feeding parrots citrus fruits

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

Parrots enjoy a varied diet containing a wide range of new and exciting foods. Providing your parrot with a wide selection of different fruits prevents it from getting bored of eating the same thing every day.

Parrots can eat all types of citrus fruits, including oranges, clementines, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, and limes. They contain essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. They also have small traces of calcium and protein. Citrus fruits are high in antioxidants, which protect against free radical damage and age-related diseases.

While citrus fruits are healthy, they’re also high in sugar and acid. This means parrots can only have a few slices every month. Any more may cause mouth and stomach ulcers and digestive problems.

What Is a Citrus Fruit?

Citrus fruits are from the Rutaceae family, containing 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, making them a potential problem. This is the reason 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. Citrus fruits are sticky and messy for parrots to eat, so be on hand to clean your bird and cage up as soon as it’s finished eating. When feeding them to your parrot, you could:

  • 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 using string

Parrots enjoy tearing into citrus fruits, so every now and then, you can feed a small whole fruit to your parrot.

How Much Citrus Fruit Is Too Much for Birds?

Citrus fruits should only make up around 10% of your bird’s diet. Even then, you should incorporate less acidic fruits, such as bananas, blueberries, and coconut.

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

Try to 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. This will prevent your bird from overeating one type of fruit.

can parrots eat limes?

Is Citric Acid Safe for Birds?

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

  • Skin health
  • Digestion
  • Feather strength and coloration

One of the main benefits of citric acid is that it prevents kidney stones and breaks apart any that have started to form. It also helps parrots absorb and process calcium and other minerals, contributing towards strong, healthy bones.

However, citric acid goes hand in hand with acidic fruits, which aren’t healthy for your bird in large quantities.

Can Parrots Eat Lemons?

Despite their acidity, parrots can eat lemons in moderation. However, you must be strict with how much you feed your bird, or it’s at risk of painful mouth ulcers from the high acid levels. You can also provide your parrot with lemon juice, but you must dilute it in plenty of water beforehand.

Some parrots don’t like the sharp, tart taste of lemons and find them far too sour to enjoy. Lemons aren’t for all parrots, so switch to another, sweeter fruit if your bird refuses to eat them.

Can Parrots Eat Lemon Seeds?

Parrots can eat lemon seeds alongside the stringy flesh and the peel. Parrots get mental stimulation from picking the seeds from the fruit, so don’t remove the seeds from the slice and let your bird have some fun.

Are Lemons Good For Parrots?

Lemons have several health benefits. Because they’re so acidic, they help fight off alkaline infections, such as yeast infections. They also promote good gut bacteria to grow, enabling the body to fight off other nasty infections.

Lemons also provide more vitamin C than most other fruits. Vitamin C is vital for your parrot’s overall health and well-being because it:

  • Boosts the immune system and keeps it healthy
  • Enables the body to absorb iron
  • Ensures blood sugar levels are stable
  • It helps aid the development of muscles and bones
  • Keeps cholesterol levels stable
  • It prevents bad cells from forming

Similarly, lemon essential oils, while not edible, have positive effects on a parrot’s mood, helping to regulate hormones. Instead of throwing the lemon remnants away, mimic the effects of oils and dilute it in water, spraying it around your parrot to help boost its mood and emotions. When doing this, be careful not to spray the diluted lemon directly at your bird.

Are Lemons Bad for Parrots?

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

Also, make sure you only choose organic lemons. Fruit producers spray lemons with a thin layer of wax after harvesting them to protect the flesh and keep the fruits looking fresh. That’s also why you must wash the skin thoroughly with soapy water before feeding a lemon slice to your bird. 

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 a grapefruit are safe for parrots to eat. Not only is grapefruit healthy and delicious, but it provides parrots with mental stimulation to keep their minds active. Most birds enjoy tearing through the thick peel to get to the fruit inside, holding the fruit in its powerful claws.

You can also give parrots freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, as long as you dilute it first.

Is Grapefruit Good For Parrots

Despite its acidity, grapefruit is considered a superfood with a range of parrot health benefits. Grapefruit is an excellent source of:

  • Vitamins A, C, and B6, which all contribute to good health
  • Calcium, which produces strong, healthy bones
  • Magnesium, which helps the body absorb calcium
  • Potassium, which maintains blood pressure
  • Fiber, which keeps the digestive system healthy and regular
  • Antioxidants, which protect against free radical damage

Adding grapefruit as a regular feature in your parrot’s diet is an excellent way to provide it with nutrients it can’t get from other food sources.

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 cause problems. 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 giving it to your parrot.

While grapefruit contains natural sugar, too much causes oral bacteria to grow. If they spread through the digestive tract, your parrot’s at risk of developing health problems in 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 birds enjoy the sour taste. While it doesn’t hurt to introduce them to a lime, don’t be surprised if your parrot turns your nose up at it. When there are tastier fruits for parrots to eat, such as papaya and strawberries, your parrot is unlikely to eat anything it doesn’t enjoy.

That being said, limes provide several nutrients that parrots can’t get from other sources. Instead of giving your parrot a lime slice to eat, dilute a small amount into its water bowl so that it can get the full health benefits without the sharp taste.

Are Limes Good for Parrots

Overall, limes are good for parrots. They contain high levels of vitamin C, which is one of the most vital nutrients for parrots and can do wonders for their physical and mental health and wellbeing. It also helps fight off infections, speeding up the healing process in the event of an illness or injury.

Another thing limes are high in is antioxidants. Antioxidants lower the risk of age-related diseases, including:

  • Conditions caused by inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic diseases

Adding fruits that are rich in antioxidants, such as limes, to your parrot’s diet can improve its health and prevent harmful conditions from taking hold.

Are Limes Bad For Parrots

Limes are highly acidic. While humans can withstand acidic foods quite comfortably, parrots – especially small parrots – are far more sensitive to the effects. Similarly, if your parrot overeats lime, it’s more suspectable to yeast infections caused by digestive tract issues.

The peel is also problematic, as it’s likely to contain pesticides and other chemicals. Some parrots enjoy biting through lime 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. Even orange juice is a healthy option, although it’s better if you dilute it in water before feeding it to your parrot. Similarly, store-bought orange juice isn’t healthy. Parrots enjoy eating oranges because of the:

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

However, because oranges are so sweet, your parrot’s at risk of overeating them and becoming addicted to the taste.

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

Regularly feeding your parrot oranges helps prevent diseases and improve its health both in the long and short term.

is citrus fruit good for parrots?

Are Oranges Bad for Parrots

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

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

Oranges are also 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. The good news is that they’re safe for parrots to eat, as long as you wash them first.

Are Clementines Good For Parrots

Clementines contain several essential nutrients, including:

  • A small amount of protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Thiamine
  • Folate
  • Antioxidants

Thiamine is particularly vital to parrots. According to Science Daily, it helps the nerves function properly. Providing parrots with plenty of healthy fruits, such as clementines, keeps their thiamine levels topped up.

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. However, too much causes significant and rapid weight gain.

Clementines also go moldy quickly. While parrots enjoy tearing through the peel, always check the inside of the fruit to ensure it’s fresh.

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 and eating. Like other citrus fruits, tangerines are safe to eat when adequately prepared.

Are Tangerines Good For Parrots

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

  • Beta-carotene and 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:

  • The natural sugar content
  • The acidity
  • Pesticides and fertilizers

While tangerines aren’t unhealthy or toxic, these things can cause health and wellbeing problems for your parrot.

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 to try is the best way to keep its physical and mental health in peak condition. As long as you’re sensible and only provide your bird with a small selection of citrus fruits, it’ll benefit from them.