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Can Parrots Eat Oranges? Vet-Approved Feeding Facts

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

Oranges_shutterstock_ PosiNote

Vet approved

Dr. Ashley Darby Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

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

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This article has been reviewed for factual accuracy by a qualified veterinarian, using information available at the time of publishing. Parrot owners are urged to consult with their veterinarian when making dietary decisions for their pet. This article is designed to provide general information but it does not take into account your pet’s health status or circumstances.

Parrots refer to hundreds of species of bird in the Psittaformes order. Some species have unique diets and may require seeds, insects or flowers in their diet. Fruits are a natural part of the diet for some species, and a wide variety of fruits are greatly appreciated by them and provide lots of important vitamins and minerals. Juicy oranges and other citrus fruits are favorites for many parrots, and they’re perfectly safe to feed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.

Let’s dive more into the benefits and downsides of oranges for parrots.

bird divider

Are Oranges Healthy for Parrots?

In moderation, yes. Oranges are a source of vitamin A, which is important for various areas of a parrot’s health, including the respiratory system and immune system. Unfortunately, some parrots suffer from vitamin A deficiency—especially parrots that are fed only seeds and nuts. This is why supplementing the diet with fruits and vegetables is essential.

Another reason oranges are good for parrots is that they contain calcium, which is a very important vitamin for parrots as it contributes to bone, feather, nerve, and muscle health. It also helps them produce healthy eggs. All that said, as mentioned in the intro, parrots should be fed a variety of fruits and vegetables to reap as many nutritional benefits as possible.

sliced orange
Image Credit: JumpStory

Can Parrots Eat Orange Peels?

It may be best to just stick to feeding the juicy part instead of the peel to be on the safe side. The peel contains psoralens that can cause skin sensitivities in many animal species in high enough quantities. There may also be pesticides present on the peel. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee every parrot will enjoy eating the peels—they’re pretty bitter and tough, after all.

How Much Orange Is Appropriate for Parrots?

Fruit should only make up a portion of your parrot’s diet—it should never be the only thing they eat. Approximately 20% of the diet should be made up of fresh fruit and vegetables (including bell peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, mustard greens, collard greens, and many more), and only a fraction of that should include fruits, seeds and nuts.

Other fresh foods you can offer include cooked whole grains like rice, barley, quinoa, oats, etc. High-quality, species-appropriate, parrot pellets should also be fed, and these account for 80% of the overall diet.

This is just a general guideline, though—we’d urge all parrot owners to check with their vet how much fruit is appropriate for their bird in particular. One of the reasons to avoid feeding large quantities of fruit is that it’s high in natural sugars.

Oranges in particular are also quite acidic, so may cause a stomach upset if parrots eat too much. Therefore, it’s probably best to stick to feeding small portions of fruit.

Other Fruits Safe for Parrots

  • Apples (not the seeds—these are toxic)
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Passionfruit
  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Citrus fruits
  • Papaya
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
Close up parrot budgerigar eats mandarin orange at home background
Image Credit: Kolotygin Igor, Shutterstock

Which Foods Are Unsafe for Parrots?

So, you’ve got the green light to feed your parrot oranges and a variety of other fruits in addition to pellets, vegetables, and appropriate amounts of whole grains, seeds, and nuts, but which foods are dangerous for these birds?

Avoid feeding any of the following foods to your parrot:
  • Avocado
  • Salty, fatty or sugary foods
  • Seeds containing cyanide such as apple, cherry, apricot, plum and peach seeds
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa
  • Caffeine
  • Uncooked beans
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Whole celery sticks due to the strings
  • Dairy products
  • Processed meats

bird divider

Final Thoughts

As with many other kinds of fruit, parrots can eat oranges in sensible amounts. Too much could lead to an upset stomach or weight gain, so it’s wise to speak with a vet experienced with parrots to ascertain the correct portion sizes of all the different kinds of foods your parrot will eat (pellets, fruits, vegetables, etc.).

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Featured Image Credit: PosiNote, Shutterstock

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