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Toxic Foods for Pet Birds

Toxic Foods for Pet Birds 1

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The health and well-being of our pet birds are determined by several factors, one of the most important being the food we give them. The diet of our feathered friends should exclude certain foods that, while good for us, can be dangerous for them.


  1. Garlic, onion, shallot, leek, scallion…
  2. Fruit seeds and pits
  3. Avocado
  4. Raw potatoes
  5. Chocolate and coffee
  6. Dairy products, meat, and fish
  7. Other toxic foods for pet birds
  8. Why are these foods toxic for pet birds?

Garlic, Onion, Shallot, Leek, Scallion…

Onion, garlic, shallot, scallion (green onion), and leek belong to the Alliaceae (or lily) family and the Allium genus. These foods should be completely avoided in any form (raw, cooked, or dried) in the diet of pet birds, regardless of the species.

The danger these vegetables pose to the health and life of pet birds is due to the sulfur compounds they contain. When chewed, these compounds generate thiosulfinates, which then convert into dipropenyl disulfide, proven to be toxic to the bodies of our feathered companions. It triggers the destruction of red blood cell membranes, leading the bird to develop anemia.

These sulfur compounds also cause significant irritations and ulcers.

Fruit Seeds and Pits

Fruits and vegetables are essential for our birds as they provide valuable vitamins and minerals. However, their seeds and pits are dangerous.

For example, apple seeds and almond pits are toxic once digested by birds. They contain a derivative of cyanide, which can cause digestive symptoms ranging from discomfort to death.

It is also recommended to wash fruits thoroughly and peel them, as the skin may contain traces of pesticides.


Avocado is also among the foods to be avoided in the feeding of our pet birds. Firstly, because it is too fatty for them, but also because it contains persin, a toxin that can lead to a variety of symptoms, including apathy or, conversely, restlessness, vomiting, and respiratory difficulties. In severe cases, it can even cause sudden death in birds.

Raw Potatoes

Raw potatoes contain solanine, an alkaloid (a glycoalkaloid, to be more precise) that can cause digestive disorders in birds, even in tiny doses. Therefore, raw potatoes should also be avoided.

Chocolate and Coffee

Just like for dogs and cats, chocolate and coffee are extremely dangerous for birds. The reason is that they contain theobromine and caffeine (a compound similar to theobromine), which can cause liver and heart failure.

These alkaloids can trigger cardiac or respiratory arrest in birds shortly after ingestion.

Dairy Products, Meat, and Fish

Birds are unable to produce the necessary enzymes to digest dairy products, meat, and fish. Therefore, they should not be given these foods.

Toxic Foods for Pet Birds

Other Toxic Foods for Pet Birds

The list of toxic foods for pet birds also includes:

  • Mushrooms
  • Peanuts (especially for smaller birds, only give in small quantities to larger parrots)
  • Eggplant
  • Rhubarb
  • Citrus fruits
  • Raw tomatoes (in small quantities)
  • Sweet and salty foods
  • Alcohol

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and it is always important to research and consult with avian experts to ensure the safety and well-being of your pet bird.

mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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