Bananas are edible and fleshy fruits produced by a particular herbaceous plant belonging to the Musa genus. They are often associated with monkeys because it’s their favorite fruit. Many birds including parrots also love bananas as well.
Like many other types of fruit, bananas are something that parrot owners like offering to their birds. In fact, many parrots love to eat bananas too, and they are often easy fruits to introduce to parrots. It is okay to offer your parrots bananas either as a treat or as a part of a balanced diet. They are generally safe and highly recommended fruits for your bird.
The only caution you have to exercise when feeding bananas to your parrot, is to give them in moderation. Although they don’t pose much risk to the parrots, too many bananas may not benefit your parrot nutritionally.
THE VERDICT: Can parrots eat bananas? YES, parrots can eat bananas. Read more below!
Are Bananas Good for Parrots?
There are different types of bananas commercially available out there. While bananas are elongated in shape, they are actually considered a berry! While there are more than 1000 types of bananas, more than half of them are inedible. The most common banana types that are eaten all over the world include Cavendish bananas, pisang raja, and plantains.
Nutritional Information of Bananas
Bananas have nutritional benefits that are essential for the general health of a parrot. They are a rich source of the following vitamins, minerals, and nutrients:
Parrots don’t store vitamin B6 in their bodies. Therefore, you’ll need to consistently supplement vitamin B6 as it is necessary for your parrot’s health. Luckily enough, bananas contain plenty of vitamin B6.
Aside from facilitating digestion in parrots, vitamin B in general also enables the regulation of stress, especially during mating or molting seasons.
Bananas are also loaded with vitamin A. Here is how vitamin A may be able to benefit your parrot:
- Improves eye health
- Boost night vision
- Facilitate cell growth
- Boost immunity
- Enhance feather health
- Improve reproductive health
Vitamin A deficiency is very common in parrots, especially with those that rely on a diet of seeds only. A parrot lacking Vitamin A is more vulnerable to diseases, and a condition called Hypovitaminosis-A. So, it’s important that you provide your parrot with adequate vitamin A for him to stay healthy – bananas as part of their diet can be an option.
Bananas are rich in magnesium. Magnesium is one of the essential nutrients that regulate biochemical reactions in a parrot’s body, including the synthesis of new proteins. It’s essential for bone development and the creation of strong beaks.
Potassium is required to enable nerve cells to transmit signals properly. It is also needed to facilitate muscular contractions, balance fluid levels in the body, and metabolism of glucose and proteins.
A lack of potassium in your bird’s diet can lead to high amounts of body fluids being expelled from the body, as well as other conditions such as:
- Weak muscles including respiratory muscles
- Poor heart health
- Decreased egg production, thinner-than-usual egg shells
Parrots require vitamin C as they cannot produce it themselves. Vitamin C helps in some major functions in parrots including:
- Helping in wound healing
- Reduces risk of contracting diseases
- Prevents iron deficiency
- Necessary for growth and development
A banana contains around 2% of fiber. Fiber improves the digestibility of other dietary components in parrots. It enhances the movement of the digestive tract; therefore, creating better mixing and absorption of nutrients in a parrot’s body.
Bananas contain iron, a mineral that is responsible for the following:
- Manufacture of hemoglobin that is responsible for carrying oxygen
- Support healthy skin and feathers
- Boost immune system
- Conversion of blood sugar to energy
However, excess irons can affect the normal functioning of the organs while too little iron can lead to anemia. In birds, a health condition called iron storage disease results from too much iron accumulating in their liver. Birds eating diets with high iron content may not need this additional source of iron from bananas.
Are Bananas Bad for Parrots?
Too much of a good thing is always a risk, and this applies to bananas as well. Be sure to check on the recommended number of bananas to feed your parrots because parrots are normally prone to obesity. A large macaw parrot requires around 220 Calories in a day while a budgie needs approximately 12-16 Calories in a day.
On the other hand, a single banana contains between 89-120 calories. This gives you an estimation of how you should balance your parrot’s diet in such a way that you don’t exceed the recommended calorie content.
For example, if you give your macaw a 100g banana in a day, you’ll be left with 120 Calories to work with from other food sources.
In any case, it is never ideal to make fruits such a large part of your parrot’s diet, as our home-based, caged parrots live sedentary lives, while diets high in fruits are often high in sugar as well. This is not ideal for a sedentary lifestyle and can lead to health issues down the road.
Do Parrots Love Bananas?
Parrots do enjoy bananas. It’s probably because bananas taste great and are easy to eat. Bananas offer the parrot a lot of nutrients in a small package. The only disadvantage is that wild parrots don’t come across bananas as we do buy in the grocery store, so it is highly likely that this is not part of many parrots’ natural diet.
Among my three parrots, only Loki the lovebird does not enjoy bananas because she does not like getting wet and sticky food all over her beak! Depending on the parrot’s personality, we may observe differences in preferences too.
How Many Bananas Can I feed My Parrot?
You can give your parrots 2-4 pieces of bananas in a week. The size of the piece depends on the size of your parrot – smaller parrots need only a small slice, while larger parrots can eat bigger chunks.
Otherwise, bananas should not be a staple fruit in your parrot’s diet. It’s sometimes suggested that we give them at least three different fruits every day (in small quantities) to provide some much-needed variety of nutrition.
How To Feed Parrots Bananas?
There are some fun and nutritionally recommended ways to offer your parrot bananas. Here are some of the tips you should consider when feeding parrots bananas:
Feed Parrots Raw Bananas
Parrots prefer them raw. So, it would be better if you give your parrot raw bananas. Besides, raw bananas are fully loaded with nutrients. Cooking eliminates most essential nutrients required for the wellbeing of a parrot.
You can only offer your parrots cooked bananas when they are sick and are not in a position to tackle a raw banana. However, cooked bananas don’t add any real value apart from their strong fruity aroma. They are just more edible. You may get a similar result if you mash up a raw banana to make it easier for your sick bird to eat it.
Give it Fresh
Fresh bananas contain maximum nutrients. Long storage strips them of all nutritional benefits. Cooking them also destroys nutrients. So, it’s advisable that you offer your parrots fresh bananas as a healthier choice.
Green Bananas are also acceptable
Parrots can also eat green (unripe) bananas, but like normal (ripe) bananas, give them in moderation. Green bananas are high in starch content and lower in sugar, but all those starch eventually convert into sugars after being digested in your bird’s body. In general, it is not always the best idea to feed our parrots high amounts of sugar in their diet.
Offer Bananas to them in a large chunk, diced, or mashed
The thing about parrots is that they are just like human beings. Sometimes we like our food to be presented to us in a certain way in order to make it look more palatable and appealing to us. Parrots like such variety too! So, if your parrot is not touching the banana that you placed in their food bowl, try offering the banana in different forms – sliced, diced, or mashed. It takes time to figure out what textures your parrot prefers best.
Let them watch you eat, and offer them some
Parrots are often curious about what their owners are eating, and want in on the action too! Some birds that are not familiar with bananas may be hesitant to touch them if they are not aware that they are edible fruit. Sometimes, when owners themselves eat a banana in front of their parrot, the bird might take the cue and have whatever their owners are having.
So, if you find that your parrot is wary of trying out a piece of banana in its bowl, try eating a banana in front of it and offer to let him bite a piece as well!
Just take note that when sharing food with parrots, avoid letting them come into contact with you saliva, as human saliva can contain certain gram negative bacteria (Pasteurella) which could infect your parrot. Parrots do not have the immunity to fight against these types of bacteria.
Can I Feed Banana Peels to Parrots?
Parrots like feasting on banana peels. Unlike humans, parrots love the rubbery texture of banana peels. Banana peels from organic origin can be safe for consumption if you are sure they do not contain pesticides. In general, bananas are often grown with intensive use of pesticides, which get absorbed in the peel with time. Some of these pesticides eventually penetrate to the flesh, but not as much as some other fruits. However, the peels themselves are often very laden with pesticides. Some people also smear chemicals on the banana skin to fasten ripening.
You may not be able to completely get rid of the chemicals if you wash them thoroughly. So, in a nutshell, avoid feeding your parrots banana peels if you aren’t sure of their source. There are always other sources of food and toys to keep your parrot entertained, which are safer for their health.
Bananas are an excellent source of nutrients for parrots, containing many essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, B, and C, potassium, magnesium, and iron. They also contain fiber which is good for maintaining gut health. Therefore, you should incorporate them in a parrot’s diet, but in moderation. Bananas, like many other fruits, are high in sugar and starch, and it is not the best idea to give them bananas as a large percentage of their daily diet. Always take precaution when feeding banana peels since they are normally full of harmful chemicals and pesticides – go for organic in this case, or don’t feed at all.