Listed below are dozens of popular foods that you might consider feeding a pet bird. Along with each, we have indicated how much, if at all, this food should be in your bird’s diet. If you are unsure about any item not included in this guide, then simply do not give it to your bird! There are plenty of foods that are known to be safe for your pet parrot to eat. Why take a chance? Better safe than sorry is the way to go when feeding your parrot.
Can My Parrot Eat That?
(Click on the food group ‘+’ sign to see links to answers)
Can parrots eat grapes? In moderation.
Grapes are fine for your parrot to eat, but you should restrict the amount that you feed them. There are two primary reasons for controlling your parrot’s intake of grapes. The first is that it is a very high-sugar fruit, which should not make up a large proportion of your bird’s diet.
The second reason to be careful with grapes is that they are one of the fruits with the highest incidence of pesticide contamination. According to whatsonmyfood.org, there can be up to 56 different pesticide residues found on grapes tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While a quick rinse will make the grapes acceptable for human consumption, even small amount of pesticide can negatively affect a small bird. Wash grapes thoroughly before offering them to your pet birds.
Small birds such as conures should have at most one grape per day. Budgies should have even less, perhaps 1/2 of a grape, chopped up into small pieces. A nice idea is to hang a grape on a skewer for your smaller birds. Larger parrots can have a couple of grapes in a bowl, but even in the larger birds, don’t overdo it with the sugary fruits.
Can parrots eat cherries? Yes (if the seeds are removed).
Cherries are high in Vitamin C as well as providing Vitamin A, calcium, protein, and iron so can be a very tasty source of these nutrients. Parrots can eat the flesh of cherries, and many enjoy them immensely. They will make a mess with them, and their dropping will change color due to the cherries. Do not be alarmed when you see red or black droppings after feeding your birds some cherries.
The cherry pits should not be consumed by your parrots. Cherry pits can often contain traces of cyanide. Parrots love to crush pits and seeds, so never allow your bird access to them. Make sure you remove all the pits before letting your parrots near the fruit. According to petmd.com, they are toxic and you should not let your parrots eat them.
One way to serve cherries in a less messy manner than the raw fruit is to incorporate it into bird bread or offer small, chopped up pieces in a food bowl. This can minimize the spatter around the area when your parrots are eating cherries.
Can parrots eat oranges? In moderation.
Oranges are a citrus fruit, and in general, citrus fruits are highly acidic. Acidic fruit affects humans by forcing our body to counteract the difference in pH between the fruit and our average pH of 7. This is done instantaneously, although in some people the lack of acid or alkaline in your blood can limit your ability to process these foods.
According to petcha.com, you can allow your bird to consume oranges as long as you practice restraint in the amount you provide. If you choose to give them orange juice, it should be diluted with water as much as possible and the portion sizes should be very small. The portion sizes should be adjusted relative to the size of the parrot.
Oranges can be a good source of Vitamin C, A, and the B Vitamins as well as dietary fiber and potassium. Fed in moderation they can be a good supplement to your parrot’s diet and can be offered as a novel and occasional juicy, healthy treat.
Can parrots eat bananas? Yes.
Bananas are a healthy fruit that your parrot can enjoy. They are naturally sodium, fat, and cholesterol free, and provide vitamins and protein to your avian companion. Larger parrots may enjoy peeling the fruit themselves and it will provide an enriching foraging experience for them. If you are feeding whole bananas, make sure you scrub the fruit to remove any pesticide residue before giving it to your birds. To feed smaller birds, cut up some pieces and serve in a bowl or on a skewer.
Only fresh bananas should be given to your bird. Unless you are certain that the dried banana that you are considering was preserved without sulfur dioxide, they should be avoided according to harmonyhousefoods.com. Many parrots and humans have an allergic reaction to sulfur dioxide, and since your parrot’s body weight is only a fraction of yours, it cannot tolerate the substance as well as you can.
Your bird will enjoy the fresh fruit though, and you can mash it up with other fresh fruits to provide your bird with a change of pace from its everyday diet.
Can parrots eat strawberries? Yes.
Parrots can eat strawberries and many love them. They enjoy picking off the seeds and then digging into the fruit itself. One caution for the human in charge of cleanup duties is that some parrots almost seem to take pleasure in throwing the pieces of strawberry around their cage. Be prepared for some serious cleaning after your birds are finished eating.
Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as lesser amounts of other vitamins and minerals. A negative aspect of strawberries is that they are among the most contaminated fruits that we consume. According to ewg.org, strawberries can contain up to triple the number of pesticides found on other fruit.
Consuming these pesticides is not a good idea for humans, and with the small size of our pet parrots, it is even worse for them. Wash all strawberries that you will be giving to your birds thoroughly to remove any traces of pesticide. Alternatively look for organic options.
Can parrots eat tomatoes? In moderation.
Tomatoes are an acidic fruit and fresh tomatoes may cause ulcers in your pet parrot. Tomatoes dried without sulfur can be given sparingly, as most of the acid is removed in the drying process. Plain spaghetti sauce which is made with cooked tomatoes (and without additives such as sugar or salt), is fine in moderation.
While the tomato itself is acidic, the vines and leaves are poisonous to parrots and should never be available to your bird, according to theparrotsocietyuk.org. If you have a large parrot and are in the habit of letting it munch on a tomato, make sure that all leaves and stems have been removed.
The acid problem is only present in fresh tomatoes, as cooking them reduces the acidity. There have been reports of parrots eating raw tomatoes and then throwing up blood several days later, most likely from the presence of ulcers, so exercise extreme caution you insist on feeding fresh tomatoes to your birds.
Can parrots eat pineapple? Yes.
Parrots can eat pineapple, and it’s a good source of Vitamin C. As with all sugary fruits, the amount you feed your bird should be closely controlled, as a diet high in sugar is not good for long-term health. Fresh pineapple can be served in slices or wedges, and smaller birds can have it chopped up finely along with other fruit.
Dried pineapple is available and can be used only if it has not been dried with sulfur dioxide. This is a standard caution for all dried fruits, and it can sometimes be difficult to determine if your dried fruit is sulfur free. If you have doubts, choose another food for your parrot.
Can parrots eat watermelon? Yes.
Watermelon is a safe fruit for your parrot to eat. They will love the juicy fruit and the seeds are also safe for them, so leave them in. Your birds will probably pick out the seeds first before going for the rest of the fruit. Some owners like to remove the seeds and soak them overnight to soften them up for their birds.
There is some controversy regarding the rind of the melon. It often has a waxy coating that is used to preserve the fruit during transport, and this needs to be removed before you let your bird nibble on the rind. There is also the potential for pesticides to become trapped in the porous skin of the watermelon, posing another potential problem.
Most parrots enjoy the fruit and seeds of a melon and discard the rind. Your safest course of action is to just not offer the rind to your bird. There is plenty for them to enjoy without that part of the fruit.
Can parrots eat meat? Not recommended.
Meat is not a part of a wild parrot’s diet, though your bird may accept some if it is offered to it. This does not mean that it is necessarily a good thing for the bird to be eating. The main nutritional value obtained from eating meat is that it is a source of protein.
Your parrot should be able to obtain the protein it needs through the diet you provide. Nuts, seeds, legumes, and the protein that is present in pellets all contribute to satisfying your parrot’s protein requirements. Too much protein in your bird’s diet can lead to future kidney problems. Saturated fats and cholesterol are also found in high quantities in meat, and neither of these substances is good for your birds. Some meat may contain antibiotics that are an unknown quantity regarding your bird’s long-term health according to birdtricks.com,.
Small amounts of meat offered occasionally may be safe for your bird, but the emphasis is on small. There is no need to make it a regular part of your bird’s diet. Find ways to get your bird its protein in pellets or foods that it would consume in its natural environment.
Can parrots eat chocolate? No.
You should not allow your parrots to have any chocolate. While a small amount of chocolate will not immediately kill your bird, it is toxic to parrots and should be avoided.
Chocolate is actually toxic to all birds and mammals, including humans. The animal needs to consume about 1/7th of their body weight for the toxicity to kill them. This means eating multiple pounds of chocolate for humans and large pets.
Smaller parrots are in danger after consuming as little as 1/2 ounce (14 g) of chocolate, and even larger parrots with access to the food could quickly consume enough to lead to tragic consequences.
According to quakerparrots.com, chocolate contains two substances that are toxic to birds. One is caffeine, which should never be given to your bird in any form. This means keep all soft drinks and sodas away from your parrots. The second toxic substance is the alkaloid theobromine. Found in cocoa, theobromine cannot be metabolized correctly by parrots and many other animals, including humans. There have been many reported parrot deaths related to chocolate. If you suspect your bird has ingested chocolate, an immediate trip to the vet is necessary.
Can parrots eat carrots? Yes.
It is only right that parrots can eat carrots. On some level, it would be disturbing if they couldn’t since the two rhyming words are so closely related. Raw or lightly cooked, carrots are a good vegetable for your bird and provide dietary fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, and Potassium. Try chopping them up or slicing them into carrot straws that your bird can hold onto while munching.
Can parrots eat popcorn? In moderation.
Popcorn is an acceptable treat for your parrot, but you should only serve your birds air-popped corn that is unsalted and contains no extra oils. Salt should not be given to your birds in any form, and many kinds of popcorn are loaded with it. You should avoid microwavable popcorn, as many minute particles are produced when it is cooked and these pose a potential hazard to your parrot, according to lafeber.com.
Can parrots eat cheese? Not recommended.
Parrots are partially lactose intolerant. This means they cannot process dairy foods such as milk that contain high concentrations of lactose. Some hard cheeses are low in lactose and can be fed sparingly to your birds. Monitor the bird’s droppings, and if they develop diarrhea after eating some cheese, it is best to remove it from the menu permanently. There is no reason to feed your bird a substance that will cause it any discomfort.
Can parrots eat asparagus? Not recommended.
There is some controversy surrounding the use of asparagus as a parrot food. Some varieties can produce berries, which though toxic to humans, may be safe for wild birds. It appears that small amounts of cooked or raw asparagus are acceptable if fed occasionally, the berries should never be offered to parrots. Better to be safe than sorry when the health of your avian family member is at stake, so you probably should choose another vegetable according to eclectusparrots.net.
Can parrots eat celery? Not recommended.
While celery in itself is not a problem for a parrot to eat, the stringy part can cause crop impaction or constipation.
This can be a life-threatening condition and therefore it is not recommended that you make this food part of your parrot’s diet. It does have some nutritional value, but the risks may outweigh the potential benefits.
Can parrots eat raisins? In moderation.
Raisins are very high in sugar, so should be only a small part of your parrot’s diet. Avoid boxed raisins meant for human consumption as they usually contain added sugars and sodium that are harmful to your bird. Organic, dried raisins obtained in a health food store may be the best bet. Whenever using dried fruit as a food source for your pet parrot, ensure that the drying process does not include sulfur. Even though it is only present in trace amounts, it is enough to potentially harm your bird and should be avoided.
Can parrots eat pistachios? In moderation.
As with all nuts, moderation is the key with pistachio nuts. Another fact to keep in mind is that you should never give your bird salted or sweetened nuts. As an oily nut, your pistachios will spoil in hot, humid conditions. Keep them refrigerated or in a dark cool place for extended storage. Pistachio nuts have a low fat content compared to other nuts, so are not as problematic for feeding if you are concerned about overweight birds.
Can parrots eat blueberries? Yes.
Blueberries are a safe fruit for your bird to eat. They are loaded with nutrition such as Vitamins K and C, as well as fiber and copper. Wash the berries thoroughly and serve them whole to your birds. A skewer will work well with small birds like budgies. Conures like to hold them in their claw and eat them as a human would eat an apple. Obviously bigger parrots love them too. They can cause some stains around the cage so be prepared and don’t panic when you discover them. Your bird is not injured.
Can parrots eat pecans? In moderation.
Parrots can eat pecans with no immediate negative consequences. They are one of the nuts with the highest concentration of fat per ounce. In general, you should limit the amount of most nuts to avoid excessive weight gain. This is not always true for macaws, who thrive on nuts and need more fat than other parrots, according to forparrots.com.
Can parrots eat chicken? Not recommended.
Parrots can eat chicken occasionally in small amounts, but it should not be a staple part of their diet. Though parrots are omnivores and can eat meat, they very rarely do in the wild, and that is mostly in the form of insects. Antibiotics and hormones in chicken can be especially harmful to your pet bird.
Parrots’ digestive systems can easily process vegetable fats but have more problems with animal fat such as that found in chicken. Excessive protein consumption can also lead to increased breeding behavior and can lead to behavioral issues with a non-breeding bird.
Can parrots eat almonds? Yes.
Almonds are an excellent source of calcium, vitamin E, healthy antioxidants, and protein. As with other fatty nuts, keeping the portions small is important to minimize the risk of weight gain in your bird.
The main consideration when feeding almonds is how they are pasteurized. This became a practice in the early 2000s due to fears of salmonella. Some almonds are pasteurized using propylene oxide gas, a known possible carcinogen. Amounts that are safe for humans are probably not safe for parrots. You should try to obtain almonds that are pasteurized through steaming or oil roasting to reduce potential health problems in your bird.
Can parrots eat cucumbers? Yes.
Parrots can eat cucumbers, including the seeds. You should try to stick to organically grown cucumbers or ones you grow yourself. A problem with commercially grown cucumbers is that there is often vaseline or a waxy substance used to coat the vegetable to preserve it. You need to get rid of this coating before letting your parrots eat it. Peeling the vegetable is one approach, as is washing and scrubbing it thoroughly before letting your pets near it. You may find that cutting it up into small pieces works better than offering bigger slices.
Can parrots eat eggs? In moderation.
Parrots can eat eggs and eggshells. Providing your birds with eggs to eat simply replicates a wild behavior that they may exhibit. Many birds steal and eat the eggs of other birds.
Eggs can be a source of protein for your pet, and the eggshells are a good source of calcium. They also contain the essential amino acids that your parrot needs. One drawback could be the transfer of hormones from the egg-producing birds to your pet according to thesprucepets.com, so feed in moderation. If you cook the eggs for your bird, make sure to let them cool off before feeding.
Can parrots eat cantaloupe? Yes.
Melons are loved by parrots, and cantaloupe is no exception. If offered a slice, they will likely first go for the seeds and then the fruit itself. Caution should be taken with the rind though. It may hold some toxicity and since parrots are small, it is best not to tempt fate. The rind is also very porous, making it hard to be sure you have thoroughly cleaned it and removed and lingering traces of pesticides.
Can parrots eat peanut butter? Not recommended.
Though peanuts contain the carcinogenic substance aflatoxin, the concentration is lower in commercial peanut butter than in the nut itself. This is a rare case where processed food is better for your bird than the item in its natural state. However, peanut butter contains high levels of salt and sugar, so we recommend against feeding it to your bird.
Can parrots eat kiwi? Yes.
Your bird may well love kiwis, as many parrots do. You should first slice them open and then cut them into size appropriate pieces based on your species of parrot. While some may enjoy eating the fleshy part of the fruit, nearly all parrots love the kiwi seeds and will eagerly pick them out.
Kiwi is a good source of Vitamins C, K and E. It also provides your parrot with fiber and antioxidants. It is a nice change of pace and a fruit that your bird will enjoy.
Can parrots eat pomegranate? Yes.
Parrots can eat pomegranates, and your birds will love them. Be warned that it is a very messy fruit, and you should take precautions to protect your walls and the floor around the cage before feeding this fruit to your pet.
A suggested method of feeding involves making a cut in the top of the fruit and then pulling apart into big chunks. Larger pieces are suitable for big birds and you can tear off sections for smaller parrots. According to pamperedpeeps.com, the fruit is rich in Vitamin C, phosphorus, and calcium. The seeds are also safe for your birds to consume.
Can parrots eat onions? No.
Many animals cannot cope with the sulfoxides that are present in cooked or raw onions. Based on this knowledge, it is recommended that you keep all type of onions away from your birds. Onions are members of the Allium plant family, which also contains shallots and garlic. Consuming 0.5% of the animal’s body weight can cause toxicosis according to bestbirdfoodever.com,.
Considering the weight of our parrots, this is a very small amount of onion that can potentially cause a lot of distress for your bird. Avoid giving your birds any cooked, raw, and dehydrated onions.
Can parrots eat or drink milk? Not recommended.
Many dairy products, including milk, contain high amounts of lactose. Parrots are lactose intolerant, which makes sense based on where the majority of species originate. Not all parrots are 100% lactose intolerant, so some can eat small amounts of dairy products.
Signs of lactose intolerance after consuming dairy products will include your bird experiencing diarrhea, where the solid portion of the droppings will be runny. Though some parrots seem to like dairy products, there is no real nutritional benefit to feeding dairy products to your birds according to parrots.org.
Can parrots eat radishes? Yes.
Your parrot can eat the complete radish, including the greens. Some birds actually prefer the green leaves. Use organic radishes or else make sure to clean the vegetables completely before letting your birds eat them.
Can parrots eat peanuts? Not recommended.
You should probably not feed your parrots peanuts. Peanuts are often contaminated with aflatoxin, a fungal toxin that can cause liver damage. According to ForParrots.com, parrots are up to 200 times more sensitive to aflatoxin that humans, so even human grade peanuts may harm your bird.
Can parrots eat mushrooms? No.
Many mushrooms are toxic, and so in general we recommend you avoid feeding your parrots any mushrooms. Cooking mushrooms does tend to remove most of the toxins, but trace amounts may still remain. These trace amounts can still adversely affect your parrot which is why it better to be safe and not feed any fungus to your birds.
Can parrots eat cinnamon? Yes.
Cinnamon is perfectly alright for your parrot and the flavoring may help entice them to eat healthy foods. It also helps in blood-sugar control in humans and parrots. Cinnamon is mostly made up of dietary fiber, calcium, and iron according to birdtricks.com.
Can parrots eat bread? In moderation.
Most parrots can eat bread without experiencing any digestive complications but it should be used as a treat and should not be a regular part of their diet. A nibble on some bread that you are eating is ok for your pet once in a while. The best part about bird bread is that you can bake into it foods and medicines that you need to feed your bird that they otherwise wouldn’t normally eat. Our guide to baking bird bread is available here.
Can parrots eat coconut? Yes.
Coconuts are high in protein, calcium, and fiber. They contain Vitamins C and E as well as many minerals. The birds can eat the flesh, drink the milk, and the shells are often used to make bird toys.
Can parrots eat broccoli? Yes.
Fresh or lightly steamed broccoli is an excellent choice in a fresh vegetable for your parrot. Stalks and crowns are readily accepted by many birds, and it is a great source of Vitamins A and E among other vitamins and minerals.
Can parrots eat blackberries? Yes.
Blackberries can be given to your birds as part of their daily fresh fruit. It contains many nutrients including Vitamins C, E, and K, as well as fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Many birds will love these tasty, juicy berries.
Can parrots eat clay? Yes.
In the wild, some South American parrots eat clay to help obtain nutrients and to neutralize toxins that they have ingested. Clay supplements that are also meant to help eliminate toxins are available for captive parrots as well.
Can parrots eat fish? Not recommended.
Fish can be consumed by our pet parrots but we don’t recommend it. The pollution of our oceans causes mercury to be present in fish and also fish is not part of a parrots natural diet. Parrots can get their protein from better sources to which they are more adapted.
Can parrots eat insects? Yes.
Parrots are omnivores, which means they can eat meat and vegetation. In their natural environment parrots are very likely to consume insects, and your pet parrot can do the same with no harm to your bird according to livescience.com.
Can parrots eat honey? In moderation.
Pasteurized honey is safe for your parrots. Raw honey should be avoided due to the presence of high levels of botulism and bacteria that can be fatal to a small animal such as your pet. Because honey is high in sugar, it is a food that should be feed sparingly and in very small amounts to your birds.
Can parrots eat cashews? In moderation.
Your parrot can have a few cashews, but as with all nuts, moderation is the key. They are lower in fiber than many other nuts but provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Feed cooked cashews and do not feed your parrot ‘raw’ cashews as they may contain traces of the toxin urushiol.
Can parrots eat cauliflower? Yes.
You can feed your parrot raw or cooked cauliflower. It is a great source of vitamin C as well as many other many other nutrients that benefit your pet. The leaves of the plant are also safe for your bird to eat.
Can parrots eat grapefruit? In moderation.
While the fruit and seeds of the grapefruit are not harmful to your parrot, the fruit is very acidic and should be offered only occasionally and in small portions.
Can parrots eat green beans? Yes.
Fresh, uncooked green beans are safe for parrots to eat. Most parrots will open up the bean to eat the seeds inside, though some do scrape the meat from the inside. They do not eat the casings.
Can parrots eat cranberries? Yes.
Parrots love cranberries and can benefit from the Vitamin C and antioxidants that are in the fruit. Fresh cranberries are best, and you should always avoid fruits dried with sulfites if you decide to try dried cranberries.
Can parrots eat figs? In moderation.
Due to their high sugar content, figs should be fed sparingly to your parrots. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, and your bird can safely consume the seeds as well as the flesh of the fruit.
Can parrots eat garlic? No.
Garlic is in the same plant family, Allium, as onions and is not a good food for your parrots. It can cause digestive distress even in small quantities. To be safe, you may want to minimize your bird’s exposure to the fumes of garlic being cooked.
Can parrots eat quinoa? Yes.
Quinoa is a healthy grain for birds because iit is a protein-rich grain, having more than twice the protein of corn or rice. Cooked quinoa with fresh vegetables makes a delicious parrot meal.
Can parrots eat crackers? Not recommended.
Polly want a cracker? Well, the actual answer is sometimes. Crackers meant for human consumption are often laden with excessive salt/sodium which is fine for you or me but can be too much for a bird. Completely unsalted crackers can be offered as an occasional treat, but avoid the salted ones.
Can parrots eat rice? Yes.
Contrary to rumor, rice does not expand in a bird’s stomach and cause it harm. Your parrot can eat it but will enjoy fully cooked rice more. Brown rice is more nutritional and should be chosen over white rice.
Can parrots eat chia seeds? Yes.
Chia seeds are a healthy source of calcium and protein for your pet parrot and provide Omega-3 fatty acids. They can be fed sprinkled on your bird’s meal or incorporated into a baked product.
Can parrots eat flax seeds? Yes.
Flax seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial to your bird’s physical health and mental health. Eating the whole seed, rather than just the oil, provides even more benefits and should be encouraged.
Can parrots eat oatmeal? In moderation.
Larger parrots can have a spoon of well cooked, plain, and unsweetened oatmeal. Instant and fruit-flavored oatmeal should be avoided as it is usually high in sugars. Be sure to let it cool after cooking to avoid burning your parrot’s tongue. Like bread, oatmeal should be used as a treat and not as a staple to your bird’s diet.
Can parrots eat Cheerios? Not recommended.
You can share a few unsweetened Cheerios with your pet parrot but refrain from the honey-nut variety, or from any sweetened cereal for that matter. The levels of sugar found in most cereals are not healthy for your bird and should be avoided.
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What’s next?When at the pet shop, do you know which is the best parrot food to buy?
Check out our guide to the best parrot food to see our recommendations. See species specific food guides such as our parakeet food guide. Also, if you are cooking at home then ensure you use bird safe cookware.
In addition to the references within the article, we have also used some of the information in the links below which if you need further information, will be a good resource for you.