Healthy Diet for Parrots

Parrots’ diet shapes their behavior and health, impacting their lifespan and appearance. Did you ever wonder what cockatoos eat? What is their diet when they are living in the wild and when they are living in captivity?

Parrots eat seeds, vegetables, nuts, meat, and seafood. Their favorite foods are apples, cucumber, blueberries, sunflower seeds, spinach, almonds, wet bread, and shrimp.

What Fruits Can Parrots Eat?

Among all the foods they can eat, fruits are their favorite. They eat a variety of fruits, which gives them nourishment. Let’s talk about which fruits are safe for cockatoos.


One of their favorites is blueberries. The color, juicy structure, and taste, everything makes them appealing. Blueberries improve their eyesight and growth.


Since grapes are soft and juicy, they are one of cockatoos’ favorite fruits. Grapes prolong their lifespan and maintain their blood pressure.


Cockatoos like apples. Apples contain many nutrients that are essential for their health. But apple seeds are not suitable for the,


Cucumbers and their seeds are edible for them. Moreover, cucumbers improve wound healing and keep them hydrated, so they should be served often.


Like all berries, they like strawberries. They contain minerals and vitamins essential for brain cells’ proper functioning. The only problem with strawberries is that they are lovely and should only be served sometimes.


Just like us, mangoes excite parrots as well. Mangoes are enriched with essential nutrients that help reduce self-destructive behaviors like feather plucking.


Oranges contain vitamin C, an excellent remedy for cardiovascular and intestinal problems. Moreover, parrots like to eat the pulp of oranges as it is fibrous and juicy.


Bananas contain tryptophan, which helps keep parrots happy. Almost all parts of bananas, including the peel and their leaves, are edible.


They can eat pineapples too, but since they are too sweet, they are good only in moderate quantity. Moreover, canned pineapples should never be served as they contain harmful additives. Overall, fresh pineapples improve their immunity against fungal infections.


Among all the fruits they like, pomegranate is one of the most nutritious. It keeps their skin and feathers healthy. It also fights against their urge to pluck feathers.


Parrots are very active birds, which is why they constantly need energy and water. They naturally like to eat seeds that are nutritious but not watery. Watermelon, a very juicy fruit, provides them nutrition and hydration. It keeps their heart and lungs healthy.


Tomatoes help fight against stomach aches and ulcers, so they should be fed to cockatoos. But fresh tomatoes are not healthy; you can feed them dried and cooked tomatoes.


Kiwi helps maintain their blood sugar level. It is also suitable for digestion. Cockatoo breeders recommend serving Kiwi with other fruits.


The best thing about pumpkin is that cockatoos can eat all parts of it. Pumpkin contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which regulate blood pressure.


Cantaloupes are also a type of melon, which is why they carry benefits similar to pumpkins. Cantaloupe also strengthens their immunity and regulates sugar levels.


They can eat zucchini, and it is good for their digestion. However, it is not recommended to be served a lot as it contains cucurbitacin, a toxic compound that can cause diarrhea.

What Vegetables Can Parrots Eat?

Just like fruits, they eat a variety of vegetables. You should always add chunks of different vegetables to their diet. Let’s talk about which vegetables are good for them.


Whether celery is healthy for them or not depends on how it is served. Raw celery can cause intestinal issues, but its juice is healthy which could be mix with other fruits and vegetables and serve it to your cockatoos.


Potatoes contain amino acids that are essential for their growth and good health. Potatoes can be served in raw form, but I have noticed they like baked and mashed potatoes more.


Carrots are beneficial for their bones. It also reduces the risk of diseases and improves bowel movement. Carrots have several other benefits that make them an excellent treat for parrots.


Always add leafy vegetables to your parrot diet; it keeps them healthy. Spinach is one of the best leafy vegetables for them. It boosts their immunity.


Just like spinach, mint is also a leafy vegetable. It is perfect for improving their digestion and keeping them healthy.

What Nuts and Dry Fruits Can Parrots Eat?

They love nuts; they eat various kinds of nuts, especially:


Protein is a vital part of the parrot diet, and almonds are an excellent source of protein for them. Both raw and roasted almonds are good for them, but bitter almonds can be toxic. Always taste the almonds before feeding them.


Pistachios are also rich in protein and vitamins. It improves their growth and keeps them healthy. Despite being good, pistachios should not be served excessively, which can disturb their stomach.


Peanuts are as nutritious as walnuts and almonds, yet less expensive. This is why parrot keepers always add peanuts to their diet. The best way to serve peanuts is to mix them in their seeds. Eating too many peanuts can cause obesity in parrots, so ensure you don’t feed your parrots too many peanuts.


Walnuts contain many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. They can help overcome deficiencies in parrots. Walnuts also help regulate their emotional stress.


Raisins protect them from cancer and eye problems. However, the serving of raisins must be limited as they have a high sugar content.

What Grains and Seeds Can Parrots Eat?

Seeds constitute a major portion of their diet in the wild and captivity. Some of their favorite seeds are:


Small breeds like Galah and Gang Gang like to eat millet. It is suitable for their regular diet, but it shouldn’t be served alone; always serve millet mixed with other seeds.


They like to chew corn grains and eat cornsticks. Corn benefits the heart and fulfills their protein requirement. It is recommended to feed them boiled Corn, which is soft and easy to chew.


Since they are active birds, they constantly need energy. Wheat is rich in protein and dietary fiber, which benefits the digestive system.


Barley also contains dietary fiber and protein. It is suitable for their heart and overall growth.


Rice protects them against arthritis and diabetes. Moreover, it helps their body regulate temperature.

Sunflower seeds

Parrots love large sunflower seeds that they can hold in their toes and chew. Sunflower seeds help regulate their cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Pumpkin seeds

Since pumpkin seeds are medium-sized, both large and small parrots enjoy them. Moreover, pumpkin seeds are healthy for brain, muscle, and bone growth.

Can Parrots Eat Meat and Chicken?

Parrots are omnivores, which means they can eat meat and chicken. Meat and chicken are protein-rich, which is good for parrot health. However, they usually rely on only seeds and fruits and do not hunt other birds or animals for meat.

Can Parrots Eat Seafood?

Seafood is not a part of their natural diet in the wild, but if fed in captivity, they like to eat it.


As I just mentioned, parrots can eat meat; they can also eat fish. They usually do not like to eat raw fish, but you can feed them boiled and baked fish. As it contains protein, it is suitable for parrot health.


Many parrot breeders feed shrimps to parrots during the breeding season and when their babies are growing. Shrimps are also rich in protein and are also suitable for parrot growth. Moreover, shrimps contain essential minerals that prevent chronic diseases and keep parrots healthy.


Crabs also contain protein and omega-3 fatty acids essential for parrots.


Like other seafood, scallops are also rich in protein and nutritious for cockatoos.

Which Human Foods Parrots Can Eat?

Besides their natural diet, they want a bit of whatever they see us eating. You can also feed them:

Wet Bread

Wet bread is suitable for their growth as it is soft, easily digestible, and contains protein. But bread could be more nutritious. I have noticed that feeding them wet bread during breeding season helps them with their protein requirement.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is also rich in protein, fats, and minerals like peanuts. You can feed them peanut butter but in small quantities,

Boiled rice

Boiled rice is also safe and healthy for parrots. Baby parrots enjoy boiled rice more than dry rice grains.

Which Foods Are Unhealthy for Parrots?

Regarding the parrot diet, you need to know what not to feed a parrot. As discussed, many foods are edible and good for us but deadly for them. Following foods should never be fed to them.


Anything too sweet is not suitable for cockatoos. As chocolates contain excessive sugar, they are unhealthy for them. Only a few grams of chocolate is enough to kill a parrot.

Dry Bread

Although wet bread is edible and suitable for parrots, dry bread could be better. This is because dry bread expands in the stomach and, causes problems, and can also choke them.


Parrots are lactose-intolerant, meaning they cannot eat dairy products like cheese. It can cause severe digestion problems.


Onions have certain benefits but are toxic for parrots as they can cause anemia and irritation. It is not recommended to add onions to your parrot’s diet.


Garlic can cause ulcers, vomiting, and weakness in parrots.


Avocadoes are highly toxic for parrots; they can cause heart and liver problems and can also cause death.


Caffeine can cause hyperactivity and cardiac arrest in cockatoos. It is not recommended to feed caffeine or any product that contains it.


Fat is high in calories; it can cause obesity in parrots, leading to cancer and heart problems.


Salt can cause an imbalance of minerals and electrolytes in the body. It also causes dehydration and kidney problems.

How Much Does a Parrot Eat Everyday?

A parrot eats food that weighs almost one-fourth of its body weight. For example, if your cockatoo weighs 635 grams, it will eat 158 grams of the food.

The Difference in Wild And Captive Parrots’ Diet

The diet of parrots varies according to the environment. Wild parrots usually live in tropical forests and have access to fruits and nuts that grow in the area. They only sometimes have access to food and must try to find food. Captive parrots do not have to make any effort to find food; they are well-fed and serve various foods.

Another difference is their energy and protein requirement; wild cockatoos are far more active than captive parrots. On the other hand, captive parrots can suffer from obesity if they do not fly much and consume more than they need. So it would help if you always fed them a balanced diet.

Balanced Diet for Parrots

The best diet for parrots is a variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. They should be served in proper proportion.

  • Seeds and nuts constitute only 10-20% of the parrot diet. As seeds are oily, they have much fat, which is unsuitable if fed in excessive quantities.
  • Fruits and vegetables constitute up to 80-90% of a parrot’s diet.

It is recommended to add grit to their diet, it helps overcome the deficiency of essential minerals.

What Do Newborn and Young Parrots Eat?

During the first 60 days, babies are fed by the parent birds. The mother bird regurgitates the food and feeds it to the babies. If you are raising a baby cockatoo alone, you can feed it parrot baby food like Kaytee with a parrot baby feeder. They must be hand-fed for almost 90 days until they start eating independently.

Once they start self-feeding, they enjoy eating a variety of foods. The diet of baby parrots is no different from that of an adult parrot, except baby parrots have fragile beaks and are not able to crack hard nuts, so they prefer only soft food like tiny seeds, leafy vegetables, and easy-to-chew fruits.

error: Content is protected !!