Herbivore Examples: Common Plant-Eating Animals

, Staff Editor
Updated June 11, 2020
herbivore deer eating leaves on tree
    herbivore deer eating leaves on tree
    Jim Cumming / Moment Open / Getty Images

The definition of an herbivore is “any person, animal, or organism who mainly eats plants.” This includes all types of plants and parts of plants from fruits and seeds to leaves and stems. Check out some common herbivore examples to see how these plant eaters survive and thrive.

Types of Herbivores

If you look at any food web, you’ll probably find a few different types of herbivores. While all herbivores eat plants, some eat mostly one type of plant or a specific part of plants.

These are the six main types of herbivores:

  • Frugivores eat mostly fruits.
  • Granivores eat mostly seeds.
  • Nectivores eat mostly nectar.
  • Folivores eat mostly leaves.
  • Xylophages eat mostly wood.
  • Detritivores eat mostly dead plant material.

Examples of Herbivorous Mammals

Most examples of common herbivores are mammals, or warm-blooded hairy animals that feed their young milk from mothers. Herbivorous mammals tend to eat grasses, leaves, and stems.

  • antelope
  • beaver
  • bison
  • buffalo
  • camel
  • cow
  • deer
  • donkey
  • elephant
  • giraffe
  • goat
  • gorilla
  • guinea pig
  • hare/rabbit
  • hippopotamus
  • horse
  • kangaroo
  • koala
  • manatee
  • mouse
  • panda
  • rhinoceros
  • squirrel
  • yak
  • zebra
zebra eating grass
    zebra eating grass
    Sean Russell / Getty Images

Examples of Herbivorous Birds

Many birds are omnivores or herbivores, but birds of prey are always carnivores. Herbivorous birds tend to eat seeds, nectar, and fruit.

  • cockatoo
  • emu
  • goose
  • hummingbird
  • oilbird
  • oriole
  • ostrich
  • parrot
  • rock ptarmigan
  • toucan
  • swan
cockatoo eating seeds
    cockatoo eating seeds
    tracielouise / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Examples of Herbivorous Invertebrates

Many insects and other types of invertebrates are herbivores that eat mostly nectar and leaves.

  • ant
  • aphid
  • butterfly
  • caterpillar
  • cricket
  • grasshopper
  • honeybee
  • leaf katydid
  • moth
  • slug
  • snail
  • termite
  • worm
herbivore butterfly drinks nectar
    herbivore butterfly drinks nectar
    Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Examples of Herbivorous Amphibians and Reptiles

Only a few reptiles and amphibians are herbivores, most are carnivores.

  • chuckwalla
  • green iguana
  • tortoise
herbivore chuckwalla eating orchid
    herbivore chuckwalla eating orchid
    adogslifephoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Animals Gone Vegan

Herbivores have been eating plant-based diets longer than humans, but you might be an herbivore too. Explore other food-related science terms by checking out all the different types of animals, producers and consumers, and examples of omnivores.