Cockatiels require a small amount of fruit as part of their regular diet. These fruits should be varied to ensure that the bird consumes a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. So, what about bananas? Not only can these birds eat bananas – in moderation – cockatiels usually love them. They are rich in minerals and make a healthy snack, though they should be just that – a snack.
Out of all the fruits available out there, bananas probably require the least preparation. Cockatiels can quickly eat small amounts of peeled bananas. No cutting or prep is required! In many cases, these birds will also have a fun time eating the peel, which is often more of a long-term snack.
Are Bananas Poisonous to Birds?
No, bananas are not toxic to most birds – including cockatiels. They are entirely safe for them to eat in moderation. However, like most fruits, they are somewhat high in sugar. Therefore, you shouldn’t provide them in high amounts. This is also why berries are preferred over other fruits for parrots.
The peel is not toxic either – and you don’t have to worry about seeds because bananas don’t have them!
Bananas are more accessible fruits to feed to birds since they require very little prep. You don’t have to cook, cut, or specially prepare bananas!
Feeding your cockatiels the wrong mixture of seeds can be dangerous to their health, so we recommend checking with an expert resource like The Ultimate Guide to Cockatiels, available on Amazon.
This excellent book will help you balance your cockatiels’ food sources by understanding the value of different seed types, dietary supplements, fruits and vegetables, and cuttlebone. You’ll also find tips on everything from housing to health care!
What Parts of the Banana Can Cockatiels Eat?
Cockatiels can eat both the soft, inner fruit and the peel of the banana. Both of these are nutrient-dense and non-toxic. They don’t provide everything the bird needs to thrive, but each piece can be used to supplement your bird’s diet.
It is essential to remember that bananas are rich in sugar. While a little bit of sugar is okay for us, it should be avoided for our birds. They are much smaller and can be overwhelmed by a small amount of sugar much easier than we can.
You don’t want your cockatiel receiving tons of calories from sugar!
You can provide both the fruit and skin in small amounts. Most cockatiels prefer the fruit, and this is where most of the nutrients are. However, the skin is entirely harmless and can also provide some extra nutrition.
How Much Banana Can a Cockatiel Eat?
We recommend using bananas as part of the bird’s regular fruit intake.
However, a cockatiel’s fruit intake should only take up 5–10% of their diet. The rest should be made up of high-quality pellets specifically formulated to meet this species’ needs (this should form the bulk of their diet), vegetables, nuts, legumes, pulses, and seeds.
Can Cockatiels Eat Dried Bananas?
We don’t recommend it. Dried fruits really shouldn’t be counted in the fruit category. They’re much more like candy – though a healthier type of candy than actual candy.
On the one hand, dried fruit contains 3.5 times the number of vitamins and minerals than hydrated fruit because it is missing most of the water content. They are also higher in fiber and antioxidants by weight. Again, due to the lower level of water.
However, dried fruits are also very high in sugar. They have been concentrated and much of the water content removed. This sugar is the last thing that your cockatiel needs.
A dried banana’s calories almost come exclusively from sugar.
Whole, hydrated bananas are a much better option. Your cockatiel likely won’t be harmed from eating a small number of dried bananas, but we wouldn’t recommend it in the least.
The 3 Things to Avoid When Feeding Cockatiels Bananas
If you decide to provide your cockatiel with a sweet banana snack, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Bananas may be healthy and nutritious, but they can overeat them as well.
We highly recommend keeping these three points in mind:
1. Serving Too Much
You should keep portion sizes exceedingly small. Bananas should only be a portion of your bird’s fruit intake – and that intake should only make up about 5-10% of their diet. Usually, that looks like a piece or two of banana a week. It’s also best to rotate several different fruits in your cockatiel’s diet on a regular basis.
Too many bananas can lead to a higher sugar intake; the simple sugars found in bananas can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. This can be problematic if bananas aren’t portioned properly.
2. Feeding Too Many Peels
Peels are safe for parrots to eat in moderation. However, that doesn’t mean that you should allow your cockatiel to consume massive amounts of peels, though.
We do recommend only feeding a small number of peels. You want to feed your cockatiel mostly peeled bananas. Nibbling in small amounts is fine, but we don’t recommend anything beyond that.
Banana peels are technically safe, but they aren’t the best option for your cockatiel.
3. Processed Bananas
You should avoid processed bananas. Everything we’ve discussed so far has been about fresh bananas. Processed bananas are a completely different beast. Often, they include added ingredients that aren’t necessarily good for your cockatiel.
Banana chips fall into this category, but so do other processed foods. Generally, processed foods aren’t going to be toxic, but they aren’t helpful either. A piece or two should be fine – but any more than that could potentially be harmful. Therefore, they aren’t recommended.
Of course, you should always check the ingredient list for anything potentially toxic. A lot of the things we eat are not appropriate for cockatiels.
Plantains are raw bananas which are often found in some cuisines around the world. They’re often served cooked in human food recipes. Plantains are safe for cockatiels to eat; however, they are best when cooked. They shouldn’t be cooked with seasonings. Sliced plantains, cooked in boiling water for about 25 mins is safe for cockatiels to consume (after cooling, of course!)
Cockatiels can eat bananas in moderation. They’re an excellent snack to use as part of the fruit portion of their diet. However, they should eat relatively little fruit compared to pellets since fruits contain a lot of sugar and aren’t nutritionally balanced.
At the same time, they should also eat relatively little bananas in comparison to other fruits. You don’t want your cockatiel only to eat bananas.
They need a varied diet to remain healthy. You should offer other fruits alongside bananas and keep the general portion of each very tiny.
Featured Image Credit: t_watanabe, Pixabay