When I first bought a parrot, I didn’t have a clue about whether a parrot eats the food of both animal and plant origin or just plant origin or only animal origin. Being confused about whether my parrot was omnivorous or not, it was difficult for me to plan its diet properly.
But, now after spending seven years raising parrots and adding three more parrots to my family of feathery pets, I know for sure whether parrots are omnivores or not.
So are parrots omnivores, herbivores or carnivores? Most parrots are omnivores. This means they can eat both vegetation and meat. Almost the majority of parrots eat vegetation like flowers, seeds, nuts, fruits, buds, drink juices as well as feed on worms and insects. Some parrots even enjoy meat as a snack or a bone with a little meat on it.
Depending on the species of the parrots, some parrots have a higher need for meat as meat is a great source of protein and these parrots require a high amount of protein on a regular basis.
However, usually, for most of the pet parrots, their regular bird food provides them with the necessary nutrition. To find out more about parrots as omnivores, read on.
Eating Habits of Parrots Which Make Them Omnivores
Parrots as Omnivorous Birds
Parrots are mostly known for eating nuts, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. However, most of the parrots are generally omnivores than herbivores. And there are even some parrots that mainly eat nectar.
Depending on species or types, parrots are omnivorous to a lesser or greater extent. Different types of parrots favor different types of food items. For example, Blue-throated Macaw enjoys eating fruits mostly, while a Hyacinth Macaw likes grains more.
Then there are also the Kea parrots of New Zealand (not available as pets) that are known to eat animals such as Shearwaters, rabbits and even sheep.
While in the wild, some parrots catch small birds, mammals or insects during the period when they feed their babies.
However, while in captivity, not all parrots eat meat or it isn’t necessary to give your parrots meat every day. Depending on your parrot’s species, type and need for protein intake, you should give your parrots meat.
If you want to know how to feed meat to your parrots and what meat is best to feed, read our article on parrots and meat here!
Foods an Ideal Diet for Parrots Must Include
Being omnivores, parrots eat vegetation as well as meat. The diet of most parrots includes fruits, nuts, flowers, seeds, buds and animals such as insects, worms, meat.
However, seeds are the favorite of the majority of parrots. The strong jaws that the parrots have, allow them to snap the nutshells open and eat the seed inside. Giving your parrots fresh foods and fresh water regularly is a way to take proper care of them.
(Just to let you know, water is equally important, if not more important than food! Parrots can’t survive long without water as we show you in this article! We also show you how to keep your parrot hydrated there!)
An ideal diet of a parrot means a varied diet that should include proper amounts of seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, along with some amount of protein sources such as meat.
Let’s find out in detail about the food items on your parrots’ ideal daily diet:
- Meat: Parrots are omnivores. Therefore, they can eat meat in their diet. Cooked chicken or cooked meat with a few shreds on a bone or the rib portions from cooked chicken can be a healthy source of protein for your parrots. Many parrots even crush the bones of the chicken piece given to them and eat the protein-rich bone marrow from inside. However, they never eat the bones. Sometimes, parrots also enjoy and can be given seafood or other meats.
- Pellets: Being made of a combination of vegetables, grains, fruits, and seeds, pellets have high nutritional value and can be fed to parrots on a regular basis.
- Nuts: Nuts being really high in protein and other minerals and vitamins, can be a good choice to feed your omnivore friends. However, nuts are also high in fat, hence; need to be fed to parrots in moderation.
- Seeds: Seeds also have certain nutritional values to offer, hence can be added as a part of a well-balanced diet. But remember not to make seeds a sole diet. Seeds are more like candies to your parrots. So, an occasional treat of seeds is fine as long as you don’t give seeds on a regular basis.
- Fruits and Vegetables: In case, you give your parrots pellets, make sure to limit the number of fruits and vegetables you give your feathery friends as pellets also contain fruits and vegetables. Eating certain fruits like berries may stain the droppings of your birds; hence no need to be worried.
Remember, not all parrots have the same dietary requirements, despite all of them being omnivores. Based on their different species, parrots may have different needs for certain nutrients.
In case your parrot is having an issue with its diet or showing signs of ill health, take your pet immediately to your nearest avian vet. When provided with the right food, parrots can be more active, more resistant to disease and live a longer and healthy life.
How to Feed Your Parrots?
Just like planning an ideal diet for your parrots is important, so is feeding them properly. The combination of an ideal diet and proper timely feeding ensure a healthy and long life to your parrots. Below are the details of feeding your parrot properly:
- Vegetables: When giving your parrots vegetables make sure they are clean and washed properly with fresh water; so that there stay no remains of any chemicals of any kind on the outer skin.
- Fruits: Similar to the vegetable, fruits must be washed thoroughly before giving them to your parrots. The seeds of some fruits may require to be removed since they contain toxic elements and may harm the health of your parrots. Give your parrots fruits depending on whether they like ripened fruits or not. Parrots who use the talons to eat, it is advised to give them julienne fruits or thin strips of fruits. Parrots that enjoy petite bites, giving diced fruits is best as it also helps in reducing wastage. For parrots who are hearty eaters of fruits, give them fruit chunks.
- Water: The water you give to your parrots must be changed twice a day on a regular basis. Plus, whenever any food particles are noticed inside the water, make a point to change it and give fresh water.
- Seeds: When giving your parrots seeds, make sure that they are fresh and free from bugs and aren’t moldy. In case your parrot prefers germinated or sprouted seeds, soak the seeds overnight in a bowl of clean water to germinate.
Are parrots vegetarian? No, parrots are not vegetarian as they eat food items of both animal and plant origin. Though meat isn’t the primary part of a parrot’s diet, parrots do eat meat, insects, and worms. It is the combination of grains, vegetables, insects and nuts that these omnivorous birds enjoy eating.
What are the foods not safe for parrots? Parrots love to share food with their human companions. But there are certain human foods which may not be safe for parrots such as, apple seeds, avocado, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, dried beans, chocolate, onions, the leaves, vines or stems of common garden plants, salty food, mushrooms, etc.
Are parrots predator or prey? Though parrots eat meat, insects, and worms, they are not predators. It is the humans who prey on these birds by trapping and hunting them. Also, big birds like hawks, eagles, owls and large snakes like boa constrictors, python, prey on parrots. Monkeys also prey on parrots’ eggs and baby parrots.