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10 Fat Bird Species

Hey there, bird lover! Did you know that birds come in all different shapes and sizes? Some bird species tend to carry more fat than others. In this post, we’ll explore 10 fat bird species from around the world. Get ready to meet some pleasantly plump feathered friends!

European Robin

Small cute fat bird species European robin.

Let’s start with a bird you may see hopping around your backyard – the European Robin. This plump little songbird is known for its round body and short tail. Male robins have a distinctive orange breast, while females have a duller brown colour.

Robins build up fat reserves in autumn and winter to survive colder temperatures and seasonal food shortages. They mainly eat insects, worms, and fruit. Come springtime, the fat robin you spotted at your feeder will be slimmer and ready to find a mate!


Next up is one big bird – the ostrich! Native to Africa, ostriches are the largest and heaviest birds on Earth. These flightless fowl can stand up to 9 feet tall and weigh over 300 pounds.

Ostriches have substantial fat deposits under their skin. This helps them withstand high temperatures in their native desert habitat. Their fat also provides energy when food is scarce. Even with their hefty build, ostriches can sprint up to 43 mph – making them the fastest bird on two legs.

Blue Tit

Moving on to a much smaller fat bird – the blue tit. These tiny songbirds live throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. They have soft blue feathers on their wings and head and a yellow belly.

To make it through cold winters, blue tits pack on the grams in autumn. Almost half their body weight can be fat! This insulation allows them to raise chicks even during the early spring chill. Next time you see a puffy blue tit, you’ll know it’s just storing up energy.


The wren is one of the most common backyard birds, recognizable by its tiny size and upright tail. But did you know the wren builds up a lot of fat for its small body?

Wrens need this energy storage to survive long, cold nights and maintain their lightning-fast metabolism. They also build dome-shaped nests and huddle together for warmth. So, while wrens look petite, they carry quite a few calories under their feathers.

Golden-collared Manakin

Here’s a tropical bird that can show off its fat reserves. Found in Central and South America, male golden-collared manakins perform elaborate courtship displays.

They snap their wings to make loud crackling sounds. To pull off these intricate moves, they load up on fruit to build fat. Females judge male manakins largely on their performance. So the fatter he is, the more energy he’ll have to put on an attractive show. Talk about fat equals flavour!


The chiffchaff is a warbler species found throughout Europe and Asia. These tiny olive-brown birds constantly flutter their wings while foraging.

Before making their fall migration, chiffchaffs nearly double their body weight by gorging on insects. This fat will then fuel their long journey to warmer climates. Next time you hear a chiffchaff’s namesake call, you can bet he’s burning some stored-up energy.

House Sparrow

Hopping around cities worldwide is the house sparrow. Males have bold black and white markings, while females are plain brown. House sparrows are resourceful foragers and will eat just about anything.

This varied diet allows them to build up a nice fat layer. Their higher body fat percentage gives house sparrows an advantage in dealing with extreme heat and cold in urban environments. It also powers their breeding efforts early in the year. For house sparrows, fat means being able to thrive among humans.

Green Finch

Here’s a European finch that can let loose and get fat! Green finches have bright yellow patches on their wings and tails. Males develop orange face markings for the breeding season.

These friendly birds travel together in flocks numbering in the hundreds. They feast on seeds and grain to fatten up. Then, they can endure cold conditions in northern climates. And the male’s fatty deposits become more colourful to attract mates. For green finches, pudginess means partying all year long!


The goldcrest is Europe’s tiniest songbird, weighing about as much as a penny. It has golden crown stripes, giving it a kingly look. But despite its regal name, the goldcrest has to eat constantly to avoid starving.

In winter, goldcrests can die from just one long cold night. They boost their odds by piling on the body fat, increasing weight by up to 50%. Their high metabolism also cranks up the heat to keep them cosy.


Finally, we have the dunnock. This rather drab little European bird has a slender bill and brown streaky plumage. Dunnocks don’t migrate and cope with winter by getting nice and fat.

They fill up on insects, berries and seeds throughout autumn. By December, some dunnocks have almost doubled their body mass. This holdover energy keeps them alive until spring brings warmer weather and more food sources. For the dunnock, fat isn’t flashy, just functional.