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Can Parrots Eat Avocado? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Parrots make great pets in the right home, and they are one of the more fun pets to own for a number of reasons. One of the top reasons that parrots make interesting pets is their ability to eat a widely varied diet of fresh foods. They can eat dozens of things found at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, so you may have wondered if your parrot can eat avocado with you. Here’s what you need to know about parrots and avocado!divider-birds

Can Parrots Eat Avocado?

parrot plucking itself
Image Credit: Bekker24, Shutterstock

Sorry avocados, you’ll have to sit this one out! Parrots cannot safely eat avocado. While the pit and skin are highly toxic to parrots, the flesh of the fruit is also toxic. In fact, it’s one of the most toxic fruits and veggies for your parrot.

Avocados contain a chemical compound called persin. Persin is a fungicidal toxin that leaches from the pit into the flesh of the fruit. It is oil-soluble and similar in chemical appearance to fatty acids. While levels are low enough to not hurt humans, it’s unknown how much persin is safe for parrots, so it is recommended to avoid giving parrots avocados and avocado products, like guacamole, altogether.

What Can Happen if My Parrot Eats Avocado?

avocado-pixabay
Credit: dahliane, Pixabay

If your parrot gets ahold of a bite of avocado, it’s likely that there won’t be any problems, but since it’s unknown what amount of persin is safe for parrots, it’s ideal to completely avoid it and keep the entire fruit out of reach of your bird. If your parrot gets ahold of some avocado, it’s a good idea to touch base with your avian veterinarian to ensure there is no immediate concern for your bird’s wellbeing. Your vet will be able to tell you if the bird needs to be evaluated and what to watch for in case your bird begins having issues.

In large enough quantities, persin can lead to cardiac problems for your parrot. If allowed to continue to consume avocados over time, your parrot may even develop heart failure because of the toxin. It can also lead to weakness, breathing problems, and sudden death. The cause of sudden death is not fully understood, but it’s likely that it’s directly related to sudden heart failure due to the persin levels consumed.

What Can I Offer My Parrot Instead of Avocado?

Red-Lored Amazon Parrot side view eating_Maciej Czakejewski_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Maciej Czakejewski, Shutterstock

Even if your parrot could eat avocados, they wouldn’t be an ideal food because of their high fat and calorie content. Although they are often considered healthy due to their high levels of unsaturated fats, they are a very fat-dense and calorie-dense food. Foods that are high in fatty acids that are healthy for your parrot in moderation include fatty fish, like sardines, tuna, and salmon. They can also safely eat nuts, eggs, and cheese. However, it’s important to keep in mind that all of these foods should be fed in moderation. Fatty, calorie-dense foods should not be offered on a daily basis to your parrot.

Ideally, your parrot should be offered fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, and commercial parrot pellets daily. Healthy fruit and vegetable options for parrots include peas, artichokes, green beans, zucchini, beets, banana, apple, berries, kiwi, pomegranate, and okra, but this is not an all-inclusive list. Seeds and grains can include corn, barley, millet, quinoa, rice, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. Hemp seeds are a good alternative to avocado due to their high fat content, but they are over 200% higher in calories per gram than avocado. Flaxseeds have almost as much fat as avocado, but they are higher in fiber and protein than avocado.

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In Conclusion

Although exceptionally healthy for people in moderation, avocados are not a safe food choice for your parrot. The good news is that there are tons of great alternatives to avocados that can meet the same nutritional needs, without risking your parrot’s health. Seeds and nuts often contain high levels of fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals, while fruits and veggies can be great sources of fiber, healthy sugars, vitamins, and minerals.

Many of the alternative foods that are safe for your parrot are significantly less expensive than avocados as well, with the price of avocados in most of the US exceeding $2–3 per fruit. Apples, berries, bananas, green beans, and peas are all affordable foods that are great for your parrot. Nuts and seeds can be pricier than fruits and veggies but will still likely cost you less per ounce than avocado.


Featured Image Credit: silverstylus, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.