feeding parrots citrus fruits

Can Parrots Eat Citrus Fruit? (Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit + Oranges)

Parrots enjoy a varied, nutritious diet. Providing your parrot with a wide selection of different fruits prevents them from getting bored of eating the same food every day.

Parrots can eat citrus fruits (oranges, clementines, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, and limes.) They contain essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants, which protect birds from free radical damage and age-related diseases.

While citrus fruits are healthy, they’re high in sugar and acid. This means parrots can only have a couple of slices every few days. Any more may result in weight gain, stomach ulcers, and digestive problems.

What Is a Citrus Fruit?

Citrus fruits are from the Rutaceae family and have strongly scented flowering plants. The genus citrus contains:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Lemons
  • Limes

The plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Island Southeast Asia, and northeastern Australia, where many parrot species live. This means that citrus fruits are a common part of a wild parrot’s diet.

Can Parrots Have Citrus Fruits?

Citrus fruits are safe for parrots to eat. However, compared to other fruits, they’re more acidic. That’s why parrots can only eat a small amount of citrus fruit each month.

Citrus fruits contain nutrients that parrots don’t get from other food sources. They’re messy for parrots to eat, so be on hand to clean your parrot and cage up as soon as it’s finished eating. When feeding citrus fruit to your parrot, you can:

  • Put a couple of slices in a shallow dish for the parrot to pick out
  • Juice them into water
  • Hang a few pieces on your parrot’s cage with string

Parrots enjoy tearing into citrus fruits.

How Much Citrus Fruit Is Too Much for Birds?

Citrus fruits should only make up a small percentage of your parrot’s diet. Even then, you should incorporate less acidic fruits, such as bananas, kiwi, and coconut. Here’s a basic guide:

  • Oranges, clementines, and tangerines: 1 slice every 2 days
  • Lemon and lime: 1 slice per week
  • Grapefruit: 1 slice every 4-5 days

Mix your parrot’s fruit intake up every week. For example, if you feed your parrot a slice of lemon one week, feed it a slice of lime the next.

can parrots eat limes?

Is Citric Acid Safe for Birds?

Citric acid naturally occurs in sour fruits, especially lemons and limes, giving them their tart taste. It has several benefits and can improve a parrot’s:

Citric acid prevents kidney stones and breaks apart any that have started to form. It also enables parrots to absorb and process calcium and other minerals, contributing towards strong, healthy bones.

Can Parrots Eat Lemons?

Despite their acidity, parrots can eat lemon in moderation. However, some parrots dislike the sharp, tart taste.

You need to be strict with how much you feed your parrot, or it’s at risk of mouth ulcers due to the high acid levels. You can provide your parrot with lemon juice, but you must dilute it in water.

Parrots can benefit from eating lemon seeds. They’ll also get mental stimulation from picking out the seeds.

Are Lemons Good For Parrots?

Because they’re so acidic, lemon fights off alkaline infections, such as yeast infections. They also cause good gut bacteria to grow, enabling the body to fight off other infections.

Lemon provides more vitamin C than most fruits. Vitamin C is vital for your parrot’s overall health because it:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Enables the body to absorb iron
  • Ensures blood sugar levels are stable
  • It aids the development of muscles and bones
  • Keeps cholesterol levels stable

Similarly, lemon essential oils, while not edible, have positive effects on a parrot’s mood, regulating hormones.

Instead of throwing the lemon remnants away, mimic the effects of oils and dilute them in water, spraying it around your parrot to improve its mood.

Are Lemons Bad for Parrots?

The acidity is cause for concern. While small amounts of lemon won’t cause too much harm, prolonged consumption is unhealthy. Lemons are high in sugar, which can lead to weight gain.

Ensure that you only choose organic lemons. After harvesting, fruit producers spray lemons with a thin layer of wax to protect the flesh and keep the fruit looking fresh.

Lemon Nutritional Information

One slice of lemon (8 g) contains the following nutrients:

Nutritional ContentAmount Per Serving
Calories2.32 calories
Protein0.088 g
Fat0.024 g
Carbohydrates0.746 g
Fiber0.224 g
Sugars0.2 g
Calcium2.08 mg
Iron0.048 mg
Magnesium0.64 mg
Phosphorus1.28 mg
Potassium11 mg
Zinc0.005 mg
Vitamin C4.24 mg
Vitamin A0.08 µg
Vitamin B-60.006 mg
Folate0.88 µg

Can Parrots Eat Grapefruit?

All parts of the grapefruit are safe for parrots to eat.

Not only is grapefruit healthy and delicious, but it provides parrots with mental stimulation. Most parrots enjoy tearing through the thick peel to get to the fruit inside.

You can also offer your parrot freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, as long as you dilute it first.

Is Grapefruit Good For Parrots

Despite its acidity, grapefruit is a superfood. Grapefruit is a good source of:

  • Vitamins A, C, and B6, which all contribute to excellent overall health
  • Calcium, which produces strong, healthy bones
  • Magnesium, which enables the body to absorb calcium
  • Potassium, which maintains blood pressure
  • Fiber, which keeps the digestive system healthy and regular
  • Antioxidants, which protect against free radical damage
can parrots have grapefruit?

Is Grapefruit Bad for Parrots

Grapefruit isn’t toxic or dangerous for parrots, but like all citrus fruits, too much can be problematic.

For starters, it’s highly acidic. In excess, grapefruit acid causes stomach and mouth ulcers. Grapefruit’s also commonly grown with pesticides, so you must scrub the skin before offering it to your parrot.

While grapefruit contains natural sugar, too much causes oral bacteria to multiply. If they spread through the digestive tract, your parrot’s at risk of developing problems with the gut.

Grapefruit Nutritional Information

One slice of grapefruit (25 g) contains the following nutrients:

Nutritional ContentAmount Per Serving
Calories10.5 calories
Protein0.193 g
Fat0.035 g
Carbohydrates2.66 g
Fiber0.4 g
Sugars1.72 g
Calcium5.5 mg
Iron0.02 mg
Magnesium2.25 mg
Phosphorus4.5 mg
Potassium33.8 mg
Zinc0.018 mg
Vitamin C7.8 mg
Vitamin A14.5 µg
Vitamin B-60.013 mg
Folate3.25 µg

Can Parrots Eat Limes?

Limes are safe for parrots to eat, but like lemons, not all parrots enjoy the sour taste.

When there are tastier fruits for parrots to eat, such as papaya and strawberries, your parrot may not want to eat anything it doesn’t enjoy.

Limes provide several nutrients that parrots can’t get from other sources. Instead of giving your parrot a slice of lime to eat, dilute a small amount of lime into its water bowl.

Are Limes Good for Parrots

Limes are good for parrots as they contain high levels of vitamin C. It helps fight off infection, speeding up the healing process in the event of an illness or injury. Limes contain antioxidants, which lower the risk of age-related diseases.

Adding fruits that are rich in antioxidants, such as limes, to your parrot’s diet is recommended.

Are Limes Bad For Parrots

Limes are highly acidic, and some parrots are sensitive to the effects of acidity. Also, if your parrot overeats lime, it’s more suspectable to yeast infections caused by digestive tract issues.

The peel of the lime can be problematic, as it’s likely to contain pesticides and other chemicals. Some parrots enjoy biting through the lime’s peel, but you must wash it first.

Limes Nutritional Information

A slice of lime (8 g) contains the following nutrients:

Nutritional ContentAmount Per Serving
Calories7.06 calories
Protein0.056 g
Fat0.016 g
Carbohydrates0.843 g
Fiber0.224 g
Sugars0.135 g
Calcium2.64 mg
Iron0.048 mg
Magnesium0.48 mg
Phosphorus1.44 mg
Potassium8.16 mg
Zinc0.009 mg
Vitamin C2.33 mg
Vitamin A0.16 µg
Vitamin B-60.003 mg
Folate0.64 µg

Can Parrots Eat Oranges?

Oranges are good for parrots. They can eat all parts of an orange, including the flesh, seeds, and peel.

Orange juice is a healthy option, although it’s better to dilute it in water before offering any to your parrot. Most store-bought orange juice is unhealthy due to sugars and additives.

Parrots enjoy eating oranges due to the:

  • Rough, textured skin
  • Stringy inner flesh
  • Juicy nature
  • Seeds
  • Sweet flavor

Are Oranges Good for Parrots

According to Nutrition Research, oranges are a good source of fiber, which can decrease your parrot’s blood cholesterol levels. Oranges also contain:

  • Flavonoids, which improves and regulates blood flow and pressure
  • Antioxidants, which lowers the risk of age-related diseases
  • Carotenoids and vitamin A, boosting energy levels
  • Vitamin C, which fights off infections
is citrus fruit good for parrots?

Are Oranges Bad for Parrots

Oranges don’t contain any harmful toxins or compounds that can negatively affect your parrot’s health.

While oranges aren’t bad for parrots, they contain natural sugars. Too much sugar can make your parrot obese, contributing to weight-related health conditions such as arthritis and fatty liver disease.

Oranges are very acidic. If you feed your parrot too much, it’s at risk of developing painful mouth and stomach ulcers. That’s why you must restrict your parrot’s orange intake to a couple of slices a week.

Oranges Nutritional Information

A slice of orange weighing 15 grams contains the following nutrients:

Nutritional ContentAmount Per Serving
Calories7.05 calories
Protein0.41 g
Fat0.018 g
Carbohydrates1.76 g
Fiber0.36 g
Sugars1.4 g
Calcium6 mg
Iron0.015 mg
Magnesium1.5 mg
Phosphorus2.1 mg
Potassium27.2 mg
Zinc0.011 mg
Vitamin C7.98 mg
Vitamin A1.65 µg
Folate4.5 µg

Can Parrots Eat Clementines?

Clementines look like oranges, but they’re smaller and sweeter with thinner skin. Smaller parrots, in particular, enjoy clementines more than oranges because they’re tastier and easier to hold and chew through.

However, clementines are seedless, so parrots miss out on the fun of picking out the seeds.

Are Clementines Good For Parrots

Clementines contain several essential nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamine
  • Folate
  • Antioxidants

Thiamine is vital to parrots. According to Science Daily, it helps the nerves function properly.

Are Clementines Bad for Parrots

As mentioned, clementines contain higher levels of natural sugars than other citrus fruits. As it’s the healthy kind, it’s not as bad for parrots as refined sugar. Also, clementines go moldy quickly.

Clementines Nutritional Information

One clementine slice (8 g) contains the following nutrients:

Nutritional ContentAmount Per Serving
Calories4.24 calories
Protein0.065 g
Fat0.025 g
Carbohydrates1.07 g
Fiber0.144 g
Sugars0.846 g
Calcium2.96 mg
Iron0.012 mg
Magnesium0.96 mg
Phosphorus1.6 mg
Potassium13.3 mg
Zinc0.006 mg
Vitamin C2.14 mg
Vitamin A2.72 µg
Folate1.28 µg

Can Parrots Eat Tangerines?

Tangerines are similar to oranges and clementines. They’re smaller and sweeter than oranges, but they’re slightly more tart than clementines. They also have soft, pebbly skin that parrots can easily peel.

Tangerines often have seeds, which some parrots enjoy picking out and eating.

Are Tangerines Good For Parrots

Tangerines contain as many nutrients and vitamins as oranges and clementines, including:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Beta-cryptoxanthin
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin C
  • Soluble fiber

Smaller parrots find tangerines easier and more enjoyable to eat, as they’re easy to hold onto. They’ll also peel the skin for mental enrichment, keeping their cognitive function and mood regulated.

Are Tangerines Bad For Parrots

As with all citrus fruits, watch out for:

  • Natural sugars
  • Acidity
  • Pesticides and fertilizers

Tangerines Nutritional Information

A slice of tangerine (12 g) contains the following nutrients:

Nutritional ContentAmount Per Serving
Calories5.83 calories
Protein0.089 g
Fat0.034 g
Carbohydrates1.47 g
Fiber0.198 g
Sugars0.16 g
Calcium4.07 mg
Iron0.017 mg
Magnesium1.32 mg
Phosphorus2.2 mg
Potassium18.3 mg
Zinc0.008 mg
Vitamin C2.94 mg
Vitamin A3.74 µg
Folate1.76 µg

Providing your parrot with new fruits each day can keep it healthy. As long as you only provide your parrot with a small selection of citrus fruits due to the acidity, it’ll benefit from their consumption considerably.