Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Carrie Stephens
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a sweet and flavorful fruit from the gourd family that parrots like.
Parrots can safely eat watermelon, including the black seeds. Watermelon is a source of vitamins A and C, choline, potassium, and phosphorus. These boost the immune system and increase hydration levels.
Avoid giving parrots watermelon rinds because the texture is tough and fibrous, making digestion uncomfortable. Pesticides may also coat the rind and be difficult to wash off.
Why Watermelon Is Good for Parrots
Parrots that eat watermelon will benefit in the following ways:
Watermelon is 92% water, which makes it juicy and delicious. After eating a few slices, a parrot can stay hydrated on a warm day. Water is essential for bodily processes, flushing out toxins and waste.
The soluble and insoluble fiber in watermelon adds bulk to the stool, making digestive transit easier. Without sufficient fiber, parrots can become constipated.
L-citrulline is an essential amino acid involved in producing nitric acid, which is needed for cardiovascular and immune health.
The L-citrulline in watermelon enhances muscle function, reducing tiredness and fatigue. L-citrulline also detoxifies the body, removing toxins and waste.
L-citrulline is converted to L-arginine in the kidneys. According to the Italian Journal of Animal Science, L-arginine is vital for weight gain in birds’ formative years.
The vitamin A in watermelon gives parrots healthy, vibrant plumage.
Without sufficient vitamin A, keratinization is impaired, so the feathers become dull and brittle. The beak may also become soft and vulnerable, causing difficulty feeding and preening.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining the retina. This is part of the eye that detects light and allows parrots to see well, especially in declining light conditions.
It supports immune cells, which fight infections. It also maintains the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes, which are the first line of defense against disease-causing pathogens.
Vitamin A maintains the health of mucous membranes in the respiratory tract. They trap and remove particles from the air before they can enter the lungs and air sacs.
Choline is a water-soluble compound usually grouped with B vitamins. It isn’t classified as a vitamin or mineral. There’s just over 1 mg of choline in 25 grams of watermelon.
Choline is essential for brain function and the nervous system.
It also plays a pivotal role in producing acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in muscle control, memory, and other cognitive functions.
Choline is involved in the transportation and metabolism of lipids (fats) in the liver, helping prevent fatty liver disease (fat accumulation in the liver).
Antioxidants protect cells and tissues from damage caused by free radicals due to metabolism and environmental stressors. Vitamin C can prevent oxidative damage to cells.
Vitamin C is involved in collagen production and is vital for the immune system, promoting the production of white blood cells and healthy immune function.
Parrots can synthesize vitamin C in the liver from glucose, so they don’t need a dietary source.
There are 28 mg of potassium in 25 grams of watermelon, but banana is another excellent source.
Potassium is vital for moving water across cell membranes to maintain optimal hydration and electrolyte balance. Fluid balance is critical to the function of cells and tissues.
High dietary potassium levels can interfere with calcium absorption, leading to hypocalcemia. This can result in soft and misshapen eggshells and thin and brittle bones.
There’s about 2.6 mg of phosphorus in 25 grams of watermelon.
Phosphorus is involved in the formation and maintenance of bone tissue in parrots. This mineral is a vital component of hydroxyapatite, which makes up most bone tissue.
Phosphorus is vital for energy metabolism, as it plays a crucial role in producing and storing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that provides energy for cellular processes.
Also, phosphorus regulates pH levels and plays a part in DNA and RNA synthesis.
While birds can synthesize some carotenoids, like beta-carotene, they can’t produce lycopene. This means it must be obtained by eating watermelon, guava, and pink grapefruit.
Lycopene is a carotenoid (organic pigment) that gives watermelon its reddish hue. Interestingly, watermelon has higher levels of lycopene than tomatoes.
As an antioxidant, lycopene has been linked to limiting the effects of aging. It can also help fight pollution, toxins, and the effects of radiation from UV light.
Here are the health benefits of watermelon for parrots:
|Aids digestion and the passage of waste.
|Cardiovascular and immune health and detoxification.
|Brain, muscle, and nervous system function.
|Healthy eyes, skin, feathers, respiratory tract, and immune system.
|Immune function and protection against oxidative stress.
|Fluid balance in the body.
|Strong bones and enzyme and cellular processes.
|Improves heart, lung, and eye health.
Although we used to throw away the hard, black seeds because they detracted from the fruit’s sweet and delicious flavor, watermelon seeds are the most nutritious part.
Watermelon seeds are a nutrient-dense, low-calorie snack for parrots. They’re a good source of zinc, magnesium, iron, selenium, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Rinds are often coated with wax, which is necessary to preserve the fruit. In addition to this waxy coating, commercial watermelons are usually sprayed with pesticides.
It’s still possible to give the rind to a parrot if you:
- Wash it thoroughly with water to remove wax and pesticide.
- Scrape off a couple of layers and give them the rest.
Alternatively, buy watermelons from an organic farm.
Watermelon can be part of a parrot’s diet. Only offer 2-3 slices once or twice per week.