Other insects
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Other insects

The insects as listed below can be offered to the birds to give additional variety.  Check with local bird breeders to make sure your local insect variety / species are safe to feed to captive birds.
Due to the "pristine" back and front yards of our suburban blocks, few people can obtain enough suitable insects from their property.  Purchasing insects is the most economical way of obtaining insect foods for most birds.  Most people will bring out the insecticides at the first sign of insects in their gardens.
Below is a selection of insects many wild birds use as foods.

Aphids - great for small finches and softbills.  Commonly found on roses and are easily removed from the rose bush by tapping on the rose branch.  The aphids can be harvested on a regular basis in the summer months.

Black crickets - I do not recommend the feeding of black crickets (as distinct to Brown crickets) to aviary birds.  The black cricket has sharp "spikes" along part of their back legs that, if eaten, can cause damage to the birds mouth, throat or digestive tract.  The wild birds always rip off the legs of black crickets prior to eating them.  Some of the captive birds and reptiles do not know how to remove these potentially dangerous legs and gulp down the whole cricket.  Wild birds from the small Sparrow to the large Magpie will remove the legs of black crickets and native cockroaches prior to eating them or offering them to their young.  Commercially bred brown crickets are safe to feed to all birds.

Butterflies - The butterflies of the cabbage grubs can give the finches some exercise and entertainment when these butterflies are thrown into the finch aviary.

Caterpillars - The green caterpillars that are found on cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and similar vegetables that people eat are usually safe to feed to birds.  Often referred to as the caterpillar of Cabbage butterfly.  Check with local bird breeders to ascertain which caterpillars are safe to feed to birds.

Cicadas - Local wild birds often eat cicadas during the summer months.  The winged and non-winged stage can be eaten.  The wings are usually ripped off prior to the cicada body being eaten.

Cockroaches - Local native cockroaches are eaten in my garden by the local birds.  The birds rip off the wings of the adult cockroaches prior to eating them.  Commercially bred cockroaches are a safer option.

Compost heaps - No longer used due to the possible transmission of parasites and pathogens.

Cutworms - or cockchafer grubs.  The larvae is from the beetle and both stages can be consumed by birds.  Some grubs can grow to 50mm (2 inches) in length and be as thick as a person's little finger.  They are found in the ground during the summer months.  Wild birds will dig into suburban lawns and golf courses to obtain these grubs.

Ear wigs - Becoming hard to find in our pristine gardens.

Earthworms - Commercially raised earthworms are probably a safer option than those we dig out of our gardens.  It is alleged the earthworm may harbour internal parasites.  Many wild birds consume lots of earthworms with little or no detrimental consequences.  Blackbirds seem to thrive on them.

Grubs - found in old gum trees and wattle trees are often eaten by larger parrots in the wild.  If available, these grubs can be a good source of protein.  The pupa stage of these insects will also be eaten.

Lesser mealworm - (Alphitobius species)  The lesser mealworm is a different insect to the usual yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor.  The lesser mealworm is a much smaller insect that can be fed at the larvae, pupa or beetle stage.  Do not mix the lesser mealworms with the yellow mealworm if you intend to breed the yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor).  The lesser mealworm will usually out compete the larger yellow mealworm.  The lesser mealworm can be hard to eradicate from a yellow mealworm colony.

Lerps - Are small insects often found on the under side of eucalypt leaves.  Often eaten by small finches and softbills.  Branches from these trees can be cut off and placed in the aviary.  The lerp's cover/ house is a sweet material and consumed by some local birds.

Moths - Wild moths can be attracted into an aviary by using moth attracting lights.  Some suitable moths can be raised in captivity to be fed to birds along with the caterpillar stage of the insect.

Slaters -  Also referred to as Woodlice.  Come in several shapes and colours and are loved by quail and some finches and softbills.

Silk worms - come in a wide size range and can be offered to a wide range of finches, quail and parrots.  The older the silkworm, the bigger it will have grown.  A special diet of fresh Mulberry leaves is required to keep the silk worms fed.  The pupa stage can also be fed to the birds.  The silkworm moth may also be eaten by some birds.

Super worms - This oversized species of mealworm is often used by reptile and marsupial breeders.  These insects are generally unsuitable for birds as the insects are too big and the skin of the larval stage is too thick for the birds to penetrate.  Great as fish bait but not for feeding aviary finches or softbills.  Probably suitable for parrots, but the yellow mealworm would be more suitable even for parrots.

Snails - Small snails are sometimes eaten by wild birds in gardens.

Spiders - Some people feed spiders to their birds but care has to be exercised to ensure the local spiders are safe to be fed to your birds.  The spider web is used by some finches in the construction of their nest.

Vinegar fly - (Drosophila) Sometimes incorrectly referred to as a Fruit Fly.  Not to be confused with the Fruit Fly which is a declared pest.  The vinegar fly feeds on and breeds in rotting fruits.  Can be bred in a large aviary or in a shed.  Finches catch the flies "on the wing" or when the flies landed.

Waxworms - Can be bred by the bird keeper or purchased from a commercial breeder.  Generally only used for finches and softbills.  Normally too expensive to feed to the cheaper species of finch and quail.

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