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Can cockatiels eat…? 15 fruits for cockatiels

Are you considering seeing if your cockatiel likes fruit? Awesome! Fruit can be a regular part of your feathered friend’s diet, as most types contain an array of important (micro)nutrients that contribute to their health. Additionally, a varied diet enriches your bird’s life and prevents it from getting bored!

Keep reading for a list of 15 cockatiel-safe fruits that you can share with your feathered pet.

How to feed fruit to your cockatiel

You can offer fruit in different forms to make things exciting. Giving whole pieces means your bird will be busy eating for longer, which makes for a more natural mealtime experience. You can even skewer the fruit on a parrot kabob to make things even more challenging!

Cutting fruit into small bits, on the other hand, works well for cockatiels who are still apprehensive about the concept and may be scared of large pieces. You can sprinkle some seeds or pellets on top to convince a parrot new to fresh food to give it a try.

How much fruit should you feed your cockatiel?

Before we move on to the list of cockatiel-safe fruits, I’d first like to stress that it’s not a good idea to feed your ‘tiel large amounts of fruit on the daily. You can leave all sorts of vegetables for cockatiels available to your bird at all times, but most fruits are unfortunately just too sugary!

Before giving your bird a whole banana, consider that the fruits we humans eat have generally been selectively bred to contain high amounts of sugar, in order to make them more appealing for our consumption. They’re a long way removed from the half-ripe fruits from trees that we have never even heard of that some wild parrots eat.

Note that I said some wild parrots – cockatiels aren’t actually among the fruit eaters in the wild. As discussed in the full article on cockatiel diet, they’re naturally granivores that subsist mainly on all sorts of ripe or unripe grasses and seeds.

This being said, the points on fruit being a good addition to a cockatiel’s diet still stand. Fruits and berries are high in nutrients and make meal time more exciting. Just don’t overdo it!

With that out of the way, let’s move on to a complete list of 15 cockatiel-safe fruits!

Can cockatiels eat...? 15 fruits for cockatiels

Can cockatiels eat bananas?

Yes! If you’re having a banana, you can totally share a slice with your cockatiel.

In addition to fresh bananas, cockatiels would love to eat a crunchy, dried banana chip. Just make sure you get a brand that doesn’t have added sugar.

Can cockatiels eat strawberries?

Yup! Berries like strawberries are actually a bit lower in sugar than many other fruits, making them a particularly good choice for your bird.

Frozen strawberries are also safe for your cockatiel to consume, though make sure you thaw them before feeding. And don’t be spooked if your cockatiel ends up stained and looking like it just committed a murder!

Can cockatiels eat watermelon?

Definitely! This juicy fruit is a great option to keep you and your bird hydrated on hot summer days, as like the name suggests, the vast majority of a watermelon consists of water. Again, though: sugar. Don’t overdo it.

Can cockatiels eat blueberries?

Everyone knows that blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, so feeding these blue wonders to your bird will allow them to enjoy the same benefits that we humans do.

Giving your bird a blueberry or two a couple of times per week would be perfect.

Can cockatiel eat peaches?

For sure! Peaches are a delicious, succulent snack for any cockatiel. Likewise, plums and nectarines can be safely enjoyed by your feathered friend. The closely related apricot is also a great choice, as it’s lower in sugar than many other fruits.

Just make sure your ‘tiel doesn’t gnaw on the pits of any of these fruits, as they are toxic! The chances of them being able to open one are low, but let’s be safe rather than sorry.

Can cockatiels eat grapes?

Yes, and many ‘tiels love them. Although grapes can be toxic to other pets, such as dogs, they are perfectly safe for birds. This fruit is very high in sugar, though, so don’t give more than half a grape once in a while.

You can also use raisins as a treat, but be sure to choose organic. Non-organic raisins, and especially sultanas, have been treated with sulphur dioxide to make them last longer and preserve their color. That’s not something you want to feed to your feathered pet on the regular.

Male cockatiel parrot eating from human hand.
I introduced grapes to my rescue cockatiel by sprinkling a few pellets on them.

Can cockatiels eat oranges?

Yes, although you should take it easy when it comes to citrus fruits.

Oranges and clementines are okay in small quantities, but lemons and limes are a bit too acidic. Just as in humans, they can cause stomach upset in birds if they eat large amounts.

Can cockatiels eat blackberries?

Much like blueberries (and many other types of berries!), blackberries are stuffed with healthy antioxidants and many other benefits.

Since blackberries are larger than blueberries, it is best to limit your crested companion to one or two blackberries per week.

Can cockatiels eat pineapple?

Cockatiels tend to adore pineapple, which is great because this juicy fruit is full of fiber and potassium. Feeding your feathered friend fresh pineapple is ideal, as the entire fruit is safe for consumption.

You can also feed canned or dried pineapple, but this is not the best choice. Most brands are laden with sugar and don’t offer the same nutritional benefits.

Can cockatiels eat mango?

Absolutely! Mangos contain plenty of vitamins A and C as well as lots of other benefits.

Unfortunately, mangos also contain lots of sugar, so owners should only feed small amounts to their cockatiels. I like to give mine the pit when I’m done with it. They love to pick off every last bit of remaining flesh, an activity that can keep them busy for hours.

Can cockatiels eat raspberries?

Raspberries are perfectly safe for your ‘tiel to eat.

As with any berry, a raspberry’s skin is quite permeable, so it may contain trace amounts of pesticides if they were applied during its growth. This is why it is always better to feed your cockatiel organic produce, as their small size makes them more susceptible to harm from pesticides compared to humans.

Can cockatiels eat apples?

Yup, and they tend to appreciate the crunchy texture. Leave the peel on for extra fiber, though be sure to wash the apple before feeding.

As is the case with several other fruits on this list, apple seeds can be dangerous for your bird to consume, so be sure to remove any seeds from the fruit!

Apple slice held by clothespin with cockatiel parrot in the background.

Can cockatiels eat cherries?

Yes! Cockatiels love cherries, and these tart treats are a great occasional snack for your crested companion.

Do remember that the center of a cherry pit contains a compound that is converted into highly toxic cyanide by the body. Although I don’t see a cockatiel cracking open a cherry pit, just be safe rather than sorry and remove the pits.

Can cockatiels eat pomegranate?

Definitely! And unlike many other fruit seeds on this list, pomegranate seeds are completely safe. The edible seeds of a pomegranate, which are known as arils, are rich in folate and vitamin K. These nutritional benefits make them a wonderful snack for your ‘tiel.

Though small, pomegranate arils are very sweet, so your bird should not consume more than two or three in one sitting.

Can cockatiels eat cantaloupe?

For sure! Cockatiels can safely enjoy cantaloupe, honeydew, piel de sapo and many, many other melon varieties.

There’s no need to remove the seeds from the melon before feeding it. Melon seeds are perfectly safe and most parrots love to crack them. In fact, leaving the seeds can make the whole fruit more attractive for birds who are still apprehensive about fresh foods.

Conclusion

Fruits make for a wonderful addition to your cockatiel’s diet, as they provide your bird with vitamins and minerals that are not available in a typical diet of pellets. The added variety to their diet enriches their lives. Most cockatiels are crazy about fruit! Even if yours isn’t, it’s a good idea to keep offering it so it eventually gets used to the concept.

While some parrots such as macaws are frugivorous (eating mostly fruit), cockatiels are primarily granivorous. Fruit shouldn’t be a staple – a premium pelleted food is a much better choice for that.

Pieces of fruit are like candy bars for cockatiel: they are delicious, but they contain way too much sugar for your bird to eat consistently. The optimal diet for your crested companion could look a little like this:

  • 70% pellet food
  • 15% fresh vegetables and sprouts
  • 10% fresh fruit
  • 5% dry seeds and treats

When introducing new food to your cockatiel, it is always a good idea to give them a small amount to make sure it agrees with them. Fruits are no different, so give your ‘tiel small pieces of new fruit and see how they react before offering them a full serving. Luckily, cockatiel owners can be confident that any fruit mentioned on this list, as well as many others, are safe for their birds to eat.

Sources

Elizabeth A. Koutsos, Kevin D. Matson, and Kirk C. Klasing “Nutrition of Birds in the Order Psittaciformes: A Review,” Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 15(4), 257-275, (1 December 2001). https://doi.org/10.1647/1082-6742(2001)015[0257:NOBITO]2.0.CO;2

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