Can Cockatiels Drink Tea? (Find Out!)

I was having a cup of tea in the lounge the other day, when my cockatiel came over and started chirping away around my tea.

He clearly wanted to put his head in and take a drink, but this was my tea and I wasn’t sharing it.

Nonetheless, it did make me laugh, and I was wondering if I should make a cup for him, too.

I wasn’t sure if tea was safe for them, so I decided to find out.

So, can cockatiels drink tea?

While it largely depends on the type, any tea containing caffeine is not safe for your cockatiel. Anything containing milk, furthermore, is also not safe. Sugar, finally, can be problematic. ‘Tea’ defines a rather large spectrum of things, but in general, you shouldn’t give your cockatiel tea.

While it is very often tempting to share these kinds of human treats with our feathered friends, tea is, as a general rule, not safe for cockatiels.

We mean a lot of different things by the word ‘tea’, though, so let’s get into the specifics of what we mean by this.

Read on to find out more.


Is breakfast tea safe for cockatiels?

Breakfast tea, or black tea, is what people are most commonly referring to in the west when we talk about tea.

It is a caffeinated blend of black tea leaves which one would drink in the morning, often mixed with milk and sugar—much like coffee.

Breakfast tea, in and of itself, is not safe for cockatiels.

Black tea contains quantities of caffeine which, though often barely noticeable for us, could be harmful for them.

Again, these breakfast teas are formulated for people, so you can imagine how much caffeine our bodies can handle compared to a small cockatiel’s.

All of the other components of a typical cup of tea also present problems.

Tea is rarely drunk black, but usually with milk.

Milk is certainly not safe for cockatiels, as the lactose will sit undigested in their gut, giving them diarrhea.

Sugar, too, in the concentrations found in a typical cup of tea, is harmful for a cockatiel.

Even if you don’t use milk or sugar in your tea, you still have the problem of caffeine.

So, under any circumstances, breakfast tea is not safe for cockatiels.


Can cockatiels drink white tea?

Tea is a fascinating thing, as you can get countless varieties—but they all come from the same plant!

It’s just about how you cultivate the plants.

White tea is another variety much more popular in Asia and the east.

White tea is actually one of the most highly, naturally caffeinated varieties you can get.

So, though white tea typically isn’t consumed with milk or sugar, it does still contain that all important problem: caffeine.

There’s far more caffeine in white tea than even in many breakfast teas, so you should absolutely avoid feeding this to your cockatiel.

Even a small amount could cause harm.

So, while we might think of white tea as being less highly caffeinated, it is actually more so, even in its natural state.

Do not share white tea with your cockatiel.


Can cockatiels drink green tea?

Green tea comes in some of the greatest variety, and again, whether it’s safe for your cockatiel all depends on the caffeine content.

Some green teas are naturally caffeine free—others are treated to contain large amounts of caffeine.

Caffeine is incredibly dangerous, though, so even a tiny amount can cause serious problems like arrhythmia and even cardiac arrest.

If your green tea is caffeine free, it may not be so much of a problem.

However, given the dangers associated with caffeine consumption, we would suggest it’s best not to get into the habit of doing this.

Don’t let your cockatiel have green tea.


Can cockatiels drink herbal tea?

Herbal tea is essentially just an ordinary tea which has been infused with another ingredient for flavor.

Herbal tea could denote any number of different base varieties, like green, white or black.

So, whether or not the tea is herbal is really not the question.

Again, the only important question is the caffeine content, and the baseline color of tea that was used.

Obviously, it’s herbal white tea, it will be too dangerous.

Some herbal green teas may be okay, but again, we think it’s best not to get into the habit of doing this.

Some herbal teas may be caffeine free and present no danger, but as I said, it’s simply a bad habit, and the risks associated with caffeine consumption are too great.

Do not allow your cockatiel to drink tea deliberately.


So, while some of the herbal options, without milk or caffeine, are mostly safe for cockatiels, as a general rule you should not feed them tea.

They may show interest or curiosity, but this is just it—curiosity.

They really only need to drink water, and the potential harm associated with drinking tea is not worth the reward of the treat.

Give them water, and find some food treats to give them—whatever you do, don’t let them have caffeine.

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