Niger seed comes from the African yellow daisy Guizotia abyssinica, a plant that originated in Nigeria. It is grown in Africa, India and parts of southeast Asia and transported around the world as birdseed.
In 1998, the Wild Bird Feeding Industry trademarked the name Nyjer to identify the seed. A type of oilseed, Nyjer contains 25 to 35 percent fat, making it a popular choice for a winter bird food. In the winter, birds require foods with higher fat content to sustain their energy and encourage fat storage. Many species of birds eat Nyjer seed, including finches, sparrows, quail and doves.