Eclectus parrots should have a diet of seeds, fruit, vegetables, and nuts. There are some exceptions, such as onions and avocado. They cannot eat anything outside of this group, including meat, dairy, or really any highly processed food, such as chocolate and coffee. Stick to fruit, veg and seeds.
An Eclectus parrot’s diet is really quite simple, then.
They should stay away from anything that isn’t fruit, vegetable, seed or nut.
They will get all the nutrition they need out of these groups of food, and even as treats, there’s no need to give them anything from outside these foods.
What do Eclectus parrots eat?
For an Eclectus parrot to have a complete diet, all you need to feed it are the following four things: fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts.
You can also complement the diet with feeding pellets, but this isn’t completely necessary if you can get enough variety in what else they eat.
Depending on who you ask, though, the distribution of each food group might be slightly different.
Fruits, vegetables, and seeds will make up the bulk of the diet—around 75%.
On top of that, you’ll have things like nuts and perhaps pellets just to get the extra balance and variety in there.
In terms of which fruits and vegetables, then, the sky really is the limit.
There are a couple of important exceptions which I’ll get into more detail on later, but with those handful of exceptions aside, virtually all fruits and vegetables are good for your Eclectus parrot.
Each Eclectus parrot is likely to have its own tastes and preferences, so the best way to find out what yours likes is to try a lot of different things.
The same is true of nuts and seeds.
Commercial parrot feeds are a great way to be sure you’re getting a good nutritional profile into your parrot’s diet, and these are typically made up mostly of seeds.
Nuts play a much smaller—around 5 to 10%– role in your parrot’s diet, but they are still a very important part.
My advice is always that the diet you give them should be the best approximation of what they might find in the wild—so what do they eat in the wild?
What do Eclectus parrots eat in the wild?
In the wild, Eclectus parrots are found throughout Oceania.
They live in Australia, the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea and a few other islands.
They tend to live in wetland and rainforest environments, where food is abundant.
Most of what they eat in the wild is fruit, and any wild vegetables where they can find them.
They will also eat a lot of seeds in the wild.
It can be a bit harder to find them in the quantities they need to get reasonable nutrition from them, though, so they can often rely a lot more heavily on fruits.
Generally, wild fruits are far lower in sugar content than farmed fruits.
This is part of why a heavier seed diet is more advisable for a domestic parrot, because fruits bought in the grocery store may be slightly too high in sugar.
Again, though, it’s overall very simple. Fruits, nuts, and seeds, and vegetables where they can find them.
That’s an Eclectus parrot’s complete diet.
So, what should they avoid?
Can Eclectus parrots eat meat?
No, Eclectus parrots cannot eat meat.
They are obligate herbivores, meaning they cannot digest or process meat or animal matter of any kind.
If they eat meat, they would become very sick and uncomfortable.
There would be no nutritional benefits for them in eating meat, and none that their bodies would be capable of metabolizing.
Some do suggest that some small amounts of meat can be okay for parrots, but there’s little to no evidence supporting this.
There’s certainly nothing in meat that they could not get from elsewhere in their ordinary diet.
One common question is about whether they get enough protein in a pure plant diet, but you must remember all the protein in animal meat ultimately comes from a plant source.
All the biggest land mammals, like elephants and rhinos, are herbivorous.
Your Eclectus parrot will get plenty of protein from plant matter.
Red meats are undoubtedly the worst for your parrot, so your Eclectus should never eat any kind of red meat.
But what about white meats?
Can Eclectus parrots eat chicken?
No, Eclectus parrots should not eat chicken.
Though it’s perhaps marginally less harmful than red meat, it’s still devoid of any benefit that they could not get elsewhere.
Chicken meat would be tough and hard for them to digest, leading to pain and discomfort if not outright illness.
Do not let your Eclectus parrot eat chicken.
Can Eclectus parrots eat dairy?
No, dairy is possibly even worse than feeding your parrot meat.
Eclectus parrots cannot and should never eat dairy.
Dairy contains lactose, which is a special kind of sugar only found in animal milk.
Infant mammals possess a special enzyme in their gut which allows them to digest this milk.
So, not only do non-mammals not possess this enzyme—adult mammals don’t, either.
So, your Eclectus parrot is what we would call lactose intolerant. Eating any kind of dairy will lead to pain, cramps, and diarrhea.
Whether it’s cheese, yogurt, milk, or anything containing dairy, you should not feed it to your parrots.
It will do them no good and could be very bad for them.
What fruits can Eclectus parrots not eat?
The only fruits you need to avoid are avocadoes and tomatoes, really.
These are uniquely harmful and should be completely avoided.
Avocado contains persin, which is like a fatty-acid.
This can cause respiratory issues, weakness and even death if consumed in the right quantities by an Eclectus parrot.
Because tomatoes are so highly acidic, they can cause ulcers, and thus are best avoided.
They are not nearly as dangerous as avocado, but still best avoided.
Anything in the nightshade family, while not necessarily fatally harmful, is better avoided.
Other than that, fruit is generally safe, except that there are several fruits you need to properly prepare first.
Apples, cherries, plums, nectarines—anything with a large pit, or with cyanide-containing seeds, must be carefully prepared first.
But the fruit itself is safe.
Strong citrus fruits like lemon or lime are best avoided, as they are likely to be much too sour for your bird to enjoy.
However, oranges and tangerines are fine in moderation.
What vegetables can Eclectus parrots not eat?
Most vegetables are generally safe for your Eclectus parrot, but there are a couple of important exceptions.
Onions are among the worst offenders.
They contain sulfur compounds which can irritate your bird internally when chewed up.
They can also cause ulcers and even rupture blood cells.
Garlic is another one to avoid. Garlic contains high concentrations of allicin, which can also cause anemia and weakness.
Though they are not really vegetables, things like chocolate, coffee, and mushrooms should also be avoided.
Can Eclectus parrots eat lettuce?
A very common question about Eclectus parrot diets is lettuce, and you’ll be glad to know they can eat lettuce just fine.
It’s a tasty treat that they will appreciate in their diet. It still should only be eaten in careful moderation, though, as too much could become a problem.
Among vegetables, though, lettuce is perfectly safe.
Can Eclectus parrots eat cooked food?
In general, cooked food is not a good idea, for the simple reason that they will just prefer raw food.
This is what their bodies are equipped to digest.
Cooking food does tend to lose some of its nutritional value, at least from a parrot’s point of view.
But there are other reasons, too.
Cooking oils are generally not a good thing to have in your parrot’s diet.
They don’t need this amount of fat.
There is also the issue of herbs and spices that you might have cooked the food in. plenty of these are unsafe or at least uncomfortable for an Eclectus parrot to eat.
Raw plant matter is all your Eclectus parrot needs.
So, while there are a couple of important exceptions, by and large, Eclectus parrots can eat fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts—anything outside of that is off-limits.
If you stick to this rule, while remembering the harmful fruits and veg like avocado, tomato, onion and garlic, then you shouldn’t have any problems with your Eclectus parrot’s diet.