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Can Parrots Eat Eggplant? Vet-Reviewed Health Concerns

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

Heap of fresh eggplants

Vet approved

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Delicious fruits and vegetables that you want to add to your parrot’s diet must balance nutrition and safety. Any new foods must be double-checked to ensure that they won’t cause your bird any harm. So, are eggplants safe for parrots?

Ripe eggplant is generally considered safe in moderation, but you must keep the plant parts (leaves and stems) away from your parrot, as they are toxic.

Overall, eggplant is a mixed bag for parrots, and there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration. Read on as we discuss the good and bad of feeding this purple fruit to your parrot.

bird divider

About the Eggplant

Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are known for their deep purple, shiny skins and mild flavor, and they are used in a wide variety of dishes. They are also known to provide several health benefits for people. They contain a nice balance of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

They are also high in antioxidants, which are known to help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. The fiber found in eggplants can also aid in digestive system function.

Eggplant in a basket
Image Credit: Srattigan, Pixabay

Risks of Feeding Eggplant to Parrots

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family, and the leaves and stems of nightshade plants are poisonous to humans, animals, and birds. Tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers are also members of the nightshade family. Birds should not eat the leaves and stems of any of these plants.

While the fruits of nightshade plants are generally considered safe in moderation, many bird owners err on the side of caution and don’t feed them to their pets.

Signs of nightshade poisoning can include:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Labored breathing
  • Lack of urine production
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures

Eggplant contains the compound solanine, which is the reason for the bitterness in uncooked eggplant and is the cause of poisoning. It also contains small doses of oxalic acid, which can prevent vital nutrients, namely calcium, from being absorbed adequately.

Digestive upset can be fairly common after your parrot eats eggplant, especially the first time. Offer very small amounts to begin with and monitor them carefully after they eat it.

Veterinarian examining sick African grey parrot with stethoscope at vet clinic
Image Credit: Lucky Business, Shutterstock

Preparing the Eggplant

If you decide to offer eggplant to your bird, it’s essential that it is prepared properly. Start by washing it thoroughly to remove pesticides, chemicals, and dirt, then peel it. You should also ideally remove the seeds.

You can cook the eggplant by roasting, steaming, or boiling it, but make sure not to add any ingredients while cooking. Things like oils, salt, or other seasonings are quite harmful to parrots, so keep the eggplant plain.

Cooking the fruit will remove the bitter taste and potentially some of the solanine. Cut the eggplant into small chunks and serve it to your parrot.

Do Parrots Even Like Eggplant?

It depends on the parrot—some might like it, while others won’t. Eggplants can be bitter, so many parrots don’t like them.

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What Are Safe and Healthy Fruits and Vegetables for Parrots?

Many fruits and vegetables are safe, healthy, and tasty for parrots. Eggplants are considered fruits, along with tomatoes and peppers.

Safe vegetables for most parrots
  • Alfalfa
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Chicory
  • Pumpkin
  • Yams
  • Spring greens
Safe fruits for most parrots
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Guavas
  • Kiwis
  • Plums (remove stone)
  • Pomegranates
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Just remember that fruits should only be given to your parrot in small amounts. While they offer excellent nutritional benefits, too many aren’t healthy due to the high sugar content.

Macaw eating a popcorn
Image Credit: Manu M Nair, Shutterstock

Can You Give Eggplant to Different Species of Parrots?

Species-appropriate pellets should form the basis of any pet parrot’s diet, making up around 75% of their overall diet. Eggplant, although often thought of as a vegetable, is actually a fruit and should only form a very small addition to any species’ diet. With all species of parrots, we advise consulting with your avian vet before adding eggplant to their menu.

Large Parrots

Large parrot species like African Greys, Amazons, and Macaws can generally try properly prepared eggplant. Most parrots can be fairly picky, though, especially the African Grey, and many might decide that eggplants are too bitter.

Small Parrots

It’s important to bear in mind with small parrots, such as Lovebirds and Parrotlets, that they will need tiny portions because of their size.

Heap of fresh eggplants
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

bird divider

Conclusion

Eggplant has risks and some benefits. It is generally considered safe if you feed ripe eggplant, peel it, remove the seeds, and cut it into small pieces. It can be fed raw or plain cooked but you must never feed the leaves or any other part of the plant. That said, many parrot owners understandably don’t want to risk giving eggplant to their pets when there are so many other healthy and safe vegetables and fruits available.

As with many foods, the safety depends on several factors such as the size of your parrot, their individual dietary needs and any specific health conditions they may have. Before offering eggplant to your parrot, it is advisable to consult with your avian veterinarian first. They will be able to provide you with guidance on your bird’s diet and the best fruits and veggies that you can feed your parrot.

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Featured Image Credit: Oleksandr Zaiats, Shutterstock

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