(adjective) Describes a diet that consists primarily (though not necessarily exclusively) of fruit, including tree fruits such as bananas, apples, pears and oranges as well as berries. Frugivorous birds often have specialized bills to help them eat fruit most efficiently by cutting through or removing the skin, husk or hull of preferred fruits.
Many birds are frugivorous, including waxwings, hornbills and toucans, while other species such as parrots and orioles show a marked preference for fruit but also eat significant quantities of other foods. It is common for frugivorous birds to eat insects during the breeding season, when growing hatchlings require high amounts of protein for proper development.
Frugivorous birds play an important role in the ecosystem by spreading fruit seeds to distant areas either by caching food or distributing the seeds through their droppings. This can help replenish the necessary fruit supplies for the birds to thrive and helps restore plentiful habitats.
To attract fruit-eating birds to your backyard, plant appropriate fruit trees to supply a ready food source, and avoid harvesting or discarding the entire crop each autumn. Similarly, plant suitable berry-producing shrubs or offer fruit or fruit jelly in bird feeders.
Photo – Hornbill © William Warby
Fruit-Eating, Frugivore (noun)