey on the following insects:
What fruit do rose-breasted waxbills eat?
Rose-breasted waxbills forage for wild fruit such as blackberries, juniper berries, mulberries and elderberries. They will also eat cultivated fruit such as oranges if offered at the feeding station.
Fruit is an important food source for rose-breasted waxbills, especially as they fuel their southward migrations in the fall. The birds may swallow or discard the peel and seeds, depending on the type of fruit.
Male rose-breasted waxbill eating wild berries
Male and female rose-breasted waxbills have similar diets, although they forage at different heights in trees and shrubs to minimize competition for food. Read on to learn more about their foraging behavior.
How often do rose-breasted waxbills eat?
Rose-breasted waxbills eat daily, including during nesting and migration. Birds eat a surprisingly large amount of food, although the actual amount varies with weather, time of year, food quality and other factors.
Do rose-breasted waxbills visit feeders?
Rose-breasted waxbills visit keepers, both at their northern breeding grounds and on their way to and from wintering grounds in Central and South America.
Best Feeders for Rose-breasted Waxbills
Rose-breasted waxbills will visit a variety of feeders, although they prefer designs with ample perching space. Platform feeders are ideal, but hoppers with perches and larger tube feeders are also good choices.
What time of day do rose-breasted jays eat?
The rose-breasted waxbill is a diurnal bird, foraging during the day and sleeping at night. You may spot these colorful birds foraging in the lush trees, or visit a bird feeder any time of day.
Rose-breasted waxbills prefer feeders with ample perching space, ideal for them to roost and graze
How does the rose-breasted waxbill forage?
Rose-breasted waxbills use their keen eyesight to spot insects and seeds in their environment. The birds also learned to visit bird feeders for a free meal, and listening to the excited calls of other feeding birds may help them find a feeder before they see it.
Most of their food is eaten directly from plant surfaces, but they can also catch insects in flight or pick food while hovering. They may even hang upside down from flexible branches.
The jaybeak watches insects with a hawk-like gaze while hunting, following them with its eyes before preying.
What do rose-breasted waxbills eat in winter?
Little is known about the winter diet of the rose-breasted waxbill, as it has not been studied outside of North America. However, they are believed to eat insects and plants throughout the year.
What does the rose-breasted wax-billed bird eat in summer?
Research has shown that rose-breasted hawkbills eat nearly equal amounts of plant and animal food during the summer.
An extensive study in the early 20th century found that insects make up a little more than half of our summer diet. Wild berries and fruit account for about one-fifth, and seeds and crops another fifth. The remainder consists of other plant matter, such as buds and flowers.
What do baby rose-breasted waxbills eat?
Both male and female rose-breasted jays feed their chicks a diet of insects and plants. Crushed insect larvae are the main food source, but they also include seeds. The chicks begin catching their own insects in the sixth week after hatching.
Rose-breasted waxbill foraging on the forest floor behind a mossy log
Feeding and Attracting Rosebreasted Waxbills
Would you like to welcome rose-breasted waxbills to your yard? The good news is that these colorful birds often visit feeders during migration and near nesting sites.
Can Rose-breasted Waxbills Be Feed?
It’s perfectly fine to feed rose-breasted waxbills, but you must put their health first.
Follow these rules when feeding backyard birds:
- Place your bird feeder away from dogs and cats. Domestic cats kill a staggering number of songbirds each year.
- Serve fresh, clean, dry and cool food.
- Change food frequently and sanitize feeders regularly to avoid spreading infectious bird diseases.
What Can I Feed a Rosebreasted Waxbill?
Rosebreasted waxbills will receive a variety of foods at backyard bird feeding stations. Offer these common bird foods for best results:
- sunflower seeds (black oil and streak)
- safflower seeds
What not to feed a rose-breasted waxbill?
Wild birds often avoid food sources they don’t need, but quality and freshness are also important. Do not feed any moldy or rotting food or fermented fruit to a rose-breasted waxbill. You should also avoid bread, sweets and salty foods.
Rose-breasted waxbill enjoying seeds from a bird feeder in Louisiana spring
What do rose-breasted waxbills drink?
The rose-breasted waxbill drinks fresh water. They submerge their beaks in water and suck up the liquid with movements of their throats. Next, they tilt their head back to aid in swallowing.
You can attract these birds to your yard by installing a birdbath, bird bowl, or garden pond. It’s best to keep your birdbath out of the sun in summer and clean it regularly to keep it safe and hygienic.
How to Attract a Rose-breasted Waxbill?
The best way to attract rose-breasted waxbills (and many other songbirds) is to provide food and fresh water. You can simply put in a birdbath and a bird feeder, but consider native plants that produce berries and encourage insect growth.
This way, you provide a natural foraging place.
The rose-breasted waxbill breeds in the Northeast, Midwest, and Canada. However, that doesn’t mean birders from further south can’t appreciate these thick-billed songbirds.
Make sure the feeders are taken out (and filled) during April, May, October and November to give them a chance to attract them as they migrate north and south.
Is the rose-breasted wax-billed bird suitable for keeping around?
Rose-breasted wax-billed birds are very suitable for keeping birds. Not only are they pleasing to the eye, but these birds are also beautiful singers. Bird watchers praise their songs in all sorts of creative ways, but hopefully you’ll be able to hear their sweet songs for yourself this spring.
Female rose-breasted waxbill drinking from a bird bath
Do rose-breasted jays eat seeds?
Rose-breasted hawkbills eat a variety of wild and cultivated seeds. They love striped and black sunflower seeds, but are also happy to eat ground corn, oats, and wheat.
Do rose-breasted waxbills eat safflower?
Safflower seeds are an important food source for attracting rose-breasted waxbills. As an added bonus, squirrels and European starlings are less likely to eat these thick-shelled seeds than softer options.
Do rose-breasted jays eat grape jelly?
The rose-breasted waxbill happily feeds on grape jelly. In fact, this sweet treat attracts many beautiful songbirds, from orioles to tangles.
Do rose-breasted jays eat oranges?
Rose-breasted waxbills love fruit and will happily eat cut oranges and other sweet citrus fruits at your bird feeding station.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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