Do Pigeons Eat Sunflower Seeds?

According to experts, the best seed for birds, pigeons included, is sunflower seeds.

Not only do pigeons enjoy the taste of sunflower seeds, but they are packed with nutrition, which keeps your birds healthy and happy.

While pigeons certainly aren’t picky eaters, they do enjoy striped sunflower seeds and black oil sunflower seeds the best.

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So, the answer is yes, pigeons do eat sunflower seeds and they love them.

Should Pigeons Eat Sunflower Seeds or Sunflower Hearts?

A pigeon can eat both the sunflower seed and the sunflower heart. However, some experts recommend offering just the sunflower heart, as it’s easier for birds to eat.

The sunflower heart is the seed inside the shell.

You can buy them with the shells already removed, making it much easier to offer them to your pigeons, especially for the smaller-sized breeds. 

Not only is it easier to eat them, but sunflower hearts are a concentrated blend of a huge number of vitamins and minerals that your pigeon needs for good overall health.

In addition, your pigeon won’t need to waste energy cracking open the shells to get to the seed inside.

This is especially important during the cold winter months when you want your birds to conserve as much energy as they can. 

When you do offer your pigeons sunflower seeds in the shell, the striped version is easier to crack open.

pigeon eating sunflower seeds from hand

That’s because they have a thinner shell, which your bird can get open faster and without as much struggle. 

Keep in mind that a varied diet is important to cover your bird’s nutrient needs.

So while you can offer plenty of sunflower seeds on a regular basis, they shouldn’t be the only thing your pigeon is eating. 

What Are The Nutritional Benefits of Sunflower Seeds For Pigeons?

Not only do pigeons love sunflower seeds, but they are also good for them.

Packed with a range of vitamins and minerals, the little seeds pack a nutritional punch that will keep your bird healthy and happy.

Nutrients found in sunflower seeds include the following:

  • Healthy fats
  • Potassium
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E 
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Fiber
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Selenium

This mixture of nutrients is why your pigeon can enjoy sunflower seeds as part of a healthy diet.

Again, they shouldn’t be the only thing your bird eats, but can certainly make up a good part of their meal plan. 

Why Are Sunflower Seeds Good for Pigeons?

The main reason why sunflower seeds are so good for pigeons is because they are packed with nutrients.

Each tiny seed helps ensure that your bird is getting an adequate intake of important vitamins and minerals. 

Healthy fats and carbs offer an energy source for pigeons.

Stockpiling this energy is important during the winter so sunflower seeds are an especially good choice during the coldest time of year.

Protein is vital for keeping your pigeon’s muscles strong and healthy

Vitamins and minerals also support a huge number of body functions.

That includes boosting immunity, improving blood flow and enhancing cognition.

A deficiency can lead to health problems, so a blended mix of seeds and other foods is ideal for helping your pigeon reach its quota each day. 

In addition, sunflower seeds also fight inflammation. Just as chronic inflammation raises the risk of numerous health conditions in humans, it can do the same in pigeons.

The vitamin E in sunflower seeds can combat this condition.

Sunflower seeds are also rich in magnesium and healthy fats, two nutrients that help support good heart health. Studies also show that sunflower seeds help control blood sugar. 

How to Feed Sunflower Seeds to Pigeons

Now that you know why sunflower seeds are so good for pigeons, you’re probably wondering how to feed them to your birds.

This is important because proper feeding ensures that your pigeons are eating enough of the seeds to benefit from them. 

Pigeons are ground feeders so it’s best to offer them sunflower seeds in this manner.

They may not be as prone to eating them if they’re served in a hanging bird feeder. Tame pigeons, such as those you keep for pets, may be willing to eat the sunflower seeds out of your hand. 

You can buy sunflower seeds on their own and offer them as part of your pigeon’s diet.

You can also buy blended seed mixtures to feed your pigeon.

Make sure you choose a mixture that supports a pigeon’s health, specifically, as they have different nutritional needs than other kinds of birds.

The blend you choose should be heavy on the sunflower seeds since they are a nutritional powerhouse. 

Problems with Overfeeding Sunflower Seeds to Pigeons

While sunflower seeds can certainly be a healthy addition to your pigeon’s diet, too much can be a bad thing.

One problem to keep in mind is that a high consumption of black oil sunflower seeds can give your pigeon diarrhoea.

If this becomes a problem, cut back on how many your bird is eating. 

The oil in black sunflower seeds can also contribute to weight gain in your pigeons.

If they are show or racing pigeons, this can hinder performance.

Not to mention it can also compromise your pigeon’s overall health. 

While sunflower seeds do contain a great mix of nutrients, birds need to eat more than just seeds to cover their needs. Offer your pigeon fruit and other kinds of seeds as well as sunflower seeds.

Some pigeons also eat mealworms and small insects so be sure to offer those as well. 

Just like you should be eating the right foods for optimal health, so should your pigeon.

By including sunflower seeds in their diet, you provide a plethora of nutrients that will keep your bird healthy and happy for many years to come. 


Dan has been fascinated with pigeons since his youth when he used to feed them breadcrumbs at the local park. With a background in SEO Dan noticed a few years ago that there were very few websites around dedicated to his favorite bird so he set out to change that by starting Pigeonpedia.

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