Turn your backyard into a bird feeding sanctuary and discover tranquility in your backyard.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Black Oil Sunflower versus Striped Sunflower - what's the difference?

There are two types of sunflower available for wild bird feeding: black oil sunflower and striped (confection) sunflower. Here are the key differences between the two:

Striped sunflowers are generally larger than black oil sunflowers. In fact, striped sunflowers are the same type of sunflower you would buy yourself at a convenience store (roasted sunflower seeds - like Spitz for example). However, striped sunflowers for bird feeding have been screened to select smaller seeds that are more suitable for birds.

Oil sunflowers are smaller than striped sunflower and therefore are easier for small birds to handle and contain more oil per gram than striped sunflower. In addition, oil sunflowers have a thinner shell meaning that some birds find it easier to open black oil sunflowers than striped sunflowers. That said, larger birds like jays, woodpeckers and grosbeaks love striped sunflower. Also smaller birds like chickadees, titmice and nuthatches can easily open the shells of striped sunflower seeds. However, some birds like House Sparrows and blackbirds do have more difficulty cracking open striped sunflower seeds. So if you are suffering from an abundance of these types of birds, you could try feeding more striped sunflower seed. This may reduce the number of undesirable birds at your feeders and improve the diversity of birds in your backyard.


  1. Wow. Awesome article. Please do more articles like this in the future. Very informational and knowledgeable. I will expect more from you in the future. For now i will just bookmark your page and surely I'm gonna come back later to read more. Thank you to the writer!



  2. Difficult roads often leads to beautiful destinations. :)

  3. Do either seed grow into sunflowers ifr planted?

  4. I'd like to add. I have a pretty good volume of birds, & squirrels in my backyard. 3 feeders. One for the Sparrows, one for my Cardinal family & one for the House finch, Dark eyed Junco & miscellaneous birds. My Cardinal feeder is basically 3 cups Black sunflower, one cup safflower. My Cardinals feed all day. But early morning & just before sundown. I have 20 to 40 Cardinals eating. I live in the St.Louis City area. My backyard is much like an aquarium to me.