What Do Orioles Eat?

What Do Orioles Eat?

Do you intend to entice orioles to visit your backyard? Offering the birds food they consume in the wild is one of the best ways to persuade them to flock. What do orioles consume, though?

As omnivores, orioles consume both plants and animals. The major components of an oriole’s diet include insects, berries, fruits, and nectar. Depending on the species of oriole and the season, different amounts of plant or animal materials will be present. To make sure they have a rich source of these meals all year long, orioles will travel great distances.

You’ll notice that those orioles eat a wide variety of meals, but perhaps you’d like to know their favorites. You may learn everything you need to know about the diet of orioles from this guide. We’ll talk about their diets both in the wild and at feeders, as well as some of their feeding habits.

Let’s begin.

What do orioles eat in the wild?

What do orioles eat in the wild?

1. Insects

Insects make up a sizable portion of the orioles’ diet. Insect consumption increases typically during the nesting season, but it happens all year long.

Insects are an excellent source of water and nutrition for orioles. When nursing chicks or bulking up in preparation for their migratory voyage, orioles consume a lot of insects. Fruit and nectar, which orioles also eat, are poor in protein.

Orioles frequently consume the following insects:

  • Grasshoppers
  • Moths
  • Beetles
  • Bees
  • Crickets
  • Spiders
  • Wasps
  • Caterpillars

In order to find the best insects, orioles would forage in bushes and trees. If they are pregnant, they will eat and then vomit their food back into the nest for the chicks to devour.

In the summer, North America provides a plentiful source of insects for migrating orioles. High supplies are available, and there is less competition than in tropical regions.

Due to the harsh winter climate in North America, insects go into dormancy. It can be difficult for Orioles to get a steady supply. As a result, they will migrate south to warmer climates where there are many of bugs, following the food.

To encourage orioles to visit your feeder, you can put out mealworms.

2. Fruits & Berries

The diet of orioles also includes fruit as a staple. Those adorable orange birds have a sweet tooth. They take pleasure in the fruit, blooms, and berries, among other aspects of the plant. The blossoms are only present for a brief period of the year, but orioles truly like them.

Another one of the orioles’ favorite foods is fruit that grows on trees and other plants. Fruit is a great source of calories, nutrients, fiber, and water for orioles.

When eating fruit, Baltimore Orioles have a unique feeding method known as “gaping.” They must first pierce the fruit with their closed mouths. They then make a space in the fruit by opening their jaws. This enables them to brush and scoop the fruit’s flesh out with their mouths.

Some common fruits and blossoms that orioles eat include:

  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Apple crabs
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Mulberries
  • Blackberry
  • Figs

When in North America, Orioles prefer ripe, dark-colored fruits over those that are pale green or yellow because they are considerably more attracted to them. Despite the fact that they will eat citrus fruits, which are common in tropical regions, they only live for half the year.

A fantastic approach to get orioles in your yard is to put out fruit feeders. They love oranges, but it’s advisable to slice or cut them into halves before serving.

3. Nectar

Another sweet food source for orioles is nectar. However, they are unable to hover over blooms like their hummingbird counterparts, which ingest nectar. In order to collect the plant nectar, the oriole must have a strong stem or a close perch.

In the American summer, there are several plants that produce nectar. This implies that they have access to nectar from blooming flowers at all times.

In order to draw the orioles, which aid in cross-pollination, the blooms purposefully create nectar. The flower’s fragrant fragrances and big, colorful petals draw orioles to it.

Orioles are especially drawn to flowers with orange coloring, such as:

  • Sunflowers
  • Susan the Black-Eyed
  • horned honeysuckle
  • Donald Vine
  • Flame Lily

When searching for nectar, orioles can also find a nice source of insects and caterpillars. This is due to the fact that these plants frequently serve as hosts for butterfly eggs.

4. Plants

Orioles don’t particularly enjoy eating plants, but there are some elements that they do enjoy as part of their diet.

Orioles frequently choose the delicate, sweet, and soft sections of the plants, including the buds. These offer the orioles a fantastic source of nutrients and fiber that they need to keep healthy.

Most veggies don’t draw orioles, but peas are an exception. A favorite food of orioles is peas. They won’t mind if they’re dry, frozen, or fresh. Therefore, orioles are most likely to blame if your pea plant is being picked to the ground.

5. Small reptiles & Birds

The food of the oriole includes a lot of protein, which they don’t simply receive from insects. Orioles have also been observed consuming tiny birds and reptiles.

Keep in mind that an oriole will eat these things when the opportunity arises. That indicates that while they do not typically hunt these species, they will do so if given the opportunity.

Orioles will consume hummingbirds and small lizards as their main sources of protein. Generally speaking, hummingbirds and orioles get along well. However, they can clash over food supplies, and if there is a shortage, the orioles may become aggressive. Because of this, it’s uncommon to observe an oriole devouring a lizard or hummingbird.

What do orioles eat at Feeders?

6. Jelly

Jelly is one food that orioles can consume at feeders but not in the wild. Orioles are very obsessed with this. It is sweet and jam-packed with the fruity flavors orioles adore. Additionally, it will give them the ample energy they need for the breeding season and a protracted travel.

The oriole loves smooth grape jelly in particular. This is hardly surprising given that they favor dark fruit.

If you don’t have any grape jelly on hand, you can substitute other jelly varieties or marmalade. As long as the product is created with real sugar, you can use any brand. Orioles may suffer damage from artificial sugar.

Small bowls of jelly can be supplied, ideally with a perch for the oriole to rest on. To draw orioles to your yard, you might buy a specialized oriole feeder with jelly trays (We love this one).

7. Sugar Water

A handmade sugar water solution is edible to orioles. It’s a straightforward concoction composed solely of sugar and water, proportioned to resemble flower nectar.

If you can’t plant nectar-producing flowers in your yard, this is an excellent alternative for luring orioles.

It works similarly to the nectar you can put out to draw hummingbirds. Using our special formula for Birds and Wild sugar water, you may produce your own at home. Or, if you want a more practical choice, you can purchase a readymade blend (this is a popular one).

You can use a hummingbird feeder to provide this nectar to orioles, but an oriole feeder is advised (this is our top pick). Orioles find it more simpler to eat from these feeders since they have broader beak feeding holes and larger perches. Additionally, the orioles will be drawn to the orange color rather than hummingbirds.

Just keep in mind that placing sugar water near your bird feeders may entice a variety of nectar-loving critters to visit your yard.

8. Fats

Since they help the orioles with a source of energy for migration, fats are a crucial component of their diet. Suet and peanut butter are two healthy fats that you may put out at your bird feeders for orioles.

Although orioles adore peanuts, they are unable to eat them in the wild because of the tough shells. De-shelled peanuts placed at your feeder are a great way to provide the orioles with fat.

Orioles can get a lot of their fat needs from suet, especially during the breeding season when they are scrambling to locate food. Even in little doses, the fats have a large quantity of energy. Because of this, it becomes much more alluring to a busy oriole with numerous young to feed.

Suet various flavors can be provided, and oriole appears to prefer suets with fruit and peanut bits since they are sweeter.

Oriole Diet by species

species of oriolesInsectsFruit & Honey
Maryland Orioles50%50%
Orioles of Bullocks60%40%
Fruit Oriole90%10%
Orioles of Scott60%40%
Oriole with hood70%30%

Related questions

Do Orioles eat seeds?

The usual seed-eating bird is not the oriole. By putting seeds in your bird feeder, you won’t be able to entice orioles to your yard. Offering food like fruit, jelly, nectar, or mealworms will be considerably more successful.

Orioles can occasionally eat seeds, despite this. Typically, this involves eating seeds by accident while consuming other meals.

Orioles are likely to consume sunflower seeds. This is because to the fact that they are drawn to sunflowers for their nectar, and they will probably ingest some seeds along with the nectar.

As they munch on the fruit, orioles will also eat part of the seeds within. Additionally, you can put seeds inside any suet that you provide to orioles in your yard.

1. Insects

What do orioles eat in winter?

The food supplies that orioles depend on are far more scarce in North America. There aren’t many insects, flowers, or fruits because they are seasonal and it’s chilly.

Orioles struggle to survive the winter months due to the scarcity of food. Orioles will move south to areas with milder weather, such as the southern states as well as Central and South America, in order to avoid this. Because there are so many insects, fruits, and flowers in these locations, it stays warm.

Even year-round residents of Central America, such as orioles, never lack for food. Instead of frigid weather, these regions experience wet winters.

Although some orioles do succeed in spending the winter in states further north. Be sure to provide an oriole with a fresh supply of fruit, nectar, mealworms, suet, and fresh water if you notice one overwintering in your yard.

Final thoughts

Orioles are omnivores that consume a variety of fruits, insects, and nectar in their diet. Protein and carbohydrates are both necessary for their continued health. They have enough energy from these nutrients to travel a great distance.

These food sources are available to orioles during the summer in the Americas. The orioles will move between areas in order to constantly have a rich food supply in order to remain permanently in summer.

These meals can be put out at your feeder to entice orioles to come to your yard in the spring and summer. Keep in mind that orioles won’t eat from conventional seed dishes. It is advised to use a dedicated oriole fruit, jelly, and nectar feeder.

Orioles have rather basic preferences, but if you cater to them properly, they’ll soon swarm to your yard.


How do you attract orioles to your yard?

Is it OK to feed orioles grape jelly?

One of the best meals you can give orioles is jelly. The birds like smooth grape jelly, but they will also eat orange marmalade and jams or jellies made with red cherries, strawberries, apples, or raspberries.

How do I get orioles to come to my yard?

Orioles are drawn to shallow birdbaths and moving water in particular, so incorporating a bubbler or dripper will create the sparkles and splashes necessary to draw them. It can also assist if you decorate your bird bath with orange accents.

When should I put out my oriole feeder?

Oriole feeders should be placed outside in late March or early April to draw the earliest spring migrants and to attract birds traveling south from the north in the late fall. By doing this, you can increase the number of orioles that come to your yard. They will return every year as long as they can recall dependable food sources.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author