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What Do Parrots Eat in the Wild and as Pets?

Nicole Cosgrove

Parrots are a favorite pet for bird lovers because they are large, intelligent, and have big personalities. In order to properly care for your pet parrot, you have to know what to feed it. In this article, we are going to look at what parrots eat, both in the wild and in captivity. Let’s get started.

chicken feet dividerParrots in the Wild

Parrots are considered one of the most intelligent wild birds. They have the ability to replicate human speech because of their intelligence. They also are pretty easy to spot in the wild because of their colorful feathers and plumage.

Wild parrots are found in many different countries, but nearly all of them are located in the southern hemisphere because of its warmer temperatures. That being said, there are some rare species of parrots that also like the cold.

Parrot open beak on the tree
Image credit: Creator88, Shutterstock

Where Do Parrots Live in the Wild?

In the wild, most parrots are found in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia, Mexico, and countries in South America and Africa. The Maroon-Fronted Parrot, however, prefers snowy climates and is not found in these locations.

Unlike many other species, parrots are often monogamists and only made with one other bird their entire lives. Despite monogamists mating, parrots are incredibly social and often live in flocks. African Grey Parrots are especially social, and their flocks can include 20 to 30 birds. As you would expect, you can find flocks of parrots flying around or sitting in the trees.

What Do Parrots Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, parrots are omnivores. Omnivore is just a fancy word that means their diet consists of both meat and plants. Parrots in the wild eat an assortment of nuts, fruits, buds, flowers, seeds, and insects. Of these different food sources, seeds tend to be their favorite.

In fact, parrots are known for their very strong and curved beak that has evolved specifically for breaking open seeds. You will often find parrots on the ground whenever they are hunting and eating. Most parrots hunt throughout the day, though a few species are nocturnal.

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Parrots in Captivity

Even though you should never own a wild parrot as a pet, parrots born in captivity make great additions to many homes. Parrots are especially sought after in the exotic pet trade because of their intelligence and personality. People who love birds often prefer parrots because they can replicate human speech and perform other tricks that require high amounts of intelligence.

hand holding and feeding parrots
Image Credit: Sergey Saulyak, Shuttterstock

Do Parrots Make Good Pets?

Parrots actually make surprisingly great pets. Even though dogs, cats, and small mammals are more popular, parrots are still low maintenance and low-cost pets. At the same time, they recognize people and enjoy your company. For people who love birds, parrots can be a great pet.

However, pet parrots are not great for everyone. Parrots are very loud, messy, and need a lot of stimulation to be happy. If you live in an environment where loud talking is not permitted, the parrot likely isn’t for you. Similarly, if you don’t want to pick up after your bird or provide it the intellectual stimulation it needs, go with a different pet.

It is really up to your preferences and living situation to determine if parrots make a good pet. For most bird lovers, parrots are the absolute best pet to own.

What Do Pet Parrots Eat?

If you have never owned a parrot before, you might find it intimidating to pick out its right diet. Nevertheless, feeding a parrot is actually really easy and isn’t too expensive. You might have to stop by a pet shop instead of a local grocery store for bird seed, but it is super easy to find the proper diet for parrots today.

Veterinarians recommend feeding your parrot a diet that consists primarily of pellets. About 50% to 70% of the parrot’s diet should come from these pellets. Look for pellets that are organic and made from a variety of seeds to keep your parrot happy and healthy for long term.

The remainder of your parrot’s diet should come from fresh foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Raw and steamed vegetables are ideal, as are legumes and nuts. Don’t feed your parrot too much fruit because it is high in sugar, but you can feed them fruits as a treat.

Provide constant pellets for the birds to peck on throughout the day and feed them vegetables and other raw foods once or twice a day.

Macaw Parrot
Image Credit: 192635, Pixabay

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As omnivores, parrots eat a whole lot of food. In the wild, parrots often eat seeds, nuts, insects, and fruits they find on the jungle floors. In captivity, you don’t have to feed parrots live insects or anything like that. Instead, provide them a diet primarily of bird seed and then supplement the rest of their diet with raw foods.

If you provide your parrot a healthy diet, it can last for many years. You can even use certain treats, like fruits, to train your parrot and bond with it.


Featured Image Credit: Hans Braxmeier, 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.