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What Can Lovebirds Eat? 20 Household Foods For Your Bird

Have a lovebird as a pet and want to know how to add some extra variety to its diet? Or are you thinking of getting an Agapornis and trying to figure out what foods they can eat? Great! A proper diet is one of the most important factors in keeping any parrot happy and healthy.

I often get asked about various foods and whether lovebirds can eat them. Let’s have a look at the 20 foods that I receive the most questions about and if they make a good option for a lovebird snack.

Can lovebirds eat human snacks?

Lovebirds can absolutely eat human snacks! Well, some human snacks, that is. As we all know too well, many human foods are processed and can be especially salty, fatty, or sugary, which could prove to be detrimental to our birds.

Here, we’ll discuss several foods that lovebirds can safely eat that you’ll probably already have in your pantry. We’ll also go into a few that are unsafe and should definitely be avoided. 

If you’d like more information about what constitutes a healthy Agapornis diet, don’t forget to also have a look at the full article on parrot food & diet.

Agapornis fischeri on a perch | What can lovebirds eat?

20 safe foods for lovebirds

Overall, there are many different foods that we humans like that can be just as safe and nutritious for lovebirds. Of course, fresh veggies are always a great option. Fruits can be a delicious healthy treat, too! However, most fresh fruits tend to have quite a bit of sugar, so moderation is key.

Fresh is always best. Our birds should never have canned fruits or veggies, as these are often processed with excessively sugary syrups or have a high sodium content.

Nuts and seeds also make great occasional treats. They tend to be quite fatty, though, so they should only be served in moderation. 

Can lovebirds eat bread?

Technically speaking, lovebirds can safely eat bread. That being said, though, most breads, like white bread, have very little nutritional value for the birds.

Instead, small bits of whole-wheat bread can be given to lovebirds as an occasional treat. Just don’t make it a habit!

Can lovebirds eat cashews?

Cashews are high in fat, so they should only be fed as an occasional treat. And only raw and unsalted cashews, at that.

Cashews do actually have many important nutrients for lovebirds. They contain iron, magnesium, vitamin K, and vitamin B6, as well as protein and fiber. 

Can lovebirds eat oranges?

Lovebirds can eat citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines in moderation. They are full of Vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system. They even have properties that have been linked to improving heart health in both humans and animals!

Remember to peel oranges and tangerines before giving them to your bird, as the outside of the fruit may have been exposed to pesticides that can be harmful to birds.

While in moderation, oranges and tangerines are safe for lovebirds to eat, it is still best to avoid other citrus fruits like lemon and lime as they are too acidic and can cause an upset tummy. Chances are lovebirds wouldn’t like the tart taste anyways! 

Agapornis fischeri lovebird perched next to a slice of orange.
Fresh orange makes for a healthy lovebird snack.

Can lovebirds eat blackberries?

All berries make great treats for lovebirds, but they certainly can be messy! Don’t worry if your parrot ends up looking like it just committed a murder.

Despite the mess, blackberries especially have amazing nutritional value for lovebirds. They are packed full of vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin K. They also contain manganese, which helps lovebirds better metabolize their food. 

Can lovebirds eat coconut?

Fresh coconut can be an especially tasty treat for lovebirds. Because it does have a high fat content, it should be only served in moderation, but if you’ve just cracked one open it’s fine to share a little.

Remember to avoid coconut cream or coconut with added artificial sweeteners. Dehydrated and desiccated coco are fine in small amounts, as long as they’re sugar-free.

Can lovebirds eat cabbage?

Lovebirds can eat cabbage. It’s actually a great source of calcium as well as vitamins C and K, which are known to help protect and boost the immune system.

Cabbage can be served both raw and cooked. You can offer whole leaves or chop them into small pieces. It’s best remove the outer layer and stem before feeding cabbage to a lovebird, as these parts can be a little more difficult to digest. 

Can lovebirds eat corn?

Fresh corn kernels are a great source of vitamins A, C, and E for lovebirds. Corn is a good example of a healthy carbohydrate! Although it’s sometimes pointed out as a possible cause for yeast infections in parrot crops, this should be easy enough to avoid by not feeding it on a daily basis.

You can offer pieces of corn on the cob whole, with the husk and silk still attached, to encourage foraging behavior.

Rosy-faced lovebird eating corn

Can lovebirds eat bananas?

Peeled bananas are a delicious treat for lovebirds and are often a fan favorite! They are rich in potassium and fiber, which help to promote digestive health. Bananas can be served in their raw form, either sliced up or mashed.

Plantains are also a beneficial treat for lovebirds. However, it’s best to cook them by boiling in water before serving, as they can be a little difficult to digest in their raw form. 

Can lovebirds eat sesame?

Sesame seeds can be a great addition to a lovebird’s meal. Just sprinkle a small pinch of unsalted sesame seeds on top of their food! It’s a good source of both protein and healthy unsaturated fat. Both black and white sesame seeds are fine.

Keep in mind that moderation will, of course, be key. Sesame seeds do have a fair amount of fat. This can eventually add up and result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. 

Can lovebirds eat broccoli?

Lovebirds can eat broccoli, and for some seed addicts the little seed-shaped buds are among the only vegetables they will eat. So share a floret or two when you’re cooking up some broccoli for yourself!

Even in small amounts, broccoli has many health benefits. For example, it promotes strong, healthy bones thanks to its manganese and calcium content. 

Can lovebirds eat almonds?

Yes, almonds are a delicious treat for lovebirds. They can be served both raw and roasted, so long as they are unsalted. They are high in protein, calcium, and fiber.

Lovebirds would benefit from having the almonds chopped into smaller pieces due to their fat content. You can give these little slivers as training treats or just to tell your lovie that you love them too.

Can lovebirds eat strawberries?

Strawberries can be a really healthy occasional treat for lovebirds. Because of their sugar content, they should only be served sparingly, but they do offer other nutritional benefits. They contain vitamins C and K, as well as potassium. 

Strawberry tops also make a great lovebird snack. They’re lower in sugar and calories than the actual berries and contain lots of micronutrients.

Rosy-faced lovebird with strawberry.

Can lovebirds eat cherries?

Lovebirds can eat cherries so long as the pits have been removed. This is because stone fruit pits are actually toxic, although luckily a small parrot like an Agapornis won’t be able to crack them and reach the dangerous bits.

All types of stone fruit including cherries, are safe for your parrot as long as the pits are removed. Other examples of stone fruit include peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and mangoes, just to name a few. Most are a bit high in sugar, but our birds adore them.

Can lovebirds eat grapes?

Grapes are a healthy treat for lovebirds, though they are best served in moderation due to their sugar content. They contain nutrients like vitamins B1, B6, C, and K.

Grapes also have various anti-inflammatory properties that can help decrease the risk of various diseases and ailments. 

Can lovebirds eat basil?

Lovebirds can eat basil, and they’ll love to nibble on a fresh basil plant! It’s a win-win situation: your parrot gets a healthy snack, and your home ends up smelling wonderfully like Italian food.

In fact, lovebirds can eat most herbs. Other options include coriander, dill, mint, oregano, and rosemary, just to name a few. The benefits of fresh herbs for lovebirds are numerous. They support good digestive health and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Can lovebirds eat carrots?

Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables for lovebirds. Most love the sweetness and the crunch. Carrots can be served whole or chopped up.

Serving the carrots whole can be a great way to provide some mental stimulation for your lovebirds as they enjoy pecking at and shredding it! Don’t remove the carrot tops, as those are edible and very healthy.

Lovebird eating buttonwood (Conocarpus) fruit.
Wild and feral lovebirds consume seeds, flowers, berries and more. This one is eating berries from the buttonwood (Conocarpus) tree.

Can lovebirds eat watermelon?

Yes, lovebirds can eat watermelon and its seeds. Watermelon is full of vitamins like vitamins A, B1, and C.

Just be sure to remove the rind, as this part of the watermelon is more likely to have been exposed to pesticides and other such chemicals. 

Can lovebirds eat celery?

Lovebirds can definitely eat celery. It contains a range of vitamins like vitamins A, B9, C, and K, as well as important minerals like magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Celery is a healthy and nutritious food for lovebirds, as it is low in calories and high in water content, which can help keep your parrot hydrated. Pieces of chopped celery also make excellent treats to use for enrichment activities like foraging. 

Can lovebirds eat apples?

Lovebirds can absolutely have a slice of apple as a treat. It will be important, though, to make sure the core is removed and that there are no seeds in the apple slice. The pips can be toxic to birds.

Apples are healthy in moderation. They contain a good bit of sugar, but also vitamin C, as well as copper, manganese, and potassium. 

Can lovebirds eat cucumbers?

Most lovebirds love to eat cucumber slices. They make great treats with valuable vitamins and minerals.

In addition to their nutritional benefits, cucumbers can also provide lovebirds with a fun and enriching activity, as they can be fed in small pieces and offered as a foraging toy. Zucchini should also work fine.

Peach-faced lovebird eating sunflower seeds from the plant.
A feral peach-faced lovebird eating sunflower seeds directly from the plant. Matt Mets, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4 unsafe foods for lovebirds

Can lovebirds eat avocados?

Avocados are one of the most dangerous foods for lovebirds, and they should always be avoided. Unfortunately, avocados are highly toxic to birds in general.

A substance known as persin that is found in avocados is believed to be the reason avocados are toxic to birds. Persin is found in all parts of the avocado, including the fruit, leaves, and bark of the avocado tree itself. 

Can lovebirds eat cheese?

Lovebirds should not eat cheese. In most cases, it will lead to an upset stomach, a cranky bird and sometimes even diarrhea.

Soft cheese especially are high in a sugar called lactose which, like many humans, lovebirds just can’t digest properly. Cheese is also high in salt and sodium, which can result in electrolyte imbalances and dehydration in lovebirds and other parrots.

Can lovebirds eat honey?

Unfortunately, honey, especially raw honey, can be dangerous for lovebirds. When raw and unprocessed, honey may contain Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that can lead to botulism in birds.

Botulism is a serious respiratory illness that, unfortunately, often turns deadly. So it’s best to just give honey a miss in favor of other treats!

Can lovebirds eat meat?

While technically omnivores, meaning that they can eat foods from plant sources and foods from animal sources, lovebirds in nature don’t naturally eat meat.

If you are looking for ways to increase their protein intake, like for a laying bird that needs extra nutrients, a few bites of boiled egg or a few freeze-dried mealworms should be sufficient along with their daily food. 

Conclusion

Overall, there are loads of different foods that lovebirds can eat that are beneficial to them. Remember to introduce new foods slowly, and only offer treats in moderation.

From strawberries to cabbage and even mealworms, there are so many ways to incorporate different healthy foods into our lovebirds’ diets. Remember, a healthy and varied diet is the key to a happy and long-lived parrot!

Sources

Hargis, A. M., Stauber, E., Casteel, S., & Eitner, D. (1989). Avocado (Persea americana) intoxication in caged birds. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 194(1), 64-66.

Tanzi, M. G., & Gabay, M. P. (2002). Association between honey consumption and infant botulism. Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, 22(11), 1479-1483.

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