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27 Vegetables Parrots Can Eat (And Why!)

(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Vegetables play an essential role in a parrot’s diet. However, not all vegetables are safe to feed parrots, as some contain harmful compounds or should only be eaten in moderation.

Parrots can safely eat vegetables like hot peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, butternut squash, asparagus, carrots, corn on the cob, artichoke, sweet potatoes, parsnip, peas, bamboo shoots, fava beans, endive, lettuce, green beans, dandelion greens, celery, Brussels sprouts, and fennel.

Fruit and vegetables should account for 20-25% of a parrot’s diet. To avoid the risks posed by oxalates, provide a diverse range of vegetables so that a parrot doesn’t eat the same thing more than once weekly.

What Vegetables Are Good for Parrots?

If you choose the right vegetables, your parrot can benefit from a diverse range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some of the healthiest vegetables for parrots:

1/ Asparagus

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) contains anthocyanins, which have antioxidant effects and reduce the damage caused by free radicals. Purple asparagus contains the most anthocyanins.

Insulin transportation is supported by chromium (a mineral), which is essential for maintaining a parrot’s blood sugar levels.

The amino acid asparagine is found in asparagus, a natural diuretic that rids the body of excess sodium (salts).

Asparagus contains Vitamin B12 (folate), which helps ward off cognitive decline.

Asparagus contains asparagusic acid, which could cause your parrot’s waste to smell. However, the sulfuric compounds aren’t harmful to birds.

2/ Beets

The leaves and root of beetroot (Beta vulgaris) are safe for consumption. While the root has a sweet taste, the leaves are bitter-tasting, which may be unappealing to parrots.

Beetroot is a good source of folate (vitamin B9), essential for cell growth and functionality. Minimizing the damage caused to blood vessels reduces the risk of heart disease.

Beets are rich in nitrates, which assist with blood dilation. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to betalain (which is responsible for the red color).

Don’t be alarmed if beet consumption reddens the color of a parrot’s droppings. This is known as beeturia and is entirely harmless to birds.

Beets are high in oxalates, which bind to minerals like calcium (inhibiting absorption) and can cause kidney stones. So, consumption should be limited to once per week.

3/ Bell Peppers

Bell peppers (capsicum annuum) are a member of the nightshade family. They’re found in these colors:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green

The color of a bell pepper depends on its ripeness, with red being ripe and green being unripe.

The riper the bell pepper, the more polyphenols (lutein, quercetin, and capsanthin), beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and folate they contain.

The anti-inflammatory properties of bell peppers reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.

According to the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, the polyphenols found in bell papers assist with the optimization of blood sugar levels, resulting in more stable energy levels.

4/ Hot Peppers

According to Cell, parrots don’t have a receptor that can taste the heat in hot peppers.

Capsaicin is the compound that gives these vegetables their heat. It can relieve pain, lessen arthritis symptoms, and prevent colon cancer.

Aside from capsaicin, hot peppers contain these vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K1
  • Copper
  • Potassium

Hot peppers are rich in antioxidants, specifically carotenoids.

5/ Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in antioxidants, such as glucoraphanin. This compound is converted into an antioxidant called sulforaphane. Research has linked sulforaphane to the following health benefits:

  • Lowering blood sugar
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Lessening the development of chronic diseases

Broccoli also contains other antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. This high level of antioxidants, paired with its high fiber level, makes broccoli healthy for a parrot’s digestion.

According to the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, fiber and antioxidants play a role in maintaining gut health because they promote good bacteria, reducing inflammation in the colon.

6/ Butternut Squash

While technically a fruit, butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) is considered a vegetable in the culinary world. This brightly colored vegetable has various health benefits.

The phytonutrients (zeaxanthin and lutein) in butternut squash play a vital role in eye health.

Butternut squash is low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • B vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Some butternut squash is a healthy addition to the diet of parrots.

7/ Carrots

Carrots (Daucus carota) are root vegetables from the Apiaceae family.

The high fiber content of carrots assists with blood sugar regulation, preventing tiredness and lethargy. When parrots have sustainable energy levels and feel full, they’re less likely to overeat.

Carrots contain carotenoids, about 80% of which are beta-carotene, which have the following benefits:

  • Improved eye health.
  • Linked to strong immune systems.
  • Improves cell growth.
  • An antioxidant that’s linked to disease reduction.

Although carrots are extremely healthy, avoid overfeeding them to your parrot, as they can cause the skin to develop a yellow appearance (known as carotenemia).

8/ Corn On The Cob

Corn on the cob is appealing to parrots because they enjoy:

  • Pecking at the corn
  • Scratching at the juicy pieces
  • Sharpening its beak on the core

Parrots will benefit from the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Pantothenic acid
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B6
  • Niacin

According to the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, corn has higher levels of antioxidants than other common grains, including:

  • Ferulic acid
  • Anthocyanins
  • Lutein
safe vegetables for parrots

9/ Parsnips

Parsnips contain vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Folate
  • Thiamine
  • Zinc

Parsnips contain many antioxidants, including vitamin C and polyacetylenes, aiding the immune system. They’re linked to a reduced risk of digestive issues due to their soluble and insoluble fiber content.

10/ Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable related to beetroot and quinoa. It’s rich in insoluble fiber, which can add bulk to the stool, preventing constipation. Spinach is a good source of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B9
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Spinach also contains many antioxidants, including lutein and kaempferol.

Spinach is high in oxalates, should it should be consumed infrequently, especially if you’re breeding parrots. Oxalates bind to calcium, preventing absorption and causing kidney stones.

11/ Sweet Potatoes

Parrots will love orange and purple varieties of sweet potatoes. These are healthier than white potatoes because of the compounds responsible for giving potatoes their color, such as orange beta-carotene.

Sweet potatoes contain two types of fiber that keep the gut well-balanced. Additionally, orange sweet potatoes have the same health benefits as carrots.

Specifically, they contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that:

  • Improves eye health
  • Strengthens the immune system

12/ Lettuce

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is high in vitamin K, which strengthens your parrot’s bones.

Due to its Vitamin A content, this vegetable can enhance your parrot’s eyesight. Since lettuce is 95% water, it’ll keep your parrot hydrated.

Compared to other varieties, Iceberg lettuce has the least amount of nutrients.

While parrots will never get too many calories from eating lettuce, overconsumption can lead to gas, bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

13/ Peas

Peas (Pisum sativum) are part of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. They’re a legume, not a vegetable.

They’re a good source of iron, essential for creating red blood cells that move oxygen around the body.

Peas are also among the best plant-based proteins, making them more filling than other vegetables. They contain 5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, which makes them good vegetables for healthy digestion.

Peas have high antioxidant levels and contain saponins, which protect against certain forms of cancer.

14/ Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo has high levels of fiber and few calories per serving. Bamboo contains:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Calcium

The most beneficial nutrient in bamboo is cellulose, which increases appetite and lowers the risk of digestive issues.

15/ Green Beans

This vegetable contains a large number of nutrients for parrots, including:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin

They also contain:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Green beans contain no cholesterol and are a good source of fiber. Cooking green beans decreases the amount of fiber, so it’s recommended that you steam them instead.

16/ Bok Choy

Bok choy, also known as pak choi or Chinese cabbage, is a green leafy vegetable that looks similar to lettuce. Bok choy is full of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Magnesium

Bok choy contains antioxidants, namely the flavonoid quercetin. This antioxidant has been linked to lower heart disease and diabetes levels.

17/ Fava Beans

Also known as broad beans, fava beans contain many vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Thiamine
  • Folate
  • Phosphorus
  • Manganese
  • Copper

Fava beans have been linked to improved bone health due to manganese and copper. This vegetable also contains beneficial antioxidants that will enhance the immune system.

18/ Bitter Melon

Also known as bitter gourd, bitter melon can boost your parrot’s health due to its high levels of vitamin C. Bitter melon also contains significant amounts of antioxidants, including:

  • Catechin
  • Epicatechin
  • Gallic acid
  • Chlorogenic acid

19/ Endive

Endives (Cichorium endivia) are part of the chicory root family. They have a slightly bitter taste, but this is reduced when cooked.

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, endives contain various antioxidants, including quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin. These are essential for preventing the damage caused by free radicals, which causes chronic disease.

Endive (also known as chicory) contains more vitamin K than most common vegetables, assisting with bone strength and preventing fractures.

Eating endive also leads to a healthier gut due to the high amount of fiber. Fiber ensures that waste moves smoothly through the gastrointestinal tract, preventing constipation and stomach ulcers.

20/ Cauliflower

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) is a cruciferous vegetable that’s part of the Brassicaceae family.

Cauliflower consumption will benefit parrots in the following ways:

  • Improve heart health and reduce cancer risk due to its sulforaphane content.
  • Balances hormone levels due to indole-3-carbinol (I3C).
  • Protects cells from inflammatory damage due to glutathione.
  • The high choline content will benefit the central nervous system.

Whether steamed, boiled, roasted, or raw, Cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable for parrots.

21/ Celery

Celery contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Beta carotene
  • Flavonoids
  • Antioxidants

Celery can reduce inflammation in the body due to the 25 compounds with anti-inflammatory effects. Celery also aids in digestion due to its range of nutrients. Notably, the compound apiuman is linked to:

  • Improved stomach lining
  • Modulated stomach secretions
  • A decrease in stomach ulcers

22/ Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens (Taraxacum officinale) contain the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • B vitamins, including folate.
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

Dandelions contain many antioxidants, the most common of which are polyphenols and beta-carotene. These have been known to reduce the risk of diseases caused by inflammation.

Dandelion is a good source of inulin (a carbohydrate), which is vital for maintaining healthy gut bacteria levels in the digestive tract.

According to The Review of Diabetic Studies, dandelions have been linked to better liver health. In this study, dandelion extract was shown to reduce the levels of excess fat in the liver.

23/ Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts belong to the brassica family, which includes cabbage, kale, and broccoli.

They contain the following vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Folate
  • Carotene

Scientists believe the consumption of Brussels sprouts (and other cruciferous vegetables) protects against various life-threatening diseases, like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

As Brussels sprouts are rich in sulfur, they maintain the integrity of the gut lining. The production of glutathione also prevents inflammatory damage and assists with detoxification.

Sprouts are rich in antioxidants. According to Carcinogenesis, Brussels sprouts can decrease oxidative damage in cells by 28% due to kaempferol.

24/ Artichoke

Artichokes (Cynara cardunculus) are members of the thistle family. Parrots will love to chew on artichoke hearts, leaves, and stems.

Asparagus is rich in phytonutrients (apigenin, cynarin, silymarin, and luteolin), which assist with liver detoxification due to their diuretic properties.

Artichokes are a good source of dietary fiber, assisting with stomach bloating, flatulence, cramps, and digestive discomfort. If your parrot has diarrhea, the fiber can absorb any excess liquid.

Artichoke improves digestion due to fiber and inulin (which keeps gut bacteria healthy). If a parrot has digestive issues, artichokes reduce indigestion symptoms due to the presence of cynarine.

25/ Fennel

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a member of the carrot (Apiaceae) family. It has a strong aniseed flavor, which some parrots enjoy.

Fennel has been used in medicine for centuries. Aside from magnesium and potassium, this vegetable also contains various antioxidants, such as vitamin C and flavonoids.

According to BioMed Research International, fennel essential oil has 87 volatile compounds, including:

  • Quercetin
  • Apigenin
  • Rosmarinic acid

Due to its low glycaemic index (GI) and high fiber content, fennel controls blood sugar levels and assists with weight moderation.

what kind of vegetables do parrots eat?

26/ Rutabaga

Also known as the swede or Swedish turnip, this vegetable can improve your parrot’s bone health due to its high potassium levels. It’s been shown to do the following:

  • Lowers the risk of strokes.
  • Lessens the chances of heart disease.
  • Reduces high blood pressure.

Scientists have explored rutabaga’s ability to aid in weight loss with encouraging results. If your parrot needs to get back to a healthy weight or reduce its mass, add some rutabaga to its diet.

27/ Okra

The okra plant’s seed pods (also known as lady’s finger) are the fruit of the okra plant. However, in the culinary world, they are classified as a vegetable.

Okra has many health benefits, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Many antioxidants, such as flavonoids and isoquercetin

The gel-like substance in okra, called mucilage, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

Can Parrots Eat Raw Vegetables?

Parrots should be fed raw vegetables because they better suit their digestive system. Also, parrots enjoy the texture of raw vegetables as they’ll remain crunchy, juicy, and easy to tear apart.

If you have a choice between feeding raw or cooked vegetables, it’s advisable to select raw.

Can Parrots Eat Cooked Vegetables?

Cooked vegetables won’t harm your parrot as long as other ingredients aren’t added. You should never fry a parrot’s food, nor should you sauté or bake it in:

  • Oil
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Fats

Vegetables are more nutritious when raw, as some cooking methods destroy more nutrients than others. However, all cooking methods remove nutrients.

Can You Feed Parrots Frozen Vegetables?

Frozen vegetables can be even more nutritious than fresh vegetables.

Nutrients are lost from a vegetable when harvested, and fresh vegetables take a while to arrive at supermarkets. Freezing stops the aging process and prevents more vitamins or minerals from being lost.

Are Canned Vegetables Good For Parrots?

Canned vegetables are safe to feed to your parrot with certain caveats.

Some nutrients are lost during the canning process, and some vegetables are canned with added salt. Opt for labels that say ‘low sodium’ or ‘no salt added.’

Can Parrots Eat Dehydrated Vegetables?

The dehydration process doesn’t reduce the calorie or fiber content of vegetables.

Unfortunately, heat destroys certain vitamins, such as Vitamin C. However, Vitamin A is largely unaffected by dehydration, but it’ll no longer be a good water source.

How To Get A Parrot To Eat Vegetables

Parrots can be picky eaters and aren’t always interested in eating vegetables. So, what can you do?

Offer Vegetables In The Morning

To introduce a new food to your parrot, do so before breakfast.

Wild birds forage for food first thing in the morning. Although domesticated, this instinct will always remain. So, offer the new vegetable a few hours before breakfast without other foods. Then, serve the parrot’s breakfast as you normally would.

Include Them with Other Foods

If you want to give your parrot something new, it may not even realize that it’s food. To help the parrot learn, introduce the vegetable alongside familiar foods.

Chop The Food

You can serve the new vegetable alongside a ‘chop’ of food. A ‘chop’ involves finely chopping the different types of food so that your parrot can’t pick out the bits it prefers.

Serve In Different Forms

If your parrot still doesn’t eat the new vegetable, it may dislike how it’s prepared. Serve it in new ways:

  • Cook it
  • Serve it raw
  • Chop it into bigger/smaller pieces
  • Serve it cold
  • Serve it warm

Eat It Yourself

Your parrot will see you as a part of its flock. Naturally, it’ll want to eat what you’re eating. If all else fails, eat the vegetable in the parrot’s line of sight, as this will pique its interest.