Skip to Content

Do Birds Eat Holly Berries? (Read This First!)

Birds live on fruits and seeds. Different types of berries are almost always on a birds’ food list. But it is not possible for all birds to have all types of berries. Some berries are very common but there are a few types of berries that are not for all birds.

Though it can’t be said which bird prefers which berry or fruit, there is a generalized observation of a birds’ food habit. Based on that, you should be careful and cautious before giving any bird any fruit or berry.

Do birds eat holly berries?

Holly berries are usually toxic for a lot of animals, but birds enjoy them a lot. Though birds have to wait till late winter for the berry to be perfectly ripe. These beautiful berries are usually ripe in autumn but birds wait till winter to have them. Most birds enjoy the fruit very much.

Birds love all sorts of berries and seed-like fruits. Most of the time they will feed on colorful and eye-catching berries like the Holly berries. Holly berries catch the attention of the birds very quickly and most birds are fond of them –

American/Red holly berries:

The beautiful berries are one of the berries that birds tend to eat during the late winter. 

Yaupon holly berries:

The small and bright red berries are the favorites of many birds.

Burford holly berries:

During the winter season these berries get softer and that is when the birds enjoy the berries the most.

Winterberry holly berries:

As the name suggests, the berries will be a top choice for birds during winter and fall.

Blue holly berries:

Even though blue holly berries are rare to find, the birds will find and enjoy the delicate fruit.

Japanese/black holly berries:

The Japanese holly berries are a great attraction for birds and the seeded fruit is a favorite of the birds. The fruit is easy to grow and can be found very commonly in back yards.

Green holly berries:

Just like all the other berries of this kind, birds tend to enjoy the green holly berries as well. This is a relatively common type of holly berry, which is better for birds.

Holly berries are very easy to find and they grow almost everywhere. This is why the birds find it easier to eat the fruits of it. However, the birds have to wait till late winter or autumn for the fruit to ripe and soften.

Are holly berries poisonous to birds?

Holly berries are considered very much poisonous to humans and other animals. Even sometimes the berries seem poisonous for birds. But most birds are fine with eating holly berries. The birds tend to get attracted to the size and bright color of the berries.

Most of the overwintering birds enjoy the berries.

Most birds are attracted to fruits and berries that are bright in color and soft. Holly berries are very pretty colored. And at the end of winter, the fruits start to get soft. That is when the birds tend to have the fruits with delight. For most birds, holly berries are not poisonous.

Do holly berries make birds drunk?

There have been many instances where the holly berries were a cause of intoxication for birds. Having too many holly berries at one go can easily turn the birds into a drunken mess in a matter of moments.

This mostly happens when the fruit is very ripe and the birds have too much of it.

If the holly berries are very ripe, their fermentation starts while they are in the trees. Most of the time, if birds have one or two of the fruit they will not feel anything out of the ordinary. However, if they have a generous amount of berries, they will get drunk.

Which birds eat holly berries?

There are many birds that enjoy the holly berries and are not poisoned by the fruit. Most of these birds are winter birds. Birds like the redwings and thrushes are very much fond of the small fruits of the holly berries.

Apart from the obvious winter birds some of the birds that enjoy the holly berry fruits are –


Parrots are not fond of holly berries. The fruits can be poisonous to the bird most of the time.


Parakeets do not like the fruits of the holly berry plant. Most of the times parakeets will actively avoid the fruit.


Though you should not give Cockatiels holly berries on your own. But it is safe for the birds to have the berries.


These small garden birds are actually very fond of the holly berry fruit. Though it is not okay for them to have a lot at once.


Holly berries are actually one of the favorites of lovebirds. The small birds enjoy a berry or two from time to time.


Dove birds have a very diverse food chart. And holly berries are on it.


Holly berries can be poisonous to the Parrotlet birds. These birds tend not to have berries in general.


The cockatoo bird is not okay with the holly berry fruit. The fruit can cause some digestive problems for the bird.


Holly berries can cause Gastrointestinal problems for the Conure bird. This can lead them to have an upset stomach. This is why the bird avoids having holly berries.

Pionus Parrots:

Both the leaves and fruit of the holly berry plant are toxic for the Pionus Parrot. Most of the time the bird will get an upset stomach even if they have one or two holly berries.

African Greys:

This is a type of parrot and like most birds of the family, they are not very much fond of the holly berry fruit. The holly berry fruit can even be toxic for these birds.


In the late winter it is common for Robins to have the holly berry fruit. That is when the holly berry is ripe and soft. It is easier for the bird to have it on time.

Not all birds can have the holly berry fruit. The berries can be toxic. But some birds tend to enjoy the holly berry fruit very much. It depends on the birds.

How do I keep birds from eating my holly berries?

If you have holly berries in your backyard, there is a good chance that the fruit of it will bring a lot of birds into your yard. Especially during the winter times, when the fruit is ripe and soft. You might want to take some measures to keep the birds away.

Some very common tricks to do so are –

Net the tree:

Once you see fruits getting ripe in your holly berry tree, it is best to net the tree as soon as possible. This way the birds won’t get to have any fruit and the berries will have enough sunlight and air to grow.

Plant yellow berries:

Birds are mostly drawn to the red holly berries. If you plant yellow holly berries, there might be fewer birds in your yard and tree.

Use reflection:

You can tie foil tape or any other shiny thing to your tree to keep the birds away. Birds do not like reflections from shiny objects.

It might be very hard to keep birds away from the holly berry tree during the wintertime. But these tricks will help you in protecting the fruits of your plant and keeping your backyard safe from bird wastages.

When do birds eat holly berries?

Holly berries are mostly Autumn to Winter fruits. These beautiful fruits start getting ripe at the beginning of Autumn and by the end of Winter, the fruits are fully ripe and soft. This is when the birds enjoy the fruit the most.

This is why you will notice a lot of birds surrounding the holly berry tree during winter times.

Hard fruits are not suitable for birds. The seeds get stuck in their throat and they find it hard to eat through the hard flesh of the fruit. So during winter birds go for the holly berries. That is when the fruit is soft and ripe. It has the perfect texture for birds.

That is when the fruit is bright red as well, which attracts the birds more.

Final thoughts

Birds always love fruits and berries. Especially the bright ones with soft flesh. This is why a lot of birds tend to enjoy the Holly Berry fruits. The lovely red-colored fruit is very ripe and soft during the winter times. So the birds go for the holly berries during that season.