Rice fields provide nourishment for many types of water fowl and birds, in addition to some woodland animals and fish. Shorebirds and other wetland birds find rice fields a convenient spot to inhabit, providing not only food, but also a source of shelter, as they are hidden from predators among the tall rice plants.
White-tailed deer usually live among the trees and ferns of the forest. They will wander along the edge of rice fields, if they are close enough, and nibble on the rice plants. They also eat clover, reeds, lilies, grass, snails and frogs. The muskrat lives near water, usually in ponds, marshes, rivers and streams. They will eat wild rice if it is available, in addition to other plants that live in the water, such as cattails, long-leaf pondweed and pickerelweed. They will hunt and eat crayfish, snails, mussels and bullfrogs.
Many varieties of birds eat rice, and are often a source of problems for farmers who raise rice fields and consider these birds pests. The rice-eating varieties in North America include the red-winged blackbird, northern bobwhite and bobolink. The American birds usually make their nests close to the rice fields, perhaps in marsh grasses or cattails. In Asia, rice farmers have trouble keeping the European tree sparrow, baya weaver, pin-tailed parrotfinch, java sparrow, sharp-tailed munia, white-bellied munia, spotted munia, chestnut munia and white-headed munia out of their rice crops. These Asian birds make their nests in fruit trees or shrubs, and will leave the nest to feed on the rice fields.
Mallards and wood duck live near a water source, and will often live in rice fields, or live in reeds or other shrubs on the edge of the water and swim to the rice fields to feed. In addition to rice, they will also eat seeds, fruits, nuts, worms, small fish, slugs and insects. The wood duck has an unusual trait of nesting in trees. Canada geese eat other plants, such as clover, water lilies, cattails and grasses in addition to the rice fields. They will live among the wide rice fields, cattails, reeds or sedge plants.
Fish and Rats
Common carp can grow up to 30 inches long and live in fresh water, where there is an abundance of aquatic plants. The fish live at the bottom of the stream or lake and uproot plants to eat them, including wild rice that happens to be growing in the area. They also eat insects, worms, crayfish, mussels and snails. In Thailand, the field rats also pose a problem for the rice farmers. The rice field rats eat the roots of the rice plants, destroying the crops. In order to protect their rice fields, the farmers lay bamboo traps for the rats.