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fruits that are good for parrots

27 Fruits Parrots Can Eat (And Why!)

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Wild parrots are often observed foraging for fruit in trees and bushes. Fruit provides parrots with essential nutrients, quick-release energy for flight, and the opportunity to wear down their beaks.

Remove the pits from stone fruits (like cherries and apricots) because they contain arsenic. Other parts of stone fruits are bird-safe, which means they can be offered whole, sliced, or diced.

You can juice and dilute fruits with water to make delicious drinks. Although parrots’ taste buds differ from humans, most really enjoy the flavor. As an added benefit, they promote hydration.

Amount of Fruit for Parrots

An average of 25-30% of a parrot’s diet should consist of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Specially formulated pellets account for the remaining 70-75%.

Fruit contains glucose, sucrose, and fructose. Although natural sugars, fruit can be high in calories. Fruits like raspberries and blueberries are less sugary than bananas and mangos.

Also, fruit contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which benefits digestive transit. Unfortunately, too much fruit can have unwanted side effects, including:

  • Upset stomachs (bloating, gassiness, and diarrhea).
  • Unused blood sugar is converted to fat, leading to weight gain and obesity.
  • Reluctance to eat less exciting foods, like specially formulated pellets.

Parrots usually eat first thing in the morning and about an hour before sleep. Of course, you can offer your parrot a piece of melon or an orange segment as a mid-day snack or training reward.

fresh fruits for parrots

Safe Fruits Parrots Eat

Here are some healthy fruits that can be fed to parrots:

Bananas

Bananas are the world’s most popular fruit due to their enticing scent, rich texture, and sweet flavor. Many types of bananas exist, but Musa sapienta is the most popular.

They’re a good source of pectin, a soluble fiber that aids the passage of waste. Pectin reduces the risk of constipation and leaves parrots feeling satiated.

Potassium-rich foods like bananas are an essential source of electrolytes. Potassium regulates fluid, manages blood pressure levels, and improves heart health.

There are about 32 mg of magnesium in an average-sized banana. Magnesium is essential for muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and blood sugar control.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), a water-soluble vitamin found in bananas, is essential for the immune and nervous systems and brain health.

If a parrot is about to exercise, some sliced banana can provide a high-calorie energy boost.

Plantains

The nutrients in plantains are similar to bananas.

Plantains are often mistaken for bananas, but they’re starchier, contain more fiber, and are less sugary. Unlike bananas, which are consumed raw, plantains are cooked.

You can get plantains at various stages (green, yellow, and black). Green plantains aren’t fully ripe, while black plantains have reached maximum ripeness.

Apples

Apples are nutritious fruits that vary in color, texture, sweetness (or sharpness), and flavor.

The most popular apples include the following:

  • Red delicious.
  • Golden delicious.
  • Granny Smith.
  • Braeburns.
  • Fuji.
  • Gala.
  • McIntosh.
  • Honeycrisp.
  • Pink lady.

They may reduce cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease due to pectin. This soluble fiber may prevent cholesterol from accumulating in blood vessel wall linings, decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis.

Apples are a source of fiber, which results in feelings of fullness and more controlled blood sugar levels. Fiber also efficiently moves food through the digestive system.

Free radicals lead to degenerative diseases, but apples are a good source of antioxidants, notably polyphenols. Avoid peeling the apple, as most polyphenols are found near the skin.

Grapes

Grapes are juicy, flavorful, and sweet-tasting fruits that may contain seeds or be seedless.

They vary in color from light green to red to black. The healthiest grapes are darker, like red, purple, or black, due to resveratrol (a naturally occurring polyphenol).

This plant compound has antioxidant properties that reduce oxidative stress, slowing the effects of aging.

Polyphenols ward against LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) and have anti-inflammatory properties. This reduces the likelihood of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Grapes have a glycemic index (GI) of 53 due to the fiber, so they don’t raise parrots’ blood sugar levels. However, like bananas, grapes are relatively high in natural sugar.

Oranges

Oranges are low-calorie citrus fruits that are naturally sweet (C. sinensis) to bitter-tasting (C. aurantium).

Oranges contain plant compounds with antioxidant properties, including hesperidin and anthocyanin. While less potent, antioxidants like beta-cryptoxanthin and lycopene are present.

These result in the fruit’s bright orange, enhancing the immune system. However, parrots can produce vitamin C in the liver from glucose, so they don’t need a dietary source.

Apricots

Apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are yellow-orange stone fruits with a sweet or slightly tart flavor. The apricot’s skin has a velvety texture covered by a soft, light fuzz.

Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene are natural antioxidants for skin health and elasticity. This is aided by the water content of apricots, which is hydrating.

Some parrots have hypovitaminosis A (a vitamin A deficiency), which can cause ailments ranging from dull feathers to listlessness to crusted nares (nostrils). 100 grams of apricots contain 1,926 IU of vitamin A.

The vitamins A and E, lutein, and carotenoids benefit parrots’ eye health. This can reduce the incidence of eye conditions in birds, like cataracts.

The apricot stone (seed) is inedible because it contains arsenic, so it must be removed.

Cherries

Cherries are a nutrient-dense stone fruit (fleshy drupe) that can taste sweet or tart. The dark color of cherries indicates they contain more anthocyanins.

They’re anti-inflammatory due to antioxidants (anthocyanins, flavonols, and catechins).

Cherries have anti-inflammatory compounds. The journal Molecules found that cherries reduced inflammation in 11 of 16 studies. Also, cherries reduced oxidative stress markers in 8 out of 10 cases.

Cherries contain melatonin, a natural hormone that promotes restful sleep. If a parrot keeps waking up at night and napping during the day, add some cherries to its evening meal.

Remove the pits (they contain arsenic) before offering them to parrots.

Blueberries

Blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries, whether raw, cooked, or freeze-dried, earning them their superfood status. Freezing blueberries reduces the amount of anthocyanin over time.

The Journal of AOAC International stated that blueberries are rich in anthocyanin, polyphenols, and flavonoids. These have antioxidant qualities, protecting parrots’ bodies from oxidation.

A cup of fresh blueberries contains about 4 grams of dietary fiber. This explains why blood sugar levels remain stable (with a glycemic index of 53), and digestive transit occurs without issue.

Cranberries

Cranberries are often cooked before consumption due to their sour taste. However, some parrots like the tangy flavor. Cranberries are a good source of:

  • Vitamins C, E, and K.
  • Manganese.
  • Copper.
  • Fiber.

Cranberries are linked to fewer urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to compounds called condensed tannins. They prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder and urinary tract.

They lower the risk of heart disease due to antioxidants like:

  • Anthocyanins.
  • Proanthocyanidins.
  • Quercetin.

Cranberries are often sweetened to make them more palatable for humans. Avoid cranberry-related products with added sugars and sweeteners, like Xylitol.

Raspberries

Raspberries have one of the lowest amounts of sugar of any fruit – just 5 grams of natural sugar per cup. This compares favorably to fruits like bananas (28 grams) and pomegranates (24 grams).

According to Molecules, the antioxidants in raspberries reduce the risk of stress-related illnesses. They’re also associated with decreased inflammation, improved joint health, and vibrant feathers.

Cantaloupe

Other fruits in the melon family can overshadow cantaloupes. However, they have some of the highest levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives orange and yellow fruits their vibrant color.

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cantaloupes may have as much beta-carotene as carrots, reducing the risk of age-related disease.

Cantaloupes are 90% water, so they’re low in calories and a hydrating snack for parrots. With a glycemic index score of 4, they won’t lead to elevated blood sugar levels.

Figs

Figs grow on the ficus tree. Although often called a fruit, the fig is technically a flower inside an edible shell. The fig tree contains latex, which can cause an allergic reaction.

Parrots enjoy the sweet flavor and unique texture of figs. Pesquet’s Parrots (also called the Dracula parrot) are frugivores that survive on a specialized diet of figs.

Despite their small size, figs are rich in vitamins and minerals, the most abundant being:

  • Vitamins B6 and K.
  • Copper.
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Calcium.
  • Iron.
  • Selenium.

Figs are high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, essential for a healthy skeleton and bones. Also, potassium reduces calcium excretion, reducing the likelihood of hypocalcemia in parrots.

Watermelon

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a nutritious fruit from the Cucurbitaceae family. It offers parrots a range of essential nutrients and the opportunity to stay hydrated.

Watermelon comprises 92% water, but this fruit offers more, including:

  • Vitamins A, B, and C.

They’re also rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, lycopene, and cucurbitacin. Watermelon is also a good source of fiber, which is essential for healthy bowel movements.

Guava

Guavas are tropical fruits wild parrots eat in their native habitats. The edible fruit of the Psidium guajava tree has a pink shade with a musky, sweet scent.

The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences stated that guava relieves digestive problems. Even guava seeds are beneficial, providing a laxative effect for constipated parrots.

Parrots are highly strung and prone to stress and anxiety. The magnesium in guava relaxes a bird’s muscles and nerves, promoting calmness and relaxation.

Vitamins B3 (niacin) and B6 (pyridoxine) promote cognitive function by allowing oxygenated blood to flow to the brain and other organs.

Mango

Mangoes (Mangifera indica) are stone fruits ranging from yellow to red-green. They’re sweet-tasting. Half a diced mango contains about 24 grams of natural sugar.

This fruit contains gallotannins, lycopene, and mangiferin, which have proven antioxidant properties. The highest concentration of nutrients is just under the skin.

Mango consumption can also benefit parrots in these ways:

  • Blood pressure regulation.
  • Normal blood sugar levels.
  • Digestive transit.
  • Low LDL (bad) cholesterol and heart health.

The guava is about 80% water, so it can also hydrate parrots when they don’t drink enough.

Nectarines

Nectarines are low in calories. As you may realize from their orange skin, nectarines contain beta-carotene. When paired with vitamin C, it fortifies the immune system and improves skin health.

Nectarines also contain lutein, an antioxidant that improves ocular health. It can also make a parrot’s feathers stronger and more vibrantly colored.

Lemons

Lemons are sour, but the parrot won’t mind the zesty flavor.

Vitamin C and fiber will benefit the parrot. These plant compounds may lower cholesterol levels, keeping the heart healthy. Lemons have even been linked to anemia prevention.

Don’t feed a parrot more than one thin slice once a week because lemon is an acidic fruit. Consider squeezing some fresh lemon juice into the parrot’s water so it’s not as concentrated.

Papaya

Papayas are tropical fruits with a taste parrots enjoy. They’re juicy and easy to tear apart, providing enrichment and a much-needed health boost.

Papayas are a good source of the following:

  • Vitamins A, B9, and C.
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Calcium.

Papayas contain carotenoids, an antioxidant that gives the fruit its orange shade. However, lycopene, another antioxidant, benefits the skin, feathers, and brain.

Peaches

Peaches (Prunus persica) are a stone fruit that grows on the tree of the rose family (Rosaceae). They’re small, fuzzy fruits that are low in calories despite providing nutrients, such as:

  • Vitamins A, C, E, and K.
  • Copper.
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Manganese.

When choosing peaches, the fresher they are, the more nutrients they contain. According to Food Research International, the freshness of peaches determines their antioxidant levels.

Persimmons

When ripe, sweet persimmons (Diospyros kaki) are yellow-orange fruits with a flavor similar to apricots. Persimmons come in two varieties: Fuyus (sweet) and Hachiyas (bitter).

Consumption can benefit parrots in the following ways:

  • More energy.
  • Improved memory and attention span.
  • Enhanced digestion and waste transit.
  • Stronger bones and skeleton.
  • Better cell regeneration.

That’s because persimmons contain:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.
  • Copper.
  • Magnesium.
  • Potassium.

Persimmons also contain beta-carotene, tannins, and flavonoids.

Pineapple

Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a biennial tropical plant from the Bromeliaceae family.

They’re a source of bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme that reduces inflammation (swelling, bruising, etc.) from sprains, injuries, and infections.

Pineapple is rich in ‘bound antioxidants’ (their effects last longer), like flavonoids and phenolic compounds. These fight against oxidative stress and protect the heart.

See how the parrot responds to pineapple because it can cause digestive distress and allergies.

Plums

Plums (Prunus domestica) are a fleshy fruit with a non-edible seed from the rose family (Rosaceae), the same family as cherries, peaches, and nectarines. A prune is just a dried plum. They provide:

  • Vitamins A, B, and K.
  • Potassium.
  • Copper.
  • Manganese.
  • Phosphorus.

Plums are rich in polyphenols. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, plums contain twice as many antioxidants as most popular fruits.

Pomegranates

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) contain antioxidant-rich arils. While they taste tart, they’re a superfood that may protect the heart, reduce the risk of diabetes, and improve gut health. Pomegranates provide:

  • Vitamins C and K.
  • Folate.
  • Potassium.
  • Fiber.

Punicalagins are found in the juice and peel. According to the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, punicalagins have twice the antioxidants of red wine and green tea.

Punicic acid is another antioxidant compound found in pomegranate seed oil.

do parrots like fruit?

Kiwi

The kiwi fruit (Chinese gooseberry) tastes like a banana-strawberry hybrid.

Kiwis are rich in flavor and nutrients, the most abundant being vitamin C. Kiwi is also an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin K.

Kiwis are excellent for the eyes due to their antioxidants (zeaxanthin and lutein). According to the Archives of Ophthalmology, kiwis consumption reduces the risk of macular degeneration in humans by 36%.

Jackfruit

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a tropical fruit from the same family as figs and mulberries.

They’re rich in antioxidants and have antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Jackfruit is a source of:

  • Vitamins A and C.
  • Fiber.
  • Riboflavin.
  • Magnesium.
  • Potassium.
  • Copper.
  • Manganese.
  • Carotenoids.
  • Flavanones.

Although jackfruit is often used as a meat substitute, it contains little protein. If you want to give a parrot more protein, give it some white meat, like chicken or turkey.

Starfruit

Starfruits are green or yellow. The smaller varieties are sour, while the larger varieties are sweeter. For a low-calorie count, starfruits contain high amounts of nutrients, including:

  • Vitamins B5 and C.
  • Folate.
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Copper.

That’s paired with antioxidant plant compounds, such as:

  • Quercetin.
  • Gallic acid.
  • Epicatechin.

Due to these nutrients and antioxidants, starfruits may reduce inflammation.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus) has light red flesh with black seeds. The ripened fruit has a sweet flavor, a cross between a pear and a kiwi. Dragon fruit provides:

  • Vitamins C and E.
  • Fiber.
  • Magnesium.
  • Iron.
  • Betalains.
  • Carotenoids.

Dragon fruit is recommended for parrots with unsettled stomachs because the plant compounds can rebalance gut bacteria and improve digestion.