Peppers are a spicy fruit that’s enjoyed in many dishes. Since birds need a varied diet that includes fruit, you may be tempted to share peppers with your parrot. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and carbs. The problem is, it’s also very spicy. You may be worried about upsetting your parrot’s digestion.
Peppers are safe for parrots to eat. Birds are not able to taste capsaicin. Because of this, parrots won’t be harmed no matter where the peppers sit on the Scoville chart. Ghost peppers, habaneros, or banana peppers, and bell peppers will be tasty and filling. Red, yellow, green, and orange peppers can be served cooked or raw.
By eating peppers, your parrot will enjoy a boost to its health. These fruits are low in calories, but high in carbs, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and fiber. They also contain iron, folate, and potassium. This ensures your parrot will have improved bone health, a stronger immune system, and brighter feathers. Just feed peppers sparingly, as they do contain sugar.
Why Do Parrots Like Hot Peppers?
Parrots like peppers of every kind, whether they’re mild or intensely spicy. That’s because these fruits:
- Are a great source of fiber and vitamins
- Have natural sugars
- Have a rubbery texture that parrots like to tear through
- Aren’t actually hot to parrots
In fact, the heat won’t bother your parrot’s tongue, mouth, or stomach at all. That’s because parrots do not taste the heat in peppers the same way that humans do.
Do Parrots Taste Capsaicin?
Peppers are hot because of an active component known as capsaicin. This is a chemical irritant, and for mammals, it causes a burning sensation. It can range from a pleasant tingling to unbearable hotness. The more capsaicin a pepper has, the hotter it is.
For parrots, this isn’t the case. Birds aren’t able to taste the capsaicin. Instead, the flavor translates as neutral and inoffensive.
That’s because their TRPV1 receptor is much different from our own. This receptor is also called the capsaicin receptor. In mammals, it’s what creates the burning sensation in our mouth whenever peppers are eaten. In parrots, it is far less sensitive.
Scientists believe that this is very much on purpose, according to Cell Press. Peppers evolved to have a spiciness that mammals would dislike, so that the fruit would be avoided by predators. They did not, however, develop a chemical protection against birds.
That’s because it’s necessary for birds to eat pepper seeds and then spread them to other areas via their waste. This allows the plant species to continue to propagate itself, ensuring long-term survival.
Will Peppers Upset A Parrot’s Stomach?
Peppers won’t hurt your bird’s mouth, nor will they harm its stomach. Parrots do not get indigestion and bowel issues as a result of peppers. That’s because peppers only exacerbate existing symptoms of indigestion.
Peppers are alkaline, according to Hamelmalo Agricultural College. Since they are not an acid, they are more neutral to the stomach. They will not cause diarrhea, digestive problems, or burning for your parrot.
If your parrot eats a pepper and then becomes sick, it’s not the pepper’s fault. It will have been caused by a different factor.
- The pepper may have been unwashed and contained bacteria
- The pepper may have been old and moldy
- The parrot may have already been dealing with an upset stomach
Are Peppers Healthy For Parrots?
Peppers are very healthy treats for a parrot. In fact, capsaicin directly contributes to this fact. The compound is an anti-inflammatory agent, which can help treat various diseases. Capsaicin has also been known to:
- Relieve pain
- Reduce symptoms of arthritis
- Prevent colon cancer
There are even studies determining how effective capsaicin is in treating bleeding ulcers. For your parrot, you can use this spicy treat as a way to boost its health. That’s because peppers also offer:
Peppers contain a high number of carbs. For bell peppers, there are 6 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of caloric content.
Bell peppers are also considered one of the sweetest varieties. They contain natural sugars in the form of glucose and fructose. While processed sugar is dangerous to parrots and may upset their digestion, that’s not the case here. When given in small amounts, parrots will enjoy the sweet flavor and boost of energy from bell peppers.
Most importantly, the carbs in peppers are a rich source of fiber. Bell peppers are 2% fiber by fresh weight. Parrots need fiber in their diet to ensure:
- Proper digestion
- Healthy bowel movements
- Better nutrient absorption
Peppers have a high amount of vitamin C. In fact, just one medium-sized bell pepper fulfills 169% of the needed dietary intake of vitamin C in humans. That means a thin slice can easily top up your parrot’s stores for the day. As an ascorbic acid, vitamin C is responsible for giving your parrot:
- A stronger immune system
- Better tissue growth
- Faster cell recovery
- Stronger bones, including its beak and talons
- Well-maintained cartilage
- More vibrant feathers
Peppers are also rich in vitamin B6. According to an article published in Molecules, vitamin B6 may even prevent and treat chronic diseases. Known as pyridoxine, this vitamin is necessary for:
- Creating red blood cells
- Repairing neurotransmitters
- Metabolizing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
Peppers are also packed with amino acids and an impressive amount of minerals. A few slices can stock up your parrot on:
This can help strengthen your parrot’s bones, as well as improve the health of its beak. The folate will help with the bird’s feathers, keeping them strong and vibrant. As a plus, the iron will round out your parrot’s ability to produce healthy blood cells and enjoy more energy.
Can Parrots Eat Bell Pepper Seeds?
Parrots can eat all parts of the bell pepper, including the seeds. Your parrot will enjoy the slightly sweet flavor and the rougher texture of the core. Although most people remove the seeds, since these contain the most heat, your parrot won’t mind. You can avoid waste by offering the leftovers to your parrot during mealtime.
The meat and skin are also delectable to parrots. The bird will enjoy the rubbery texture and the long strips of the meat. Bell peppers contain all the nutrients of other pepper species, as well as more natural sugars. They also contain high amounts of vitamin C.
With that said, you may want to limit how much is given to your parrot. Only a slice or two will be enough to keep the bird satisfied and healthy. Too much could have your parrot feeling overfilled with sugar or vitamin C.
You can feed bell peppers to your bird either raw or cooked. Just be sure to add no extra seasoning or oil when you do.
Are Parrots Allowed Red Peppers?
Peppers come in many colors. Different species can brandish a bright red color, but the most common are:
- Red bell peppers
- Cayenne peppers
- Carolina reapers
All of these are safe for parrots. Since red bell peppers are the most common type, this is what you find in traditional recipes. If there’s a chunk in your taco or mixed in a stew, you can offer this to your parrot. Just clean off any sauce, and make sure it wasn’t cooked with too much salt.
Can Parrots Eat Yellow Peppers?
There are many kinds of yellow pepper. This color difference tells you the age of the pepper itself, not its exact species. Some types are tastier earlier or later in their growth process, so they are picked accordingly. Riper peppers may also be hotter, while younger peppers are mild.
In yellow peppers, the heat intensity can range from mild to extreme, and your parrot will like all of them. The most popular types include:
- Banana peppers
- Santa Fe grande peppers
- Golden cayenne peppers
- Wax peppers
- Aji Amarillo
All of these are safe, but also tasty for parrots. They can enjoy a healthy dose of iron and a low amount of calories. Since parrots may try to overeat with sweeter foods, these more balanced peppers will keep them in check.
Can Parrots Eat Orange Peppers?
Bell peppers also come in orange, with a slight difference in their texture. Since these peppers are older than the green or yellowed varieties, they also contain more nutrients. The longer they’re allowed to grow, the more packed they become.
Orange peppers are preferred for certain dishes, as well as their aesthetic value. They still have minerals, vitamins, and fiber, so your parrot will enjoy a health boost either way. It can chew on the stem, clean out the seeds, or bite at the meat.
Can Parrots Eat Green Peppers?
Perhaps the most iconic of all, green peppers are where you find some of the milder flavors. These types are picked early, since the flavor difference is preferred in certain recipes or when eaten straight:
- Poblano peppers
- Green bell peppers
- Anaheim peppers
Your parrot can safely eat any type of green pepper. The coloring does not impact the health benefits or your parrot’s ability to digest them safely.
Can Parrots Eat Ghost Peppers?
The ghost pepper has become infamous as the world’s hottest pepper. It even won this title officially in the 2007 Guinness World Book of Records. The ghost pepper has a Scoville rating of over a million SHUs.
For reference, a bottle of Tabasco red pepper sauce has Scoville ratings of 2,000 to 5,000. While currently not the hottest pepper in the world, this does put ghost peppers easily in the top 10.
Even if this fruit has brought some people to their knees, it won’t harm your parrot. Despite being incredibly hot, it’s also packed with vitamins and minerals. If given it as a treat, it can help:
- Improve your parrot’s joints
- Strengthen the bird’s immune system
- Help it better process nutrients
- Balance its metabolism
Can Parrots Eat Banana Peppers?
Banana peppers can reach up to 500 on the Scoville chart, but they also contain high amounts of fiber. Other types of banana peppers contain no heat at all, but this doesn’t impact their health benefits.
Parrots will be happy to chew through this long pepper and its bright yellow color. You can serve it cooked or raw, chopped or fresh. In any case, the parrot will love eating the seeds.
Can Parrots Eat Habanero Peppers?
The habanero comes in at about 100,000 to 350,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, but your parrot won’t mind. They have a floral taste and aroma, which your bird will recognize as a juicy fruit.
Because of its heat, the habanero is often found in hot sauces. These are also safe for your parrot to eat, so long as it’s a plain variety. Most hot sauces are simply chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. In small amounts, this can be healthy for birds. However, if the salt content is too high, or sugar is added, this can upset your parrot’s metabolism.
All in all, peppers are a great treat for parrots. So long as they’re not mixed with other ingredients, or the other ingredients are very limited, your bird will enjoy the treat.