What Can Parrots Not Eat?

While parrots are known for being able to eat just about anything, there are still some things that they should not eat. This blog will help you figure out what can parrots not eat so that you can keep your feathered friend healthy and happy!


Parrots are highly intelligent, fascinating creatures that make wonderful pets. As with all animals, it is important to provide them with a healthy, balanced diet so that their unique personalities can shine through. To ensure your pet parrot gets the necessary nutrition and stays safe and healthy, it’s important to know what they can’t eat.

When making dietary decisions for your pet parrot, you should always consult with your avian veterinarian or an experienced bird breeder who is familiar with the bird species in question. By following their advice, you can be sure that your pet parrot gets the best possible nutrition while remaining safe from potential illnesses caused by ingesting food or drinks they shouldn’t have access to.

Some common foods are toxic to parrots such as raw potato skins, avocados and caffeine-containing products like coffee and chocolate. Even some healthy human foods can be harmful if consumed in large quantities by a small parrot. Therefore it is important to identify which foods should not be in their diet so that unwanted medical problems don’t occur in the future. Below is a list of common food items that should not be present in a pet parrot’s diet:

-Caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea)
-Raw potato skins
-Fresh fruit seeds such as apple and cherry pits
-Alcohol of any kind

Foods to Avoid

Parrots are incredibly popular pets and can live for a long time when cared for properly, but their diets must be monitored closely. There are certain foods that parrots should avoid, and understanding what they are can help you ensure your parrot stays healthy. Let’s take a look at the foods that parrots should not eat.


Avocado is one of the few types of food that parrots cannot eat. Avocados contain a chemical known as persin which is toxic to many animals, including parrots. Any part of the avocado, including the skin, leaves, flesh, and pit contain this chemical and can be dangerous for your pet bird when eaten. It is important to avoid giving any parrot avocado in any form to reduce their risk of getting poisoned or suffering from any health issue caused by persin ingestion. Avocados are often used in trendy bird food mixes but you should make sure that the blend does not contain this substance or any other unsafe ingredients that may pose harm to your beloved furry friend.


Chocolate is a food that many humans enjoy, but it can be deadly for parrots. Chocolate contains a substance known as theobromine, which acts as a stimulant and diuretic. It can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death in parrots. Additionally, chocolate often contains high amounts of fat, sugar, and caffeine which are all unhealthy for parrots. Fruits with seeds are considered particularly dangerous because the seeds may contain trace amounts of caffeine.

Chocolate candy bars contain even higher concentrations of theobromine and other ingredients that might harm your pet bird. If there is any potential of your parrot coming into contact with these items you should avoid them completely. Even fooling around with chocolate or offering some pieces to your pet parrot could put them at risk so it is best to err on the side of caution and never give your pet bird chocolate in any form – especially dark or unsweetened varieties which are especially harmful.


Caffeine is a stimulant found in many plants and beverages, including tea, coffee, energy drinks, and chocolate. It has various medical benefits for humans; however, it can be harmful to parrots. Caffeine should be avoided when feeding your parrot as it can cause rapid heart rate, irregular breathing and even death in extreme cases.

Parrots ingesting caffeine might experience symptoms such as restlessness or excessive activity. They might also seem agitated or anxious. In addition to physical discomfort caused by caffeine ingestion, long-term exposure to the substance can lead to neurological damage in parrots including decreased coordination and impairment of learning abilities. Since many foods contain caffeine, it’s important to read labels before feeding anything containing chocolate or coffee to your parrot as these two products are high in the stimulant substance.

Caffeine should be avoided at all costs when feeding your parrot. If you have any questions about what your bird can eat safely, consult a veterinarian for more information about diet and nutrition for pet birds.


Alcohol of any kind, regardless of if it is fermented or distilled, should not be a part of your parrot’s diet. Alcohol can cause life-threatening intoxication in even small doses and can lead to serious health problems such as liver and brain damage. In addition, the chemicals found in alcoholic beverages can be toxic when consumed by a parrot, especially if they are unweaned. Even if you think having a sip of beer or wine isn’t going to hurt your parrot, it is best to err on the side of caution and keep all types of alcohol away from them. If you feel like giving your pet an occasional treat, stick to non-alcoholic alternatives that won’t harm their sensitive systems.


Salt is a common ingredient in many processed and cooked foods, but it can be harmful to parrots if ingested. Excessive sodium intake can lead to dangerously high levels of sodium in the bloodstream and can cause dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. These problems can range from mild to severe, depending upon the amount ingested. In addition, eating too much salt over an extended period of time can worn down a parrot’s natural defenses and make them more vulnerable to disease and infection. Therefore, it is important that any food given to a parrot should have very little added salt or none at all. Foods such as bacon, ham, potato chips, salted popcorn and other salty snacks should be avoided for small birds as well as larger birds like cockatoos and macaws. It is also important to check labels carefully when buying processed bird foods—many of these products contain higher levels of sodium than natural bird diets would contain. Finally, table salt should always be avoided when preparing meals for your pet parrot.

Raw Beans

Parrots should not eat raw beans as they are toxic. Legumes, such as kidney beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, Lima beans, navy beans and garbanzo beans contain phytohemagglutinins which are lectins that can cause digestive issues for parrots. Consumption of raw or undercooked legumes can be dangerous due to the risk of gastrointestinal blockages in parrots.

Additionally, some legumes contain high levels of anti-nutritional factors which can decrease nutrient absorption or may cause degradation of tissues in the body which could lead to kidney damage over time. These types of food poisoning can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. As such, it’s best to avoid feeding your parrot any type of raw bean or legume.

Cooked legumes are generally safe for parrots as long they they are cooked properly and free from seasonings and other ingredients such as garlic or onions which may be toxic. It’s also important to make sure that they have cooled before giving them to your pet since hot foods can burn their mouths and throats easily.

Raw Potatoes

Raw potatoes are one of the foods that should never be fed to parrots. They contain a toxin called solanine that could cause adverse symptom or illness in the bird if ingested. Even cooked potatoes can be dangerous because they may contain bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli, which can lead to severe health problems.

In addition, potatoes have high levels of carbohydrate, which should be avoided since parrots have a primarily protein-based diet. Carbohydrates can also lead to obesity-related health concerns in birds, including fatty liver disease and low calcium levels in the blood.

While there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that are safe for parrots to consume, it is best to avoid raw potatoes altogether. If a parrot does eat a raw potato, seek prompt medical attention from an avian veterinarian for any potential poisoning effects.


Parrots should not be given onions, either cooked or raw. This food poses a variety of risks and all forms of the food are considered to be toxic to parrots. All species of onion, including green, yellow and red onions, chives, spring onions and shallots are dangerous for parrots to consume. Even small amounts can lead to a dangerous condition called hemolytic anemia in these birds due to an ingredient called thiosulphate. Unfortunately, many human foods contain hidden forms of onion, making it important for pet owners to check all ingredients before feeding something new to their bird as even a trace amount can be deadly.


While a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains make excellent additions to a pet parrot’s diet, garlic is something that should be avoided. Garlic contains a compound called allicin which can cause toxicity in birds at even low levels. Garlic should not be fed to parrots as part of their diet, and any food items used for them should not contain garlic as an ingredient.

Garlic can also help to mask the smell of spoiled food or food that does not have adequate nutrition for birds. Therefore, even when feeding other safe foods to parrots it is important to ensure that no garlic has been used in preparation or flavoring as this can lead to health complications for the bird. Symptoms of garlic poisoning may include fatigue, lethargy and diarrhea. In rare cases it can lead to more severe issues such as respiratory distress or kidney failure. If you suspect your parrot has eaten anything containing garlic or is showing signs of illness you should contact a veterinarian immediately for diagnosis and treatment advice.


Rhubarb is commonly used in pie fillings and other culinary dishes, but it should be avoided as food for parrots. While mammals can consume rhubarb with relatively no side effects, substances found within the stalks can lead to critical health issues for birds. These include kidney and liver failure, vomiting, shock and even death. The key element that poses a risk to parrots is oxalic acid, which is found in greater concentrations in the leaves than in the stalks. While the leaves are obvious to spot and generally easy to avoid when serving rhubarb, some varieties of the stalks can contain substantial amounts of oxalic acid as well. Therefore, it’s best to completely avoid serving your pet parrot any part of the rhubarb plant.

Foods to Feed

When it comes to caring for parrots, knowing what to feed them is essential to their health. Although many people think of parrots as being able to eat anything, there are actually a few food items that are not safe for them. It’s important to know what types of foods are best to offer parrots and which ones to avoid in order to keep them healthy and happy.


Fruits can make up an important part of a parrot’s diet but not all fruits are safe for them to eat. Some, such as grapes and raisins, contain substances that can be toxic for birds, so these should never be fed. Some common fruits that are safe for parrots include: apples, apricots, bananas, mangoes and strawberries.

These should always be washed before being given to parrots as pesticides used on fruits can also be toxic. Fruits should also be prepared correctly; seeds from some types of fruit (apples or pears) contain cyanide and must be carefully removed or scrubbed off before feeding to a bird.

It is important to remember that no single group of food provides the complete nutritious needs of a particular bird species; therefore, several different types of food should be introduced into the diet in order to provide a well-balanced and varied meal. Parrots generally enjoy eating fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables and sprouted grains/seeds; in addition they also need pellets and other fortified foods specifically formulated for their nutritional needs.


Vegetables are a great source of nutrition for parrots and should form the basis of the diet. There are a few vegetables that should be avoided, however, due to their high levels of oxalates, which can cause kidney stones in birds. Examples include spinach, kale, chard, beet greens, and other dark leafy greens such as collards and turnip greens.

Most other vegetables may be offered to your parrot in moderation. Vegetables should either be cooked or diced very finely so they’re easier for your parrot to consume. Parrots are omnivores so these can be supplemented with fruits and grains for variety. Some favorite vegetable-based foods include:

-Pumpkin Puree
-Green Beans
-Sweet Potato


Parrots, like other birds, can often eat a variety of nuts including almonds, pecans, peanuts, and walnuts. However, these nuts should always be unsalted since excess salt is not good for a parrot’s health. Additionally, these nuts should be fed to parrots in moderation and should never be the main part of their diet. Almonds contain high amounts of fat and protein and are fairly calorie dense so they should only be used as occasional treats. Pecans are also high in fat and protein but do not contain as much calcium as almonds so those with low calcium needs may prefer them. Peanuts are another favorite treat for parrots but must also be served in moderation due to their high fat content. Lastly, walnuts provide more zinc than any other type of nut so those interested in providing zinc will want to regularly include them in a parrot’s diet.


Due to their natural, instinctual feeding habits, seeds make up a significant portion of a parrot’s diet in the wild. However, when feeding pet parrots a balanced diet, only a small part should be comprised of seeds. Seeds such as sunflower seeds are some of the most unhealthy food items for parrots due to their high fat content. Therefore, although it may appear that your parrot enjoys these particular kinds of seeds, they should be kept to an absolute minimum and other healthier alternatives should be offered instead.

Besides sunflower seeds, certain other types of bird seed mixtures that are commonly found in pet stores may also contain ingredients like dry legumes (e.g., fava beans and peas) which can cause nutritional problems if fed in excessive amounts due to their high carbohydrate content. Wild bird seedmeals which are heavily laden with milletand oats should also be avoided since they can quickly lead to nutritional deficiencies if not offered in moderation.

In general, to ensure proper nutrition for your parrot you should opt for nutritious seed mixes that include more digestible low-fat ingredients such as quinoa, pumpkinseeds and flaxseed and serve only as occasional treats instead regular meals. Offerings such as these will give your feathered friend the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for healthy growth and development without causing any nutrition-related issues or health problems due to over consumption.


Grains, such as whole-grain bread and wild rice, contain high concentrations of essential minerals and vitamins that your parrot requires in his diet. Whole grains should comprise no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of your bird’s daily dietary intake. Cooked barley, oatmeal and brown rice are beneficial to your parrot’s health. The same foods can be offered in their raw forms as well; however, much caution must be taken since the raw counterparts may harbor intrinsic harmful bacteria or parasites. When offering any grains, always ensure the food is fresh and clean before serving it to your parrot. While some cooked grains are safe for a parrot to eat, there are several others you should avoid due to their high concentration of phosphorus and low calcium content–foods like wheat germ and wheat bran have poor calcium content that can cause metabolic bone disease in parrots over time.


Ultimately, the health and safety of your pet parrot should be at the top of your priority list. Some foods that can be consumed by humans can be toxic to parrots and should be avoided. When not sure it is best to avoid that food to prevent any potential harm coming to them.

It’s best to feed your parrot an appropriate diet designed for their species in order to provide them with all of the required nutrients. Any treats or special foods you give them should also be geared towards their dietary needs and should always checked prior to giving it to them. You also must consider if a food is safe for consumption, what type of harm could it have if consumed and make judgements from there whether or not it’s worth feeding that particular food. By understanding what types of food are safe for consumption you can ensure a happy, healthy pet!

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