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can parrots eat bananas?

Can Parrots Eat Bananas (And Their Peels)?

Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Bananas are among the world’s most popular fruits, even among some bird species. Tropical fruits like bananas should occasionally be included in a parrot’s diet.

Bananas are good for parrots because they contain fiber, vitamins A, B6, and C, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Eating a few slices of banana can increase energy levels, improve eye health, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the long-term effects of aging.

Some parrots like unpeeled bananas because they enjoy the rubbery texture of the peel. If so, you must wash the skin thoroughly to remove contaminants and pesticides.

Bananas can be served fresh, frozen, and freeze-dried, albeit in moderation.

How Bananas Benefit Parrots

Bananas (Musa) grow in tropical climates across the globe, including Asia, South America, and Africa.

As parrots are native to these regions, African grays, macaws, ringnecks, Senegals, alexandrines, quakers, and Amazon parrots eat bananas when possible.

Bananas contain the following essential nutrients:

Fiber

A medium-sized banana contains 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams. The 0.4 grams of soluble fiber slows down a parrot’s digestive process, increasing feelings of satiety and reducing cholesterol levels.

The insoluble fiber (roughage) bulks up the stool, making it easier for a parrot to poop. Resistant starches are starch molecules the body can’t digest, so blood sugar levels are less likely to spike.

are bananas good for parrots?

Vitamin B6

A parrot’s body can’t create vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).

It’s a water-soluble vitamin that aids the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, turning them into energy. It also assists in the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters.

One medium-sized banana provides a parrot with 1.3 to 1.5 milligrams of vitamin B6, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

If a parrot is feeling sad or depressed, vitamin B6 consumption can be beneficial. Pyridoxine creates neurotransmitters that control and regulate birds’ emotions.

Vitamin C

There is 8.7 mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) per 100 grams of banana. The benefits of vitamin C include:

  • Immune system booster.
  • Iron absorption.
  • Wound healing.
  • Reactive oxidative species (ROS) and free radical removal.
  • Less inflammation, reducing the risk of diseases.
  • Improves skin health (collagen production).

Vitamin C can be produced by metabolizing glucose in the liver, so it’s non-essential for birds.

Vitamin A

A parrot that doesn’t get sufficient vitamin A is at risk of hypovitaminosis A.

A banana contains vitamin A, which is good for eye health, preventing cataracts and conjunctivitis.

Vitamin A assists with cell growth and regulation of the immune system. It’s also essential for preventing some respiratory problems, polyuria, polydipsia, and low feather quality.

Other fruits high in vitamin A include papaya, nectarines, and tangerines.

Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte that aids in regulating heart function, preventing stroke, and managing blood pressure. According to Harvard, one medium-ripe banana contains 450 mg of potassium.

Other good sources of potassium include oranges, apricots, and grapefruit.

Magnesium

There are 27 mg of magnesium in 100 grams of banana. Magnesium is essential for converting food into usable energy and creating protein from amino acids.

Other excellent sources of magnesium include kiwis, blackberries, and raspberries.

Tyrosine

Bananas contain some tyrosine. This amino acid enables the brain to produce norepinephrine, which benefits a parrot’s memory, alertness, and mental focus.

Alternative sources of tyrosine include jackfruit, goji berries, and elderberries.

Banana Peel

Banana peels are safe for parrots, and most of the nutrients in this fruit are condensed in the peel. Humans dislike the rubbery texture and bitter taste, but parrots sometimes like it.

Banana peels have high levels of antioxidants, including carotenoids and polyphenols. To maximize their antioxidant levels, feed them unripened peels.

Banana Leaves

Banana leaves can be served to parrots raw or cooked. Before eating them, a parrot will enjoy using banana leaves as a toy and source of enrichment.

You can find frozen or fresh banana leaves at most Asian markets. You can cut the leaves to size and give them to a parrot to play with as a toy.

Banana Chips

A banana’s meat is sometimes chopped up, frozen, dried, or dehydrated before consumption as bite-sized chips. This is a safe way to feed bananas to parrots.

Some store-bought banana chips contain added sugar or oil, which makes the chips tastier and more appealing but adds excess fat and calories.

Only feed a parrot organic banana chips that have no added ingredients. The best approach is to make banana chips for parrots by chopping fresh bananas into small chunks and freezing them.

Banana Bread

Most kinds of banana bread are unsafe for parrots because traditional recipes include:

  • Salt.
  • Sugar.
  • Oil.

This can disrupt a parrot’s digestive system, lead to weight gain, and adversely affect heart health.

Banana bread is a fattening treat that should be fed to parrots in moderation. The added flour will increase the calories the parrot won’t expend.

feeding parrots bananas

How To Feed Parrots Bananas

Fresh, cooked, or frozen bananas are a healthy treat. Even still, parrots can be picky about new foods.

Organic Bananas

Whether feeding a parrot peeled bananas or their skins, choose organic produce.

Bananas are sprayed with pesticides to kill bugs and pests. You can find organic bananas at farmers’ markets or health food stores. Even organic types should be washed before serving.

Whole Bananas

Parrots take bananas off trees and rip them apart with their beaks, so they’ll likely prefer raw bananas. Feeding some banana to a parrot with the peel on will be a good source of nutrients.

Cooked Banana

A parrot may prefer crunchy food over rubbery textures. In that case, you can:

  1. Slice the banana meat into chips.
  2. Cut up the peel into strips.
  3. Place both in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Let them cool and offer them to the parrot.

This will harden up the texture of the banana, sharpen its flavor, and strengthen the fruity aroma. Unfortunately, it’ll remove its water content, so it’ll no longer be a source of hydration.

Boil The Peels

A parrot may dislike the rubbery texture of the skin. You can soften it with boiling water until it grows accustomed to this new food. Don’t add salt or oil to the mix because they’re unhealthy.

Amount of Banana Parrots Can Eat

Every 100 g of banana contains 12 g of naturally occurring sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose, and maltose). Bananas are a sugary fruit and should be fed to parrots sparingly.

If you feed a parrot green or unripened banana, it’ll be ingesting resistant starch. This won’t increase the parrot’s blood sugar levels, giving it more balanced and sustainable energy.

A small unpeeled banana once a week (ripe or unripe) can give a parrot a health boost.