Proper nutrition is an extremely important aspect of proper parrot care. Because of their need to explore the world around them with their beak and claws, a varied, well balanced diet that is both nutritional and exciting is necessary for a parrot’s health and happiness. By providing him with the right balance of protein, fruits and vegetables, and seed and nut mixes for their specific breed, owners can be assured they are doing all they can for the nutritional well being of their pet.
A parrot’s dietary needs will vary depending on their breed. It is important that owners be aware of their diet requirements when purchasing a companion. Doing research and discussing with the breeder the dietary recommendations for a particular breed and the previous owner’s nutritional plan is important. Depending on the bird dietary classification, parrots can either be a florivore, granivore, frugivore, omnivore, or nectarivore.
Parrots such as the military, gold, blue, and red macaw are considered to be florivores. This means that in addition to a diet of protein pellets, they enjoy seeds, nuts, berries, bark, and roots. A cockatiel’s diet classifies them as granivores. This means that they enjoy grains and seeds. The blue throated and green winged macaws are considered to be frugavores, meaning their diet consists mainly of fruit and flowers and some seeds and nuts. Cockitoos and red tailed Amazon parrots are omnivores, which means their diet consists primarily of seeds, insects, invertebrates, and some fruits. And, lastly, the lorikeets are known for having a diet that consists mainly of nectar, pollen, some insects, and seeds. So, as one can see, each classification of a parrot’s diet varies considerably.
Formulated foods, such as protein pellets should make up a large portion of a parrot’s diet. In addition to protein pellets, fruits and vegetables should be integrated to provide both physical and mental stimulation. Depending on the research acquired and classifications as shown above, dietary requirements even within the classifications will vary. Research must be done on the specific breed to ensure a proper balance of formulated foods, fruits and vegetables, and seed mixes.
Depending on the breed, the fruit and vegetable diet will be slightly different. However, regardless of parrot breed, the diet should never include avocado, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, fruit pits, persimmons, table salt, mushrooms, apple seeds or onions. These foods are considered to be toxic to all parrot breeds. For the health and safety of your bird, they should be avoided entirely.
Regardless of the bird breed chosen, the diet is a very important, very large aspect of their lives. Proper research and open communication with a veterinarian is key in ensuring that the diet is what it should be. A proper diet plays a major role is a parrot’s health, happiness and longevity.