What Can Parrots Eat?

A list of safe and poisonous foods for parrots.


Parrots are popular pet birds that come in a variety of species, all with different dietary needs. Learning to meet the nutritional needs of your parrot is an important part of proper parrot care. By providing a balanced combination of seeds and fruits, complemented by cooked vegetables and other healthy snacks, you can create a nutritious diet for your feathered friend.

When it comes to healthful eating, it’s important to choose the right foods for your parrot. While many people think their parrot will eat just about anything given to them, this isn’t the case. Seeds and certain dried fruits should make up the bulk of your bird’s diet, with occasional fresh fruits and vegetables providing additional nutrition as treats. Parrots are omnivorous animals, meaning they need not only fresh fruit and vegetable matter but also animal protein from eggs or lean cooked meats such as chicken liver or lean beef as well as bugs like mealworms and wax worms in moderation.

Types of Foods Parrots Can Eat

Parrots are intelligent, social birds that can make wonderful pets. To keep them healthy, it is important to feed them a variety of nutritious foods. There is a wide selection of foods that parrots can eat, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains. Let’s take a closer look at the types of foods that are safe for parrots to eat.


Fruits provide essential vitamins and minerals, so they make great additions to a parrot’s diet. It’s important to note that some fruits contain high levels of sugar, which should be limited in a parrot’s diet. Aim for about 10-15% of your parrots daily intake to be fruits.

Fresh fruits are the best options for parrots as they get the most nutrition from them. Fruits like apples, pears, papaya, mangoes, bananas, strawberries and blueberries are great choices and can easily be diced or mashed into small bite-sized pieces. Make sure to remove any pits or seeds before feeding them as these can be dangerous if ingested. Some citrus fruits like oranges can also be given following the same procedure.

Frozen or dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries can also make tasty treats for your feathered friend when fresh fruit is not available. Figs and apricots are especially liked by many species of parrot too! Avoid canned fruit as it usually contains large amounts of added sugar and preservatives that can upset a bird’s digestive system.

Nutrition from vegetables is important for maintaining good health in birds; however, some vegetables should not be given due to their potential toxicity in birds. For example peppers contain capsaicin which can cause illness if ingested by birds so these should not be fed to them under any circumstances. However, other safe favorites include carrots (boiled or softened), broccoli (avoid florets), peas (remove pods), corn on the cob (remove kernel husks) and leafy greens such as spinach and kale (chopped finely). Be sure to remove any stems before serving!


Parrots love their fruits and vegetables — many veggies in particular. Offer up a wide range of fresh, washed and chopped raw fruits, vegetables, legumes and even grains. Because parrots don’t have the ability to digest large amounts of carbohydrates or fat, limit foods that are high in these elements.

Vegetables that parrots can eat include carrots, broccoli, cucumber, asparagus (no tips), brussels sprouts (no stem), lettuce, green peppers, squash (yellow and zucchini), bok choy, spinach (in moderation), radishes (no leaves) and baked potatoes without butter or salt. Some nutrient dense dark leafy greens like kale can be offered as well but should be limited given their potent antioxidant properties providing too much can create an imbalance. Grains such as popcorn (without added salt or butter) are good choices to offer every now and then. Muesli-style bird food should also contain small amounts of grains such as oats or barley to meet your parrot’s nutritional requirements.

Cooked beans such as pinto beans can also be offered occasionally and mixed into other food items like cooked egg dishes or rice porridge for extra proteins. Feeding your parrot cooked beans regularly can cause them serious digestive problems so it is important to feed them only one kind of bean at a time in moderation. Avoid offering your parrot raw beans because they contain a small poison called hemagglutin, which reduces their body’s ability to absorb protein from other sources – cooked version is safer . Lastly always avoid adding sugar or salt to any vegetable offerings; sugar rots teeth while salt causes water retention in the body leading to potential health problems over time when consumed in excess amounts .

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of fatty acids and vitamins,making them an important part of a parrot’s diet. Parrots should have access to raw and/or unsalted nuts and seeds as part of their daily meal plan. Nuts provide essential energy in the form of fats while also offering a variety of nutritional benefits such as protein, zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, niacin, vitamins A and E. When feeding nuts to your parrot always remember moderation to avoid health issues due to too much fat intake.

A healthy diet for parrots should include:
-Raw almonds
-Raw cashews
-Unsalted pumpkin seeds
-Unsalted sunflower seeds
-Unsalted pinenuts
-Macadamia nuts


Legumes are a beneficial food option for parrots, as they provide an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates. Legumes can be served cooked or uncooked and are an excellent way to ensure that your parrot is receiving proper nourishment. While some legumes are especially noteworthy for their benefit in a parrot diet, all legumes offer a healthy option that should not be overlooked.

Examples of some commonly-available legumes include: black beans, kidney beans, split peas, chick peas (garbanzo beans), white beans, lentils, navy beans and lima beans. These can all be served to your parrot either boiled or raw; however if serving them raw take care to check for any signs of mold or other contaminants that may have appeared in transit from the garden to your pantry. If you are concerned about fungal contamination it is best to cook these legumes before offering them to your bird.

Additionally, some types of nuts and seeds are often considered part of the legume family and make excellent additions to the parrot diet when properly prepared. Examples of nut options include almonds, cashews and peanuts (or peanut butter). These particular ingredients should always be served cooked; while most dried seeds will not require cooking prior to being offered (though again it is wise to look for any signs of spoilage).

Parrots also enjoy fresh fruit which can add additional vitamin content incapable with just legume-based diets; however fresh fruit should always be given in moderation as it does contain high amounts of sugars in comparison with other types of foods available for these birds <


Grains, including cereals such as wheat, barley and buckwheat, are nutritious staples of any parrot’s diet. Parrots love the seeds found in grain species, making them an easy supplement to other foods. Where possible, opt for whole grains rather than processed or pre-cooked grains as these tend to contain more nutritional value. Wheat germ is also a great source of vitamins and minerals for a pet bird’s diet and can be mixed into their seed formulation. Quinoa and amaranth are two other grain options that can be served cooked or mixed into a pellet-based diet. When feeding grains to your parrot, make sure it does not contain any chocolate, caffeine or sugar added ingredients as these can be harmful.

Foods Parrots Should Avoid

Parrots are beautiful and intelligent creatures, but pet owners need to know what foods to avoid when feeding them. Too many of the wrong foods can lead to serious health problems. Understanding what not to feed your parrot is important for their general wellbeing. Let’s take a look at the foods parrots should steer clear of.


Parrots should not eat avocado as it contains a toxic chemical called persin that can be lethal for parrots if consumed in large quantities. The leaves, fruit, seed, and bark of the avocado plant contain persin – which is a fungicidal toxin that can cause serious health problems. Vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heart rate are just some of the more common symptoms of persin poisoning in parrots. On top of this, avocados also have an extremely high fat content which is unhealthy for parrots.

Other foods to avoid include chocolate or anything with caffeine; alcohol; apple seeds and apple trees; apricot pits and kernels; oatmeal; onion; raw potatoes and potato skin; garlic or any other alliums (onions and garlic family); citrus fruits with its skin intact: lemons limes tangerines etc.; bean sprouts or raw beans (cooked beans are okay); uncooked rice or yeast doughs (which can cause potentially life-threatening problems). Some manufacturers use sugar glazes on commercial nuts which can also be toxic to parrots – so make sure to check the ingredients before feeding any manufactured treats.


While parrots and their owners benefit from most of the common, familiar foods in the American diet, there are a few items that should be eliminated or minimized from their diets. Salt is one of those items and can pose a serious health risk if consumed in too high a quantity. Although many parrots may pick at salted food, it should be avoided wherever possible.

Salt can cause dehydration and increased thirst as it draws water from the body to balance its concentration. This can lead to kidney and liver problems as well as difficulty with digestion and nutrition absorption. Sodium overload caused by salt intake can also cause severe vomiting, weakness, difficulty breathing and even death. Sea salt contains many trace minerals that are beneficial for some species, so those products should not replace completely the removing of other salty foods like chips or pretzels – but only used for very occasional treats.

To provide all these minerals it is important to feed an appropriate diet with an emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables and a quality pellet made specifically for companion birds. Avoid pre-packaged convenience products like crackers or cereal; these often contain hidden salts in addition to sugars and fats that aren’t healthy for parrots. As always when selecting any food item, read the label before offering it to your pet; salt is often disguised behind terms like “brine” or “naturally occurring sodium” so take extra caution when shopping for bird-safe snacks!


Parrots require a balanced diet of seeds, pellets, fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods. However, there are certain human foods that can be toxic to your parrot if ingested. One of the most dangerous is chocolate. Chocolate contains high levels of a substance called theobromine that can be toxic in large amounts for birds. Theobromine is potently stimulating and even lethal when ingested in high doses by parrots.

For these reasons, chocolate should not be given to or allowed to remain within reach of parrots at any time; this also applies to desserts containing chocolate or cocoa powder such as brownies and cakes. Additionally, it’s important to keep pet birds away from candies with wrappers or shapes resembling almond joys because they often contain an ingredient called methylxanthines—the same family as theobromine—that can have an adverse effect on birds when consumed in large amounts. Similarly, it’s best to avoid giving pets products containing caffeine like energy drinks or coffee grounds because the central nervous system stimulant effect can be dangerous for birds in high concentrations

In general, it’s a good idea not feed your pet bird anything containing sugar as sugar can create a host of health problems including metabolic disorders and digestive system issues over time. If you have any concerns about what is safe for your pet bird to eat, always seek details advice from an experienced veterinarian before feeding your pet anything outside its regular diet.


When it comes to what foods parrots should avoid, caffeine should be at the top of the list. Caffeine, including coffee and soda, is highly toxic for parrots. While small amounts may not cause adverse reactions that are immediately obvious, over time caffeine can build up in their system and lead to a wide range of potential health problems. Caffeine affects parrots’ organs and can also have neurological side effects. Symptoms may include hypothermia, seizures, weak muscles, tremors and irregular heartbeat. If a parrot is showing any of these signs after eating a caffeinated food or drink, seek immediate medical attention from an avian vet.

In addition to coffee and soda, energy drinks should also be avoided as they contain a high concentration of caffeine and other unhealthy ingredients such as sugar and additives. Tea should also be avoided due to its high concentration of caffeine but herbal teas are generally safe for parrots in small doses. Chocolate is another food that should be completely avoided as it contains substances called methylxanthines which can both stimulate the nervous system as well as negatively affect the digestive system in birds.


Parrots should avoid alcohol of all kinds. Alcohol has a depressant effect on humans, but for parrots, it is much more powerful and consuming the smallest amount can be deadly. Even if the alcohol is in a drink that’s intended for human consumption, like beer or wine, parrots should avoid it. The high sugar content in alcoholic beverages can cause health issues for parrots as well. Ethanol, methanol and propanol are some of the active components in beer which will prove highly toxic to parrots if ingested. Parrots that consume alcohol face possible liver damage and risk death due to poisoning or alcohol poisoning. Therefore, when it comes to your pet’s health, it’s best to keep them away from any alcoholic drinks and products at all times.


When it comes to the nutrition of your pet bird, the best choice is to offer them a variety of foods and rotate them regularly. Doing so will ensure that your parrot is getting a balanced diet and all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and antioxidants they need.

Make sure that new foods are introduced slowly so that you can gauge how well they tolerate it. Some species may have difficulty transitioning to a new diet due to their sensitive digestive systems. Also mix fresh fruits and vegetables into their diets to provide an array of vitamins and minerals.

One of the most important aspects of feeding pet parrots is providing enrichment through foraging activities like sprinkling seeds on small trays or hiding food items inside toy-like feeders or bird food puzzles. These activities not only encourage natural behaviours but also help prevent boredom which can lead to health and behavioural issues in parrots who don’t receive enough stimulation.

Parrots are naturally messy eaters; therefore, you should keep their food bowls clean at all times by removing leftover food as soon as possible after feeding time has taken place. Store any perishable materials in an airtight container or refrigerator for optimal freshness and sanitation. With these few simple steps your parrot can enjoy a healthy and balanced diet with regular enrichment activities throughout its lifetime!

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