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Can Parrots Eat Papaya? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Guide

Codee Chessher

By Codee Chessher

Papaya Cut in half

Vet approved

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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Parrots are some of the most vivid and vivacious avian housemates you can have, but it’s not always clear what foods are and aren’t safe to feed them. Fruit should be okay, right? For instance, can parrots eat papaya fruit? Yes, all types of parrots can eat nearly every part of the papaya fruit with no problems. From the diminutive Parrotlet (Forpus spp.) or Lovebird (Agapornis spp.), to the larger parrots like the chatty African gray (Psittacus erithacus) or Macaw (Ara macao), papaya is a juicy sweet treat any pet parrot will love to chow down on. They can even eat the seeds too.

bird divider

Is Papaya Healthy for Parrots?

Yes, papaya is healthy for parrots, and they love it, which makes it a great tropical treat to add variety in their diet. Papaya contains a wealth of beneficial nutrients that contribute to a healthy avian diet, including high water content and healthy fats. They can even eat the seeds too with recent research suggesting that papaya seeds might actually help treat some intestinal parasites in birds. To help your parrot make the most of their papaya, peruse some of our handy feeding tips right below.

Tips for Feeding Your Parrot Papaya:
  • Always wash papaya thoroughly to minimize cross-contamination.
  • Stay away from frozen, canned, or preserved papayas, which contain high amounts of added sugar and other potentially harmful preservatives your parrot doesn’t need.
  • Remove the papaya skin before dicing—the skin contains latex that some parrots may be allergic to.
  • Although your parrot can eat papaya seeds, don’t overdo it, as too many can cause digestive upset.
  • Dice the papaya fruit into small, manageable chunks your bird can easily eat.
Green parot eating a slice of papapya
Image Credit: Hlib Shabashnyi, Shutterstock

Risks of Papaya for Parrots

Every rose has its thorn, and even the juicy papaya has some health considerations when adding it to your parrot’s diet:

  • Allergies: Some parrots are allergic to the latex in papaya skin, making it crucial to remove it for affected birds.
  • Pesticide toxicity: Pesticide residue can cause acute poisoning in parrots, so be sure to wash any fruit before serving..
  • Gastrointestinal upset: Parrots who eat a lot of papaya seeds can suffer upset stomachs and diarrhea, so moderate your bird’s papaya intake to prevent this. Eating too much of any fruit can also cause digestive issues, so it is important to feed a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.

What Do Parrots Eat Regularly?

There are hundreds of varieties of parrots, and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to their diet. Most are omnivorous rather than herbivorous; some species need more protein, while others eat a nectar-based diet, so it is vital that you choose a diet that is right for your parrot species. The Macaw, for instance, appreciates a diet rich in fruits and nuts that would be abundant in their tropical natural habitat, whereas some cockatoo (Cacatuidae) species are adapted to more arid environments, with a diet that is much more varied.

50-70% of your pet parrot’s diet should consist of a pellet food formulated specifically for their species. This will ensure that their minimum nutritional requirements are being met. In addition to this, you will need to provide them with a range of fresh food items, such as leafy greens, fresh vegetables and fruit, seeds and nuts, and plenty of fresh water. Some parrot species, like the Amazons (Amazona spp.) or cockatoos, will happily munch on a cooked chicken thigh bone as a source of protein and calcium, while others enjoy a bit of boiled or scrambled egg. If you are wanting to add some insects to your parrot’s diet, be sure to source them from a reputable pet store rather than from your own garden, to reduce the risk of pesticides or parasites.

Speak to your vet or avian specialist about how to make sure your parrot is getting everything they need, and remember that variety is extremely important when it comes to feeding your feathered friend.

papaya slices
Image Credit: akepong srichaichana, Shutterstock

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Wrapping Up

Unsurprisingly, parrots love tropical papaya, so it’s great to know that it is a safe and healthy option for them. It’s important to wash the fruit thoroughly before offering it to your parrot, and don’t feed them too much. Remove the skin to avoid any risks of allergy or pesticides, and make sure you are using all the right ingredients for your parrot species.

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Featured Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

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