Last Updated on: 21st July 2023, 09:14 am
Wild parrots eat fruit for energy, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants to keep them strong and healthy. A parrot’s diet should comprise about 5-10% fruits.
Parrots can eat colorful fruits like apples, grapes, oranges, bananas, papaya, pomegranates, plums, pineapple, persimmons, nectarines, and raspberries.
Always remove the pits from stone fruits (like cherries and apricots) because they contain arsenic, but other parts are bird-safe. Then, these flavorful fruits can be offered whole, sliced, or diced.
You can also juice and dilute fruits with water to make flavorful drinks that promote hydration. Although parrots’ taste buds differ from humans, most really enjoy the delicious flavor.
Is Fruit Good for Parrots?
Whether you offer a grape, blueberry, or slice of pear, most parrots will snatch fruit from your hand.
Fruit is highly nutritious for parrots, which is why wild birds forage for them in trees and bushes. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals for robust health and a quick-release energy source for flight.
A parrot may also see it as a toy, depending on the fruit’s shape and texture. For example, watermelon rinds allow parrots to wear down their beaks and are fun for parrots to peck at and tear up.
How Much Fruit Should You Feed A Parrot?
Fruit contains glucose, sucrose, and fructose. Although natural sugars, fruit can be high in calories.
Also, fruit contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which is beneficial to digestive transit, but consumption should be moderated. Too much fruit can have the following side effects on pet birds:
- Upset stomach (bloating, gassiness, and diarrhea).
- Unused blood sugar is converted to fat, leading to weight gain.
- Reluctance to eat less interesting foods, like pellets.
Parrots normally eat first thing in the morning and about an hour before sleep. Of course, you can give a pet parrot a piece of melon or an orange segment as a snack or reward for learning a trick.
Offer a wide variety of fruits because they benefit birds in different ways.
Fruits That Are Good for Parrots
Here are 27 healthy fruits that can be fed to parrots:
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. Aside from reducing the risk of constipation, pectin 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.
The 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.
The nutrients found in plantains are similar to bananas.
Plantains are often mistaken for bananas, but they’re starchier, contain more fiber, and have less sugar. Unlike bananas, which are normally consumed raw, plantains are usually 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 are nutritious fruits that vary in color, texture, sweetness (or sharpness), and flavor. Some varieties of apples are more enticing to parrots than others, so offer them different types.
The most popular apples include the following:
- Red delicious.
- Golden delicious.
- Granny Smith.
- Pink lady.
They reduce cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease due to pectin. This soluble fiber prevents cholesterol from accumulating in blood vessel wall linings, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.
Apples are a source of soluble and insoluble fiber, resulting in feelings of fullness and more controlled blood sugar levels. Also, fiber 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 are juicy, flavorful, and sweet-tasting fruits that may contain seeds or be seedless.
The color of grapes ranges 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.
The polyphenols in grapes protect against LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) and have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing 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 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 color, which enhances the parrot’s immune system.
Everyone knows that oranges are among the best sources of vitamin C. However, parrots can produce vitamin C in the liver from glucose, so they don’t need a dietary source.
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 for captive birds.
Many 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 in apricots benefit the eye health of parrots. This can reduce the incidence of eye conditions in birds, like cataracts.
The stone (seed) of the apricot is inedible because it contains arsenic, so it must be removed.
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 than light-colored fruit.
They’re anti-inflammatory due to antioxidants (anthocyanins, flavonols, and catechins), which are beneficial for inflammatory joint conditions and degenerative diseases.
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, adding some cherries to its evening meal could be beneficial.
Remove the pits (they contain arsenic) before offering them to parrots.
Blueberries are from the Vaccinium family, which includes cranberries, bilberries, and huckleberries. While various varieties exist, highbush and lowbush blueberries are the most common.
They’re 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 are stable (with a glycemic index of 53), and digestive transit occurs without issue.
Cranberries are often cooked before consumption due to their sour taste. However, some parrots like the tangy flavor. Cranberries are a good source of the following nutrients:
- Vitamins C, E, and K.
Cranberries are linked to fewer urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to compounds called condensed tannins, which prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder and urinary tract.
Additionally, cranberries lower the risk of heart disease due to antioxidants like:
Cranberries are often sweetened to make them more palatable for humans. Avoid cranberry-related products with added sugars and sweeteners, like Xylitol.
Raspberries have one of the lowest amounts of sugar of any fruit – just 5 grams of natural sugar per cup. This compares well to fruits like bananas (28 grams) and pomegranates (24 grams).
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 illness and disease.
Cantaloupes are 90% water, so they’re low in calories and a hydrating snack for parrots. Coupled with a glycemic index score of 4, cantaloupe won’t lead to elevated blood sugar levels.
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 in some birds.
Parrots enjoy the sweet flavor and unique texture of figs. Pesquet’s Parrots (also called the Dracula parrot) are frugivores, surviving 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.
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 (Citrullus lanatus) is a nutritious fruit from the Cucurbitaceae family, offering 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 in parrots.
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.
Guava contains 4 times more vitamin C than oranges, offering protection again infection and illness.
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 animals, 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 through the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and other essential organs.
Mangoes (Mangifera indica) are stone fruits ranging from yellow to red-green. They’re very sweet, so they’re high in sugar. Half a diced mango contains about 24 grams of natural sugar.
This fruit is a good source of 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 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 are sour, but the parrot won’t mind the zesty flavor. You can feed them straight, so the parrot can chew through the hard outer layer or slice them up to hand-feed them 1-2 pieces.
The parrot will benefit from vitamin C and fiber. This goes hand-in-hand with plant compounds that 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.
Like guava and oranges, 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 and minerals:
- Vitamins A, B9, and C.
Papayas contain carotenoids, an antioxidant that gives the fruit its orange shade. However, benefits to the parrot’s skin, feathers, and brain are due to lycopene, another antioxidant.
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 the following:
- Vitamins A, C, E, and K.
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.
When ripe, sweet persimmons (Diospyros kaki) are a yellow-orange fruit 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 the following nutrients:
- Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.
Persimmons also contain beta-carotene, tannins, and flavonoids.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a biennial tropical plant from the Bromeliaceae family.
They’re a good source of bromelain, which is a proteolytic enzyme. Bromelain is beneficial for reducing inflammation (swelling, bruising, etc.) from sprains, injuries, and infections.
Pineapple is rich in ‘bound antioxidants’ (their effects last longer), like flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which fight against oxidative stress and protect the heart.
Monitor how the parrot responds to pineapple because it can cause digestive distress and allergies.
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.
Plums contain many vitamins and minerals, including the following:
- Vitamins A, B, and K.
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 (Punica granatum) contain antioxidant-rich arils. While they taste tart, they’re a superfood that protects the heart, reduces the risk of diabetes, and improves gut health.
Pomegranates are abundant in the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamins C and K.
What makes pomegranates nutritious are their plant compounds.
The first is punicalagins, which are 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.
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 good 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 (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a tropical fruit from the same family as figs and mulberries.
The main benefits are they’re rich in antioxidants and have antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Jackfruit is a good source of the following nutrients:
- Vitamins A and C.
Starfruit is named after the fruit’s shape, which resembles a sprawling star. These exotic fruits come in either green or yellow. The smaller varieties are sour, while the larger varieties are sweeter.
For a low-calorie count, starfruits contain high amounts of these nutrients:
- Vitamins B5 and C.
That’s paired with antioxidant plant compounds, such as:
- Gallic acid.
Due to these nutrients and antioxidants, starfruits can reduce inflammation.
27/ Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus) has light red flesh with black seeds. The ripened fruit has a sweet flavor, which is a cross between a pear and a kiwi.
Dragon fruit contains the following nutrients:
- Vitamins C and E.
They’re recommended for parrots with unsettled stomachs because the plant compounds in dragon fruit can rebalance gut bacteria and improve digestion.
All parrots should be fed fruit as part of a balanced diet. Rather than focusing on one variety, offer parrots different colorful fruits because this will increase the diversity of vitamins and minerals.