omnivore
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An omnivore () is an
animal Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms in the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and go through an ontogenetic stage i ...
that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and
nutrient A nutrient is a Chemical substance, substance used by an organism to survive, grow, and reproduce. The requirement for dietary nutrient intake applies to animals, plants, fungus, fungi, and protists. Nutrients can be incorporated into cells for me ...
s from plant and animal matter, omnivores digest
carbohydrate In organic chemistry, a carbohydrate () is a biomolecule consisting of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) atoms, usually with a hydrogen–oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 (as in water) and thus with the empirical formula (where ''m'' may or may ...
s,
protein Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residue (biochemistry), residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including Enzyme catalysis, catalysing metabo ...
,
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemistry, biochemical and physiology, physiological process by which an organism uses food to support its life. It provides organisms with Nutrient, nutrients, which can be Metabolism, metabolized to ...
, and
fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a #Natural fibers, natural or Fiber#Artificial fibers, artificial substance that is significantly longer than it is wide. Fibers are often used in the manufacture of other materials. The stronge ...
, and metabolize the nutrients and energy of the sources absorbed. Often, they have the ability to incorporate food sources such as
algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthesis, photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms. It is a polyphyletic grouping that includes species from multiple distinct clades. Included organisms range from u ...
,
fungi A fungus (plural, : fungi or funguses) is any member of the group of Eukaryote, eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and Mold (fungus), molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified ...
, and
bacteria Bacteria (; singular: bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one biological cell. They constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometre The micrometre (Amer ...
into their diet. Omnivores come from diverse backgrounds that often independently evolved sophisticated consumption capabilities. For instance, dogs evolved from primarily
carnivorous A carnivore , or meat-eater (Latin, ''caro'', genitive ''carnis'', meaning meat or "flesh" and ''vorare'' meaning "to devour"), is an animal or plant whose food and energy requirements derive from animal tissues (mainly muscle, adipose tissue, f ...
organisms (
Carnivora Carnivora is a monophyletic In cladistics for a group of organisms, monophyly is the condition of being a clade—that is, a group of taxa composed only of a common ancestor (or more precisely an ancestral population Populatio ...
) while pigs evolved from primarily
herbivorous A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example foliage or marine algae, for the main component of its diet. As a result of their plant diet, herbivorous animals typically have mouthpart ...
organisms (
Artiodactyla The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, absent, vestigial, or pointing poster ...
). Despite this, physical characteristics such as tooth morphology may be reliable indicators of diet in mammals, with such morphological adaptation having been observed in bears. The variety of different animals that are classified as omnivores can be placed into further sub-categories depending on their feeding behaviors.
Frugivore A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits or succulent fruit-like produce of plants such as roots, shoots, nuts and seeds. Approximately 20% of mammalian herbivores eat fruit. Frugivores are highly dependent on the abundance and ...
s include maned wolves and
orangutan Orangutans are Hominidae, great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. They are now found only in parts of Borneo and Sumatra, but during the Pleistocene they ranged throughout Southeast Asia and South China. Classified in ...
s;
insectivore file:Common brown robberfly with prey.jpg, A Asilidae, robber fly eating a hoverfly An insectivore is a carnivore, carnivorous animal or plant that eats insects. An alternative term is entomophage, which can also refer to the Entomophagy i ...
s include
swallow The swallows, martins, and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine songbirds found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. The ...
s and pink fairy armadillos; granivores include large ground finches and
mice A mouse (plural, : mice) is a small rodent. Characteristically, mice are known to have a pointed snout, small rounded ears, a body-length scaly tail, and a high breeding rate. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (''Mus mus ...
. All of these animals are omnivores, yet still fall into special niches in terms of feeding behavior and preferred foods. Being omnivores gives these animals more
food security Food security speaks to the availability of food in a country (or geography) and the ability of individuals within that country (geography) to access, afford, and source adequate foodstuffs. According to the United Nations' Committee on World Fo ...
in stressful times or makes possible living in less consistent environments.


Etymology and definitions

The word ''omnivore'' derives from Latin ''omnis'' 'all' and ''vora'', from ''vorare'' 'to eat or devour', having been coined by the French and later adopted by the English in the 1800s. Traditionally the definition for omnivory was entirely behavioral by means of simply "including both animal and vegetable tissue in the diet." In more recent times, with the advent of advanced technological capabilities in fields like
gastroenterology Gastroenterology (from the Greek gastḗr- “belly”, -énteron “intestine”, and -logía "study of") is the branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. The digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract, ...
, biologists have formulated a standardized variation of omnivore used for labeling a species' actual ability to obtain energy and nutrients from materials. This has subsequently conditioned two context specific definitions. * Behavioral: This definition is used to specify if a species or individual is actively consuming both plant and animal materials. ''(e.g. "
vegans Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal product—particularly in diet (nutrition), diet—and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is kn ...
do not participate in the omnivore based diet.")'' In the fields of nutrition, sociology and psychology the terms “omnivore” & “omnivory” is often used to distinguish prototypical highly diverse human diet patterns from restricted diet patterns that exclude major categories of food. * Physiological: This definition is often used in academia to specify species that have the capability to obtain energy and nutrients from both plant and animal matter. ''(e.g. "humans are omnivores due to their capability to obtain energy and nutrients from both plant and animal materials.")'' The taxonomic utility of omnivore's traditional and behavioral definition is limited, since the diet, behavior, and
phylogeny A phylogenetic tree (also phylogeny or evolutionary tree Felsenstein J. (2004). ''Inferring Phylogenies'' Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA.) is a branching diagram or a tree (graph theory), tree showing the evolutionary relationships among va ...
of one omnivorous species might be very different from that of another: for instance, an omnivorous pig digging for roots and scavenging for fruit and carrion is taxonomically and ecologically quite distinct from an omnivorous
chameleon Chameleons or chamaeleons (Family (biology), family Chamaeleonidae) are a distinctive and highly specialized clade of Old World lizards with 202 species described as of June 2015. The members of this family are best known for their distinct ran ...
that eats leaves and insects. The term "omnivory" is also not always comprehensive because it does not deal with mineral foods such as salt licks and the consumption of plant and animal material for medical purposes which would not otherwise be consumed (i.e.
zoopharmacognosy Zoopharmacognosy is a behaviour in which non-human animals self-medication, self-medicate by selecting and Ingestion, ingesting or Topical medication, topically applying plants, soils, insects, and psychoactive drugs to prevent or reduce the ha ...
) within non-omnivores.


Classification, contradictions and difficulties

Though
Carnivora Carnivora is a monophyletic In cladistics for a group of organisms, monophyly is the condition of being a clade—that is, a group of taxa composed only of a common ancestor (or more precisely an ancestral population Populatio ...
is a
taxon In biology, a taxon (back-formation from ''Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy''; plural taxa) is a group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms seen by taxonomists to form a unit. Although neither is required, a taxon is usually known ...
for species classification, no such equivalent exists for omnivores, as omnivores are widespread across multiple taxonomic
clade A clade (), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are monophyly, monophyletic – that is, composed of a common ancestor and all its lineage (evolution), lineal descendants – on a phylogenetic tree. ...
s. The Carnivora order does not include all carnivorous species, and not all species within the Carnivora taxon are
carnivorous A carnivore , or meat-eater (Latin, ''caro'', genitive ''carnis'', meaning meat or "flesh" and ''vorare'' meaning "to devour"), is an animal or plant whose food and energy requirements derive from animal tissues (mainly muscle, adipose tissue, f ...
. (The members of Carnivora are formally referred to as carnivorans.) It is common to find physiological carnivores consuming materials from plants or physiological herbivores consuming material from animals, e.g. felines eating grass and deer eating birds. From a behavioral aspect, this would make them omnivores, but from the physiological standpoint, this may be due to
zoopharmacognosy Zoopharmacognosy is a behaviour in which non-human animals self-medication, self-medicate by selecting and Ingestion, ingesting or Topical medication, topically applying plants, soils, insects, and psychoactive drugs to prevent or reduce the ha ...
. Physiologically, animals must be able to obtain both energy and nutrients from plant and animal materials to be considered omnivorous. Thus, such animals are still able to be classified as carnivores and herbivores when they are just obtaining nutrients from materials originating from sources that do not seemingly complement their classification. For instance, it is well documented that animals such as giraffes, camels, and cattle will gnaw on bones, preferably dry bones, for particular minerals and nutrients. Felines, which are usually regarded as obligate carnivores, occasionally eat grass to regurgitate indigestibles (e.g. hair, bones), aid with hemoglobin production, and as a laxative. Occasionally, it is found that animals historically classified as carnivorous may deliberately eat plant material. For example, in 2013, it was considered that
American alligator The American alligator (''Alligator mississippiensis''), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a large crocodilian reptile native to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the two extant species in the gen ...
s (''Alligator mississippiensis'') may be physiologically omnivorous once investigations had been conducted on why they occasionally eat fruits. It was suggested that alligators probably ate fruits both accidentally and deliberately. "Life-history omnivores" is a specialized classification given to organisms that change their eating habits during their life cycle. Some species, such as grazing waterfowl like geese, are known to eat mainly animal tissue at one stage of their lives, but plant matter at another.Maclean, Gordon Lindsay (1993). ''Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa''. Publisher: New Holland. . The same is true for many insects, such as beetles in the
family Family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of the family is to maintain the well-being of its ...
Meloidae, which begin by eating animal tissue as
larva A larva (; plural larvae ) is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect developmental biology, development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of t ...
e, but change to eating plant matter after they mature. Likewise, many
mosquito Mosquitoes (or mosquitos) are members of a group of almost 3,600 species of small Diptera, flies within the family Culicidae (from the Latin ''culex'' meaning "gnat"). The word "mosquito" (formed by ''mosca'' and diminutive ''-ito'') is Spanish ...
species in early life eat plants or assorted detritus, but as they mature, males continue to eat plant matter and nectar whereas the females (such as those of ''
Anopheles ''Anopheles'' () is a genus of mosquito first described and named by Johann Wilhelm Meigen, J. W. Meigen in 1818. About 460 species are recognised; while over 100 can transmit human malaria, only 30–40 commonly transmit parasites of the genus ' ...
'', '' Aedes'' and ''
Culex ''Culex'' is a genus Genus ( plural genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. In the hierarchy of biologica ...
'') also eat blood to reproduce effectively.


Omnivorous species


General

Although cases exist of
herbivore A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example foliage or marine algae, for the main component of its diet. As a result of their plant diet, herbivorous animals typically have mouthpart ...
s eating meat and
carnivore A carnivore , or meat-eater (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latiu ...
s eating
plant Plants are predominantly Photosynthesis, photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things that were not animals, and included algae and fungi; however, all curr ...
matter, the classification "omnivore" refers to the adaptation and main food source of the species in general, so these exceptions do not make either individual animals or the species as a whole omnivorous. For the concept of "omnivore" to be regarded as a
scientific classification Taxonomy is the practice and science of categorization or classification (general theory), classification. A taxonomy (or taxonomical classification) is a scheme of classification, especially a hierarchical classification, in which things are ...
, some clear set of measurable and relevant criteria would need to be considered to differentiate between an "omnivore" and other categories, e.g. faunivore, folivore, and
scavenger Scavengers are animals that consume Corpse decomposition, dead organisms that have died from causes other than predation or have been killed by other predators. While scavenging generally refers to carnivores feeding on carrion, it is also a h ...
. Some researchers argue that evolution of any species from herbivory to carnivory or carnivory to herbivory would be rare except via an intermediate stage of omnivory.


Omnivorous mammals

Various
mammal Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a neocortex (a region of the brain), fu ...
s are omnivorous in the wild, such as species of
hominids The Hominidae (), whose members are known as the great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic Family (biology), family of primates that includes eight Neontology#Extant taxa versus extinct taxa, extant species in four Genus, genera: ''Orangutan, ...
,
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus ''Sus (genus), Sus'', is an Omnivore, omnivorous, Domestication, domesticated, even-toed ungulate, even-toed, hoofed ma ...
s,
badger Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the family Mustelidae (which also includes the otters, wolverines, martens, minks, polecats, weasels, and ferrets). Badgers are a polyphyletic rather than a natural taxonomic grouping, being united by the ...
s,
bear Bears are carnivoran mammal Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a ...
s,
fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright, triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail (or ''brush''). Twelve sp ...
es,
coati Coatis, also known as coatimundis (), are members of the family Procyonidae in the genera ''Nasua'' and ''Nasuella''. They are Diurnality, diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, Mexico, and the southwestern United States. ...
s,
civet A civet () is a small, lean, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different species, mostly from the family Viverridae. Most of the species diversity ...
s,
hedgehog A hedgehog is a spiny mammal of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlan family (biology), family Erinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genus, genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in Ne ...
s,
opossum Opossums () are members of the marsupial Order (biology), order Didelphimorphia () Endemism, endemic to the Americas. The largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere, it comprises 93 species in 18 Genus, genera. Opossums originated in ...
s,
skunk Skunks are mammals in the family Mephitidae. They are known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong, unpleasant scent from their anal glands. Different species of skunk vary in appearance from black-and-white to brown, cream or ginge ...
s,
sloth Sloths are a group of Neotropical realm, Neotropical xenarthran mammals constituting the suborder Folivora, including the extant Arboreal locomotion, arboreal tree sloths and extinct terrestrial Ground sloth, ground sloths. Noted for their sl ...
s,
squirrel Squirrels are members of the family (biology), family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels (including chipmunks and prairie dogs, among others), and flyi ...
s,
raccoon The raccoon ( or , ''Procyon lotor''), sometimes called the common raccoon to distinguish it from other species, is a mammal native to North America. It is the largest of the procyonid family, having a body length of , and a body weight of . ...
s,
chipmunk Chipmunks are small, striped rodents of the family Sciuridae. Chipmunks are found in North America, with the exception of the Siberian chipmunk which is found primarily in Asia. Taxonomy and systematics Chipmunks may be classified either as a ...
s,
mice A mouse (plural, : mice) is a small rodent. Characteristically, mice are known to have a pointed snout, small rounded ears, a body-length scaly tail, and a high breeding rate. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (''Mus mus ...
, hamsters and
rat Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents. Species of rats are found throughout the order Rodentia, but stereotypical rats are found in the genus ''Rattus''. Other rat genera include ''Neotoma'' (pack rats), ''Bandicota'' (bandicoot ...
s. Most bear species are omnivores, but individual diets can range from almost exclusively herbivorous ( hypocarnivore) to almost exclusively carnivorous (
hypercarnivore A hypercarnivore is an animal which has a diet that is more than 70% meat, either via active predation or by scavenging. The remaining non-meat diet may consist of non-animal foods such as fungi, fruits or other plant material. Some extant exampl ...
), depending on what food sources are available locally and seasonally.
Polar bear The polar bear (''Ursus maritimus'') is a Hypercarnivore, hypercarnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the largest ext ...
s are classified as carnivores, both taxonomically (they are in the order Carnivora), and behaviorally (they subsist on a largely carnivorous diet). Depending on the species of bear, there is generally a preference for one class of food, as plants and animals are digested differently. Canines including
wolves The wolf (''Canis lupus''; plural, : wolves), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large Canis, canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of Canis lupus, subspecies of ''Canis lupus'' have been reco ...
,
dog The dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated descendant of the wolf. Also called the domestic dog, it is Domestication of the dog, derived from the extinct Pleistocene wolf, and the modern wolf is the dog's n ...
s,
dingo The dingo (''Canis familiaris'', ''Canis familiaris dingo'', ''Canis dingo'', or ''Canis lupus dingo'') is an ancient (Basal (phylogenetics), basal) lineage of dog found in Australia (continent), Australia. Its taxonomic classification is de ...
es, and
coyote The coyote (''Canis latrans'') is a species of canis, canine native to North America. It is smaller than its close relative, the wolf, and slightly smaller than the closely related eastern wolf and red wolf. It fills much of the same ecologica ...
s eat some plant matter, but they have a general preference and are evolutionarily geared towards meat. However, the
maned wolf The maned wolf (''Chrysocyon brachyurus'') is a large caninae, canine of South America. It is found in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay, and is almost extinct in Uruguay. Its markings resemble those of foxes, but it is neither a fox ...
is a canid whose diet is naturally 50% plant matter. Like most arboreal species, squirrels are primarily granivores, subsisting on nuts and seeds. However, like virtually all
mammals Mammals () are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in Female#Mammalian female, females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a ...
,
squirrels Squirrels are members of the family (biology), family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels (including chipmunks and prairie dogs, among others), and flyi ...
avidly consume some animal food when it becomes available. For example, the American
eastern gray squirrel The eastern gray squirrel (''Sciurus carolinensis''), also known, particularly outside of North America, as simply the grey squirrel, is a tree squirrel in the genus ''Sciurus''. It is native to eastern North America, where it is the most prodi ...
has been introduced to parts of Britain, continental Europe and South Africa. Its effect on populations of nesting birds is often serious because of consumption of eggs and nestlings.


Other species

Various
bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class (biology), class Aves (), characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the Oviparity, laying of Eggshell, hard-shelled eggs, a high Metabolism, metabolic rate, a fou ...
s are omnivorous, with diets varying from
berries A berry is a small, pulpy, and often edible fruit. Typically, berries are juicy, rounded, brightly colored, sweet, sour or tart, and do not have a stone or pit, although many pips or seeds may be present. Common examples are strawberries, raspb ...
and
nectar Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants in glands called nectaries or nectarines, either within the flowers with which it attracts pollination, pollinating animals, or by extrafloral nectaries, which provide a nutrient source to anim ...
to
insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, Thorax (ins ...
s,
worm Worms are many different distantly related bilateria, bilateral animals that typically have a long cylindrical tube-like body, no limb (anatomy), limbs, and no eyes (though not always). Worms vary in size from microscopic to over in length ...
s,
fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and Chondrichthyes, cartilaginous and bony fish as we ...
, and small
rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around ...
s. Examples include cranes, cassowaries,
chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domestication, domesticated junglefowl species, with attributes of wild species such as the grey junglefowl, grey and the Ceylon junglefowl that are originally from Southeastern Asia. Rooster ...
s,
crow A crow is a bird of the genus ''Corvus'', or more broadly a synonym for all of ''Corvus''. Crows are generally black in colour. The word "crow" is used as part of the common name of many species. The related term "raven" is not pinned scientifical ...
s and related
corvids Corvidae is a Cosmopolitan distribution, cosmopolitan family (biology), family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rook (bird), rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcracker (bird), nutcrackers. In coll ...
,
kea The kea (; ; ''Nestor notabilis'') is a species of large parrot in the Family (biology), family Nestoridae found in the forested and alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. About long, it is mostly olive-green with a brilliant orang ...
, rallidae, and rheas. In addition, some
lizard Lizards are a widespread group of Squamata, squamate reptiles, with over 7,000 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group is paraphyletic since it excludes the snakes and Amphisbae ...
s (such as Galapagos Lava Lizard),
turtle Turtles are an order (biology), order of reptiles known as Testudines, characterized by a special turtle shell, shell developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the Pleurodira (side necked turtles) an ...
s, fish (such as piranhas and
catfish Catfish (or catfishes; order (biology), order Siluriformes or Nematognathi) are a diverse group of Actinopterygii, ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbel (anatomy), barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size a ...
), and
invertebrate Invertebrates are a paraphyletic group of animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a ''backbone'' or ''spine''), derived from the notochord. This is a grouping including all animals apart from the chordata, ...
s are omnivorous. Quite often, mainly herbivorous creatures will eagerly eat small quantities of animal food when it becomes available. Although this is trivial most of the time, omnivorous or herbivorous birds, such as sparrows, often will feed their chicks insects while food is most needed for growth. On close inspection it appears that nectar-feeding birds such as sunbirds rely on the ants and other insects that they find in flowers, not for a richer supply of protein, but for essential nutrients such as
cobalt Cobalt is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Co and atomic number 27. As with nickel, cobalt is found in the Earth's crust only in a chemically combined form, save for small deposits found in alloys of natural meteoric iron. T ...
/
vitamin b12 Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule (or a set of molecules closely related chemically, i.e. vitamers) that is an Nutrient#Essential nutrients, essential micronutrient that ...
that are absent from nectar. Similarly,
monkeys Monkey is a common name that may refer to most mammals of the infraorder Simiiformes, also known as the simians. Traditionally, all animals in the group now known as simians are counted as monkeys except the apes, which constitutes an incom ...
of many species eat maggoty fruit, sometimes in clear preference to sound fruit.Ewing, Jack (2005). ''Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate''. Publisher: Pixyjack Press. . When to refer to such animals as omnivorous, or otherwise, is a question of context and emphasis, rather than of definition.


See also


References

{{Authority control Animals by eating behaviors Ethology