Can Cockatiels Eat…? 18 Vegetables For Cockatiels

Home » Parrot diet » Can Cockatiels Eat…? 18 Vegetables For Cockatiels
Home » Parrot diet » Can Cockatiels Eat…? 18 Vegetables For Cockatiels

Can Cockatiels Eat…? 18 Vegetables For Cockatiels

Thinking of adding a cockatiel to your family and wondering what your new feathered friend can and can’t eat? Or are you just trying to add some variety to your pet bird’s diet? Great! Fresh veggies are packed with nutrients and should be part of any domestic parrot’s daily meals. But which ones are safe?

Keep reading for a list of 18 cockatiel-safe vegetables!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small percentage will go directly to Psittacology at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Psittacology!

Feeding a cockatiel fresh vegetables

Some of the foods on this list are technically fruits, botanically speaking. Still, gastronomically, they’re considered vegetables, which is why they’re still on this list.

Obesity and malnutrition are huge issues among pet birds, including cockatiels. Including plenty of vegetables in your bird’s diet can help prevent it from becoming overweight and ensures it gets all the nutrients it needs.

Not sure what to feed? A high-quality pelleted food works well as a staple and can be supplemented with lots of veggies, some fruits, (sprouted) seeds, and more.

Below, you’ll find 18 vegetables that are safe to feed to your feathered friends.

Tip: You can find more information on what to feed a cockatiel in the full cockatiel diet guide!

Split image showing a cockatiel parrot at the top and a pile of vegetables at the bottom.

Can cockatiels eat hot peppers?

Many cockatiel owners may be hesitant to give their bird hot peppers because they worry about the spiciness of jalapeños, chiles and the like. Luckily for cockatiel owners, they can rest assured!

Hot peppers don’t taste spicy to birds, as birds lack the capsaicin receptors that we mammals have. Without these receptors, birds are immune to the spicy sensation caused by capsaicin in peppers. They can munch away on the hottest Carolina Reaper without the slightest bother – just don’t give your cockatiel a kiss afterwards!

Can cockatiels eat carrots?

Carrots are a wonderful snack for cockatiels, as they are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and an assortment of other tasty benefits.

The crunchy texture and bright color of these veggies make them a favorite for many cockatiels. Feed carrots whole to encourage foraging, or chop them into small bits if your bird isn’t used to eating vegetables yet.

Can cockatiels eat cucumber?

Sure! Cockatiels tend to like this vegetable. The entire cucumber is safe for your bird to eat. Be sure to leave the skin on, as it’s the healthiest part.

Consuming a lot of cucumber can cause loose stools in parrots for a few hours due to the high water content, but this isn’t something to worry about.

Can cockatiels eat tomatoes?

Though you may read elsewhere that parrot owners should avoid feeding tomatoes to their birds due to the high acidity levels, the truth is it is very unlikely that your cockatiel will have an adverse reaction after consuming them.

Feeding your bird unripe tomatoes or their leaves and stems should be avoided, but ripe tomatoes, tomatillos, and tamarillos are all acceptable options for your feathered friend.

White cockatiel parrot with a bowl of finely chopped vegetables.
You can combine finely cut fruits and vegetables with seeds, grains and more to make parrot chop.

Can cockatiels eat celery?

Celery stalks, leaves and seeds are perfectly fine for your cockatiel to eat. They’re hydrating and full of fiber. My birds particularly like munching on the leaves!

Some sources suggest that the stringy texture of the stalks can cause issues, but this seems highly unlikely. In any case, most ‘tiels leave the toughest strings anyway.

Can cockatiels eat basil?

Okay, I know, technically a herb! Basil can be found in many varieties, including sweet basil, Thai basil, and lettuce leaf basil.

Cockatiel owners will be happy to know that their crested companions can consume all types of basil. Get your birds a $2 basil plant from the supermarket and they’ll go to town – it’s healthy and cheaper than buying parrot toys.

Can cockatiels eat corn on the cob?

Yes, cockatiels love eating corn on the cob! They are capable of consuming both cooked and uncooked corn on the cob, with many suggesting that uncooked corn on the cob is actually healthier and preferred by most birds.

Cockatiels can even eat popcorn so long as it is unseasoned! If you’re making some for yourself, just set a few kernels aside for your bird before adding butter and other flavorings. It’ll be highly appreciated.

Can cockatiels eat broccoli?

Broccoli is a hit among most cockatiels. You can offer this rockstar vegetable in both its cooked and uncooked forms, including the stems and even the leaves.

Just be sure to avoid any seasoning on broccoli fed to your feathered friends! If you don’t want to feed it raw, just steam or blanch it without any salt or oil.

Lutino cockatiel eating chopped broccoli and carrot from a cutting board.
Broccoli and carrots are two highly nutritious veggies for your cockatiel to try.

Can cockatiels eat spinach?

Cockatiels are definitely fond of spinach, and this nutritious leafy green is packed with vitamins and an abundance of health benefits. It is advisable to feed birds uncooked spinach, as some of its nutritional benefits are lost when it is cooked.

Do remember that spinach is high in oxalates, which can cause health issues if it’s overfed. To take advantage of its nutrients but avoid problems, try feeding it no more than once a week.

Can cockatiels eat cilantro?

Cockatiels definitely don’t have the gene that makes cilantro (also known as coriander) taste like soap: most love it. Both the leaves and the stems of cilantro are safe for cockatiels to consume, and birds are able to enjoy both fresh and dried cilantro!

If you have cilantro seeds on hand for cooking, you can also offer those to your bird. They’re safe and make a nice change from the regular cockatiel seed mix.

Can cockatiels eat pumpkin?

Cockatiels can eat both cooked and uncooked forms of pumpkin, including the skin and the stringy bits (known as fibrous strands). All types of pumpkin are fine, including the ones that we don’t tend to like the flavor of, like jack-o-lanterns.

In addition to the pumpkin flesh, cockatiels also love pumpkin seeds. Just don’t give them too many at a time, as the seeds are quite high in fat.

Can cockatiels eat lettuce?

Lettuce is a very safe vegetable for cockatiels to consume, as it mostly consists of water anyway. Remember: the darker the leaves, the healthier the lettuce, with iceberg being pretty much devoid of nutrients.

As with other watery veg like cucumber and celery, your cockatiel may produce watery stools for a bit if it eats a lot of lettuce.

Male grey cockatiel parrot being offered a romaine lettuce leaf.
My cockatiels would sell their souls for a romaine lettuce leaf!

Can cockatiels eat parsley?

Parsley can be an occasional treat for cockatiels, as they can safely consume any part of the plant. Both flat-leaf and regular parsley are fine.

Do keep in mind that parsley is pretty much top of the list in terms of oxalate content. Don’t feed it on a daily basis to prevent an increased risk of your bird developing bladder stones.

Can cockatiels eat potatoes?

Potatoes are an acceptable food for cockatiels, you should never feed raw potatoes to your bird. They contain highly toxic compounds. Cooked potatoes are just fine, although they don’t offer a ton of nutritional benefits for birds.

Cooked sweet potatoes or yams are a better alternative, as they contain more (micro)nutrients compared to normal baked, red, or yellow potatoes. 

Can cockatiels eat peas?

Cockatiels can safely eat both cooked and uncooked peas, and either option provides them with terrific sources of protein and a variety of other benefits. Wild parrots eat a variety of legumes!

Frozen peas are also a perfectly acceptable option for your cockatiel, but make sure they don’t contain any added salt before feeding them.

You can also feed snow peas and snap peas. Offer them whole and let your bird enjoy digging the good stuff out of the pods!

Can cockatiels eat bell pepper?

Just as cockatiels appreciate a hot pepper snack, most love eating bell peppers whenever they get the chance. When feeding any type of pepper to your crested companion, be sure to remove the stems, just as you would with any nightshade since they’re toxic.

Other than the stems, your bird is safe to enjoy all other components of a pepper! You can give your cockatiel the heart with the seeds to munch on instead of throwing it away.

White cockatiel parrot being offered a pointy green pepper.
Any type of pepper is great, including the pointy mild varieties.

Can cockatiels eat cabbage?

Cabbage – all types, including brussels sprouts – is absolutely a great treat for cockatiels, as it contains far more nutrients compared to similar options like lettuce.

Feel free to feed your feathered friend cooked or uncooked white, red, Chinese, savoy or other cabbage. Bok choy is perfect as well, particularly the green parts of the leaves.

Can cockatiels eat mushrooms?

Whether or not cockatiels can eat mushrooms is a bit of a controversial topic. There are many extreme accounts out there suggesting that mushrooms are a deadly item for parrots like cockatiels to consume, but these anecdotes likely contain little truth.

The reality is that it would likely be acceptable to feed your cockatiel a mushroom from the store. It’s highly doubtful that your bird will drop dead after consuming it and many bird owners have been feeding this edible fungus for years. Still, there are many alternatives. If you’d rather be safe than sorry, just pick another food from the list.

If you’d like to know more about the Great Mushroom Controversy, have a look at the post on parrots and mushrooms.

Three unsafe vegetables for cockatiels

Can cockatiels eat garlic?

For the most part, a small nibble of garlic here and there is unlikely to be detrimental to the health of your bird, though owners should never intentionally feed their birds garlic.

Cockatiels that consume garlic in an extremely concentrated form like garlic powder can experience negative health consequences, so owners must ensure that their pets do not have access to any spices.

Can cockatiels eat onions?

Garlic and onions both belong to the allium family, so consumption of either of these vegetables will produce similar effects. Onions can cause the same problems as garlic, so bird owners must keep these vegetables away from their cockatiels.

Other members of the allium family include leeks, chives, shallots, spring onions and more.

Can cockatiels eat avocado?

Consumption of avocado can lead to all sorts of health complications in birds, including death if a lot is consumed.

Here, too, a small nibble is unlikely to harm your bird. However, owners should definitely try to keep avocados away from their birds, as more than a few bites could put them in danger.

Sources & further reading

Baylis, S. M., Cassey, P., & Hauber, M. E. (2012). Capsaicin as a deterrent against introduced mammalian nest predators. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 124(3), 518-524.

Péron, F., & Grosset, C. (2013). The Diet of adult psittacids: Veterinarian and ethological approaches. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 98(3), 403–416.

  • Marijke Puts

    Marijke is a full-time niche blogger and pop science writer, founder of Psittacology, and overly enthusiastic bird mom. Originally from The Netherlands but living in sunny Spain, she spends her time wrangling cockatiels, writing about parrots, cooking, diving and hiking. About me

18 thoughts on “Can Cockatiels Eat…? 18 Vegetables For Cockatiels”

  1. I have a male cockatiel he is 13 years old. His name is Pete .Pete has Arthritis in his left foot I took him to the Vet and they gave me some drops to put in his mouth! Do you think I should get a 2 appenion?

    • Hey! Sorry to hear about Pete’s foot. What does it say on the drops? If you’re unsure, a second opinion is always a good idea, even if it’s just to reassure yourself. I don’t have an article on avian arthritis, but if you’d like to read more, my colleagues over at do. Good luck, hope he feels better soon!

  2. I have a male cockatiel. His name is Rio. He is just 4 months old. He is hesitant to eat some fruits like apple and guava. How should I make him eat

    • Hi! Aww, I wouldn’t be too hard on him, he hasn’t been weaned for that long. Just keep offering the fruits. Place them in a familiar feeder and if it really takes him a long time to catch on, you can use the usual tricks like pretending to eat the foods yourself. Good luck 🙂

        • I’ve heard of this. It’s it being used as a filler in foods that can be problematic, right? I doubt this is relevant in parrots, since various species actually eat legumes in the wild (not green peas, but still). They’re probably more well-adapted to receiving them in their diet. I tried to find some scientific articles for “avian dilated cardiomyopathy” but none of them relate to parrots and legumes. I found one that briefly mentions it in relation to turkeys. If you stumble upon anything else, let me know!

  3. Hi
    I am very pleased about this article. Living in a country where there is not avian vet, these really provide the necessary information to help cockatiel owners to growth heir birds properly. I got a question though, is it okay to feed them with non organic vegetables. Since the organic ones are really rare on the market. Also, can they eat that part of the carrot which is in the middle ( central stele)

    • I’m glad you found it helpful! Yes, you can feed non-organic vegetables, but it’s a good idea to peel them or at least wash them well. And yes on the central part of the carrot as well, that makes no difference whatsoever with the rest of the carrot for your cockatiel 🙂 Good luck!

  4. Thank you for this article it help me a lot to know what to give my birds I have a female and a male Paloma and Picachu
    Thank you

  5. Apollo is 8 months old. He’s very picky with veggies. Likes broccoli & watermelon. We feed him a very small piece of bread 3 times daily which he enjoys during our meal times. Is it safe for him?

    • Hey! They can be so picky. Bread is fine as an occasional snack, especially if it’s whole-wheat, but 3 times a day is a bit much. I’d just give him some pellets if you want him to have a meal along with you. For veg and fruit, just keep trying! Mine are very picky but they do like leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and basil. Have you given that a try? Good luck 🙂

  6. Hi. I have a male cockatiel. His mate passed away a few months ago. He is very upset all the time. He very loud with his noises. I try to spend more time with him. Can I get another female cockatiel to keep him company. I don’t know how old he is. My boyfriend got both of them from a friend. I had him for about 9 years now.

    • Hey! Sorry to hear you lost your other cockatiel. I can imagine he’s upset, they really adhere to the safety in numbers principle so he likely feels uncomfortable. I like to keep two cockatiels at a time, so if you’re willing to commit to another one, that’s what I would do. It doesn’t have to be a girl, two boys get along 95% of the time as well and it means no hassle with broodiness and eggs. Since you’re not sure how old he is, maybe you can look at older birds in rescues or that need rehoming?

      Good luck, I hope he calms down. Poor lad!

  7. I have male and female cockatiels and they are so shy when I try spending time with them they scream and bite idk what to do I found out that the male like cabbage so that might help


Leave a Comment