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Can Parrots Eat Parsley? Vet-Reviewed Health Concerns

Annaliese Morgan

By Annaliese Morgan

curly parsley up close

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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Disclaimer: This article has been fact checked by a veterinarian, using information available at the time of review. It provides a guide for food safety and should not be considered an individual nutrition plan for your parrot. We recommend consultation with a veterinarian before making any dietary changes.

Parrots are diverse, beautiful, engaging, colorful, and intelligent creatures, so it’s no wonder they have become one of the top choices as a pet. Their specific diet and nutritional needs vary with their species, warrant proper research and conversations with an avian expert or veterinarian. This is to ensure they receive the correct daily nutrition specifically for their species, but with that knowledge under your belt, you may be looking as to what foods you can include in their daily food or treats.

We all love to give our pets a healthy snack or make them a nice meal, so if you want to feed your parrot parsley or use it as a regular addition to their main food, you are in luck! This herb is non-toxic to parrots in general (although some species may be different), but only in moderation. Parsley is better as a supplement and not as a main green. However, let’s investigate a little further about feeding parsley to your parrot and keeping them healthy.

bird divider

What Is Parsley?

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum or P. sativum) is an herb and belongs to the same family as carrots. It is a mild aromatic herb commonly used in Mediterranean recipes and as a garnish on soups, meat, and fish dishes. It is available in two forms: French curly-leaf parsley and Italian flat-leaf parsley. It depends on which country and continent you live in as to which is the most popularly used, but both are generally available, and this nutritious herb can be bought dried as well as fresh, thus increasing its convenience, cost viability, and versatility.

parsley
Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

Can Parrots Eat Parsley?

Although this can vary from species to species, in general, parrots require around 30-50% fresh fruits and vegetables, alongside their species-appropriate parrot pellet diet and a few seeds. Some vegetables and fruits are toxic to parrots and some are safe for them, and knowing which is which is essential information to know. Fortunately, parsley is safe for your parrot to consume in moderation.

Parsley does contain vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, and fiber, but a warning has to be placed here, as parsley does contain a substance called oxalic acid. Too much oxalic acid can limit the absorption of calcium within the body. Limiting calcium absorption can have negative effects and impacts on your parrot. This risk is even more of a concern if your parrot is breeding or has an underlying medical condition, particularly if it is a health issue where their calcium may already be compromised.

Parsley, if over-consumed, has been shown to cause increased sensitivity to sunlight in other species of birds.1 This can lead to skin irritation and sunburn. While this effect is not proven in parrots, it is not a stretch to think it may occur.

It is, therefore, prudent to check with your veterinarian or bird expert if this is safe to offer parsley to your parrot specifically, as each parrot and species of parrot is different. There are over 400 species of parrot, so generalizing is not the best practice, as what may be good for one parrot may not be good for another.

If you decide to offer this herb within their daily veggie mix, serve small amounts, and alternate it with other parrot-safe vegetables and fruits, rather than using it as the sole source of fresh greens.

close up of parsley
Image Credit: ArtActiveArt, Pixabay

What Herbs Can a Parrot Eat?

Many vegetables, fruits, and herbs are safe and healthy for parrots to eat, and it is beneficial to feed them a diet as close to the one they would consume in the wild as much as possible. Therefore, a portion of their daily nutrition should come from fresh vegetables and fruits, and it is recommended this should be around 30-50%, although again, there are species variations. We know parsley can be used as one of those in very small amounts, but what other herbs can you offer to your parrot to keep up the variety?

The following list is not an exhaustive one, but they are classed as non-toxic to parrots.

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Coriander

Can Macaws Eat Parsley?

Macaws can have parsley, but it should not be a huge part of their diet. Macaws will need more seeds and nuts than other parrots due to their requirement for fat. Offer pellets as a majority of the diet as well as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Parsley
Image credit: photosforyou, Pixabay

Can African Grey Parrots Eat Parsley?

While a little parsley won’t hurt an African grey parrot, it may not be the best inclusion into their diet. These birds are the most prone to calcium deficiencies, so feed parsley with caution.

Can Amazons Eat Parsley?

Yes, Amazon parrots can have parsley. These medium-sized birds are prone to obesity, and it is recommended that fruits and vegetables represent 40% of their diet. Offer a variety of produce for maximum benefit and give more vegetables than fruit. Amazons are omnivorous and may also enjoy insects or a little meat. Of course, their pellets should be the majority of their diet.

Can Lovebirds Eat Parsley?

Lovebirds will enjoy a mix of plant parts in their diet, including parsley leaves, but give only a little parsley a few times a week. Offer a rotation of safe produce as 20-25% of the diet, along with a species-specific commercial food as 75-80% of the diet.

parsley plant close up
Image Credit: Jumpstory

bird divider

Conclusion

Herbs are a great and tasty way to add variety to the fresh fruit and veggie section of your parrot’s diet. However, due to the slight risk associated with parsley, serve in moderation and check with your veterinarian before you do, as they are the best ones to advise regarding your bird specifically.

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Featured Image Credit: JumpStory

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