13 Things That Parrots Should Never Eat

  • Time to read: 9 min.

You may wonder if your pet parrots can consume the same food you eat daily. Well, before we continue with that matter, it is better to keep in mind that parrots are high-maintenance and highly social eaters. In other words, parrots should follow strict and careful management and diet. 

Although it is essential to present a variety of food groups on your parrot’s diet, these foods are not suitable or may be very harmful to them:

  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Fruits seeds and fruit pits
  • Salt
  • Eggplant
  • Onions 
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Raw rhubarb 
  • Mushroom
  • Fat 
  • Vegetable leaves
  • Alcohol

Parrots are susceptible to diseases and illnesses that can lead to severe complications. While it’s true that some human foods are suitable for parrots, and they can eat these, it’s crucial information to identify toxic and harmful foods that may risk your parrot’s health. Aside from that, talking to your avian veterinarian helps determine the best and quality portions your parrot can eat daily. 

Everyday Foods That Are Harmful To Parrots 

Parrots are a high-maintenance species of birds. Their sensitivity to their environment and food intake manifests in their physical appearance or emotional well-being.  

Among the list of the top toxic and harmful foods or drinks for your parrot are common foods that we ingest daily, which may include:

  • Salt
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate

These are the common foods that can risk your parrot’s health, and there are more aside from the list. So, all in all, monitoring your parrot’s food consumption is a big deal in sustaining their healthy and active lifestyle. It is vital to be aware of dangerous and harmful food if you want your parrots to live longer. 

Foods To Avoid That Can Kill A Parrot

There are bad foods, and there are also toxic foods. More often than not, determining the harmful foods that can kill your parrot gradually and instantly is crucial. In the blog from All About Parrots, Carrie dinned the toxic foods in the article. Here are the types of food that you should avoid feeding to your parrots: (source)

  1. Chocolate

Although this sumptuous dessert is a staple snack from time to time, this guilty pleasure is life-threatening to parrots. It is because chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine and caffeine have stimulant effects that may be beneficial for humans but toxic for birds. (source)

Theobromine And Caffeine Can: 

  • Stimulate the nervous system
  • Stimulate the heart
  • Increases the chances of shedding excess body fluids

It is toxic for parrots because: 

  • Birds can’t metabolize these stimulants
  • It builds up in your parrot’s blood
  • It harms the heart, kidneys, and nervous system

It’s better to be safe than sorry! So, no matter how much your parrots want a taste of this delectable and satisfying brick, do not give in to those cuddly coos and shrieks. Even the smallest piece of chocolate is still harmful and can result in devastating death. 

  1. Avocado

This savory fruit that is enjoyed by many is deadly for our winged buddies. Even though some birds have consumed this fruit, it’s better to avoid giving your parrots avocado, especially in huge portions. The main reason why avocado is unsafe is its Persin. Generally, all the parts of an avocado contain an organic and oil-soluble fungicide called persin. (source)

In this case, you should not feed any small amount of the avocado to parrots. If so, these possible signs may manifest:

  • Unable to perch
  • Liver and kidney failure
  • Develops respiratory illnesses
  • Excessive fluid buildup around the heart and lungs

To sum it all up, keep avocados away from your cackling parrots’ beaks reach. 

  1. Fruit Seeds

Apple seeds, cherry, plums, peaches, pears, apricots, and nectarine pits are fatal for your parrots. These seeds and pits include a high level of cyanide, and too much cyanide can lead to your parrot’s death. As humans, cyanide can be deadly when taken in a considerable amount and regularly. At the same time, parrots are easily susceptible to this compound which commonly leads to a quick death. (source)

As mentioned, parrots are social eaters, and if given a chance to chew a seed or pit, they will seize this opportunity. Hence, keep seeds and pits away from your gliding parrots. Putting caution aside, here are the symptoms and effects when a parrot consumes seeds and pits. 

Symptoms And Effect Of Fruit Seeds On Parrots

  • Brain damage
  • Digestive issues 
  • Seizures
  • Falling blood pressure
  • Aches and pains
  • Premature death

Remember that your parrots digest the more, and the larger seeds and pits, the more it is likely for your parrots to experience the symptoms mentioned above. That’s why before feeding your parrots fruit seeds and pits, better check if these seeds and pits are safe. But to a greater extent, don’t feed them fruit seeds and pits. Ask your trusted vet for the best fruit source and seeds that you can use for feeding. 

  1. Eggplant

While it’s true that eggplants are safe for parrots to eat, serving these vegetables as a daily food can lead to gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Mainly because of the solanine compound. Solanine is an alkaloid found in nightshade plants. Giving your parrots large quantities or immoderate amounts of solanine found in eggplants can yield fatal results. 

Prevent your parrots from consuming the stem, leaves, and sprouts, as these will result in lethal illnesses and conditions. (source)

Lethal Conditions Eggplants May Cause 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Labored breathing
  • Limited to no urine production
  • Paralysis and seizures

In moderation, serving eggplants provides beneficial nutrients to your parrots. However, when feeding eggplants, remember that there are methods or ways to serve eggplants in your parrot’s diet properly. 

  1. Salt 

A pinch of salt is not bad. Honestly, it gives a little bit of taste to any meal. It has been a staple condiment in every household, and everyone loves salt on every meal or snack. On the other hand, extreme dashes of salt yield adverse health problems for humans and parrots. Thus, too many salts are potentially toxic to birds.  

A great serving of salt upsets your parrot’s electrolytes and fluid balances. It will lead to intense thirst, dehydration, kidney failure, and death. For this reason, never feed your parrots salty foods and snacks.  

  1. Onions 
Onions

Even though onions are a well-known vegetable to include in any meal, this piece of vegetable is very toxic to your parrots. So, this is not suitable food for your talkative pets. Onions contain sulfur that, when ingested by any animal, more importantly, your parrots, irritates the parrot’s mouth, esophagus, or crops. In this instance, it eventually causes ulcers and anemia. 

Even a tiny piece of onion or an amount given in any form is already dangerous for your parrot. Too much of it will kill your parrot instantly. So, don’t leave those onions on the counter and keep them away at a reach. If, by any chance, your parrot consumed an onion. Then it’s best to consult an avian vet urgently. 

  1. Garlic

Just like onions, garlic is also toxic for your parrot. The dangers of garlic are its compounds like alliin and alliinase. You can find these compounds on the garlic’s separate cell wall. Once you slice the garlic, two of these compounds are mixed. Thus, resulting in allicin. 

The pungent odor that garlic oozes is the allicin. For humans, this composite is not necessarily harmful. But, for parrots, ingesting this can cause anemia and quick gradual weakness in birds. To summarize, don’t allow your birds to snatch this condiment, whether cooked or raw. 

  1. Tomatoes

Is it a fruit or vegetable? Even if this fruit is not the usual ingredient when making a fruit salad, this is among the essential vegetables in green salads. The reason is that tomatoes are good sources of vitamins and nutrients. However, these red fruits can be dangerous to a parrot, especially if the stems and leaves are on the plate. 

Similar to eggplants, tomatoes belong to the nightshade family and are toxic when exactly. Tomatoes are essentially acidic. Therefore, more ingestion of tomatoes, unfortunately, causes ulcers in parrots. It is why tomatoes are unsafe for your feathery friends. 

Indeed, owners should serve a variety of fruits to parrots to absorb essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. But that doesn’t mean all fruits like tomatoes are suitable for your winged companion. 

  1. Raw Rhubarb

Oxalic acid is amongst the composites in raw rhubarbs. This substance is poisonous to your parrots. For obvious reasons, many parrot owners always recommend avoiding including raw rhubarbs. Many experts consider this acid an “anti-nutrient” since it oxalates and reduce the chances of the body absorbing nutrients and minerals. 

In some cases, when your parrots unintentionally consume raw rhubarbs, this can cause kidney stone formation, making it difficult for your parrot to produce or release urine. 

  1. Mushrooms 

Everyone enjoys buttons of mushrooms on their meals or perhaps salads. These earthy-taste ingredients help in amplifying any meals or snacks. Be that as it may, these mushrooms may upset your parrot’s digestive system and cause liver failure since it contains fungi. These fungi are harmful to your friends. 

Aside from digestive and liver issues, raw mushrooms have more amatoxin than cooked mushrooms. Higher exposure or ingestion of raw mushrooms triggers neurological damage and muscle pains. Specifically, never feed your parrots raw or cooked Shiitake mushrooms or any mushrooms if these mushrooms are not farm-produced. 

  1. Fat

Parrots are active birds and somewhat need an average amount of healthy fat. On another note, consumption of high-fat foods found in fatty meats, nuts, or butter results in high cholesterol buildups. Too many fats cause heart diseases and potentially a stroke. More so, high fats in a parrot’s meal can lead to obesity. 

Particular birds are vulnerable to fats, more specifically manifest in Amazon and Quaker parrots. Regardless, it’s significantly crucial to serving moderate food to parrots. An occasional portion of nuts and fatty meals is not an issue. If you want your parrot to be active, limit fat consumption. 

  1. Vegetable Leaves

It’s tempting to feed your feathered friends with vegetable leaves. Before you do that, note that vegetable leaves like tomatoes, potatoes, and other vegetables are risky and harmful to your parrots. Feasibly speaking, it is best to only feed your parrot with the actual and organic fruits or vegetables.  

  1. Alcohol 

Alcohol may be an enjoyable drink for humans and the basic drink at a party. For obvious reasons, alcoholic beverages, even in small parts, cause harmful effects like confusion, nausea, and increased heart rate to your parrots. Unlike humans, parrots cannot flush out the toxins found in the alcohol due to their tiny bodies. So, don’t let your parrot reach for this drink. Fresh water is the best way to quench their thirst. 

We know how much you love your parrots, and we understand your anxieties about providing the best meals to your feathered buddy. In a nutshell, refrain from giving your birds human foods and instead serve them bird-based meals or diet. Make sure to contact your veterinarian and consult the best quality feeds for your parrots. In this sense, you will not have to worry about whether your parrot is eating healthy. 

Foods To Give To Your Parrot

Now that all the danger had its proper explanation, it’s now best to talk about the best healthy food servings or plates you can give to your parrots. Here are the best servings or portions you can feed your parrots. 

  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Mango
  • Pineapple

It’s safe to say that serving these fruits helps maintain your parrot’s health at a good par. These fruits are beneficial for your parrots and are also high in natural sugar. So, ensure to serve this in a moderate portion to avoid any potential complications or illnesses. 

Summary

To maintain your parrot’s complete health, always avoid feeding your parrots with foods you usually eat. Some foods and beverages are toxic and poisonous to your parrot’s health since these birds don’t have the same body functions that we have. 

  1. Stephens, Carrie. “27 Foods That Parrots Should NOT Eat (And Why!) — All About Parrots.” All About Parrots, www.allaboutparrots.com, 20 Sept. 2021
  2. Stephens, Carrie. “27 Foods That Parrots Should NOT Eat (And Why!) — All About Parrots.” All About Parrots, www.allaboutparrots.com, 20 Sept. 2021,
  3. Avocado Toxicity. www.animalhealingcenter.net, Accessed 12 June 2022.
  4. Cyanide.” Cyanide, pubs.er.usgs.gov, January 1, 1999
  5. Solanine – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.” Solanine – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, www.sciencedirect.com, Accessed June 12, 2022.