bird food

The Best Medium Parrot Diet

For Caiques, Small Conures, Lories, Large Parakeets, Pionus, and Poicephalus

Your pet bird needs a certain type of parrot diet. There is no one-type-fits-all when it comes to your bird’s nutrition.

parrot diet

Packaged bird food comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ingredients. So, it’s important to know what is the best parrot diet for your individual bird. When shopping for food, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration.Feeding your bird the right parrot diet is absolutely essential to his health (and lifespan!) Feeding your bird seed and water just isn’t going to cut it. And feeding different types of birds the same diet doesn’t work either. It’s important to provide a diet that is safe, healthy, and yummy.

The Best for Your Bird

Birds follow a very similar diet plan that we do. Here is the recommended diet percentage for each type of food that should be a part of your bird’s diet:

  • Grain Products – 50% of diet
  • Vegetables and Fruits – 45% of diet
  • Dairy and Meat – 5% of diet
  • Seed and Nuts – &1% of diet

Below is a table outlining the foods that need to be a part of your medium bird’s parrot diet. It shows the recommended percentage of your bird’s diet as well as specific food recommendations and ideas.

Keep in mind that the parrot diet list below recommends a VARIETY of foods and that feeding your bird only one to two items from the list is not enough. It is important to feed your bird the widest variety of foods as you can.

Here is the best diet we recommend for your medium-sized parrot:

The Best Medium Parrot Diet
Grain Products (50% of diet)
food_grain Whole Grains

Whole grain products provide your bird with the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, and various minerals and vitamins. There are a lot of different products that are good for your bird, just remember to choose the whole grain type instead of the white.

Recommended Grain Products

  • Bagels (low-salt)
  • Buckwheat and kasha
  • Cereal (low-sugar) (i.e. Cheerios, Chex, Kix, Life, etc.)
  • Crackers (low- or no-salt)
  • Cream of Wheat (and rice)
  • Matzo
  • Melba Toast
  • Noodles and pasta (i.e. macaroni, ravioli, spaghetti, etc.)
  • Oatmeal
  • Pearl barley
  • Pretzels (low- or no-salt)
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (i.e. brown, wild, etc.)
  • Tortillas
  • Triticale
  • Wheat berries



food_pellet_small Pellets

Pelleted diets are made by combining a variety of healthy ingredients into a mash and then creating pellets of different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Pellets offer a more balanced nutritional parrot diet for your bird in a form that is easy for you to serve and reduces the chance that your bird will pick through his food and avoid the healthy food he really needs. Pellets have replaced the old seed-only diet and now are offered as the primary base diet for many parrots (but should NOT be offered alone). If your bird is on a seed-only parrot diet, you will need to convert him to a pelleted diet. Please see our Parrot Seed to Pellet Conversion article for more information.

Recommended Medium Parrot Pellet Products




food_mix_small Diet Mixes

Because feeding your bird a variety of foods is best, there are mixes available that include wide ranges of different types of food. They can include seeds, dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and more. If you honestly don’t have enough time to offer your bird a fresh parrot diet variety all the time, diet mixes can be a great thing to have on hand. However, keep in mind that offering healthy pellets and fresh food on a regular basis is still necessary for your bird’s nutritional variety and health.

Recommended Medium Parrot Diet Mix Products



Vegetables & Fruits (45% of diet)
food_vegetables Vegetables

Vegetables are a very healthy and important part of your bird’s parrot diet. Most vegetables are best served cooked, but some can be served raw. Always wash vegetables thoroughly before serving and chop them into appropriately sized pieces. You can use canned, frozen, and freshly cooked mixed vegetables. Make sure when you use packaged vegetables that they don’t contain added salt.

Recommended Vegetables

  • Alfalfa sprouts (you can sprout them yourself)
  • Asparagus (cooked)
  • Arugula
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Banana peppers
  • Beans (cooked) (i.e. adzuki, butter, garbanzo, green, haricot, kidney, mung, navy, pinto, pole, soy, wax, etc.)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots (including tops)
  • Cauliflower
  • Cayenne
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Chayote
  • Chicory
  • Cherry pepper
  • Chili peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Comfrey
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant (ripe and cooked)
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Ginger root
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Lentils (cooked)
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas (i.e. green, snow, sugar snap, etc.)
  • Peppers (i.e. chili, green, jalapeno, poblano, red, serrano, yellow, etc.)
  • Potatoes (cooked)
  • Pumpkin (cooked)
  • Pumpkin seeds (cooked)
  • Radishes
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach (in moderation)
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (i.e. acorn, butternut, hubbard, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes (cooked)
  • Thai pepper
  • Tomatoes (cooked and dried)
  • Watercress
  • Yams (cooked)
  • Zucchini



food_fruit Fruits

Fruits are another healthy and necessary part of your bird’s parrot diet. Keep in mind that fruits have more water content than vegetables, so your bird’s droppings may be more runny after feeding him fruit. And make sure to always thoroughly wash all fruits before serving them.

Recommended Fruits

  • Apples (remove seeds and stem)
  • Apricots (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Bananas (remove peel)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cactus fruit
  • Cantaloupe (no rinds)
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherries (no pits)
  • Clementine oranges
  • Coconuts
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapes (i.e. black, green, red, etc.)
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Honeydew (no rinds)
  • Kiwis
  • Kumquats
  • Lychee
  • Lemons
  • Loquat
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Pears (remove seeds)
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Plums (remove pit and area around the pit)
  • Pomegranate
  • Raisins
  • Tangerines
Dairy & Meat (5% of diet)
food_dairy Dairy

Even though parrots are lactose intolerant, they can still have some dairy in moderation (SMALL amounts!) Dairy products provide an excellent source of calcium, so they should be included as a very small part of your parrot’s diet.

Recommended Dairy Products

  • Cheese (used in cooking only)
    (cheddar has highest fat and calories)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs (including clean shells)
  • Yogurt



food_meat Meat

Yes, birds eat meat. And it’s good for them! Most parrot species are seen eating insects and larvae in the wild. In order for your parrot to get a good amount of protein, a small amount of meat is good. Meat must always be cooked thoroughly before serving–NEVER rare. If you are cooking meat that has bones, you can give the bones to your parrot with the meat–some species of parrots like to crack open bones to get to the marrow (which is high in iron and other good nutrients).

Recommended Meat Products

  • Chicken
  • Fish (remove bones)
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Ribs (beef)
  • Roast beef (well done)
  • Salmon (water packed canned is best)
  • Steak
  • Tuna fish (water packed and low sodium)
  • Turkey
Seed & Nuts (<1% of diet)
food_seed Seed

Even though seed is a natural part of parrot diet in the wild, it doesn’t even make up half of what they eat. Most wild parrots eat leaves, stems, vines, shoots, vegetables, fruits, seed, flowers, insects, and insect larvae. Bird in captivity have the same dietary needs, so feeding your bird an all-seed diet is simply not enough. Seed is high in fat and full of oil. Many parrots become obese from seed diets as well as contract fatty liver disease. Seed is low in many vitamins and minerals, so feeding your bird a seed diet can cause all kinds of deficiences as well.

Seed is good for an occasional treat and is great to use as treats during training. Other than that, seed is not good for your bird and you should instead focus on feeding him a variety of the foods mentioned above.



food_nuts Nuts

Most parrots love nuts, so they are great for use as treats during training. Depending on the size of your bird, you can feed him nuts that are whole or chopped, but make sure you use unsalted nuts only. Although nuts have many nutrients, they are also high in fat, so this is another food that needs to be fed only in moderation. You can also create a variety of different nut butters using any of the recommended nuts below (just pop them in your food processor!)

Recommended Nuts

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts (whole only for x-large parrots)
  • Cashews
  • Filberts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia (high in fat)
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Walnuts


☠️ Foods to Avoid ☠️

These foods are toxic to ALL birds and should never be fed to them under any circumstance!:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit pits and the flesh around them (contain cyanide)
  • Rhubarb

Want to Keep it Easy and Healthy?

We LOVE the Bird Tricks natural feeding system and their all-natural pellets! The Natural Feeding System is the absolute best diet you can give your birds. And their pellets are healthy, organic, and completely free from harmful ingredients like GMOs, wheat and corn fillers, artificial flavors and dyes, and added sugar that cause common health issues in pet birds. Bird Tricks puts birds first and keeps things easy for us bird owners!

We know figuring out the perfect diet for your pet bird isn’t easy, and that trying to find the right packaged food isn’t either, so we’ve done the hard work for you on this page. We hope we’ve helped you in your quality bird food hunting endeavor!

Have You Found A Favorite Pet Bird Food?

Share it here! There’s no better way to learn about the best pet bird supplies than from the owners themselves.

Your comment may just help someone find the food their bird desperately needs!

10 replies
  1. Demetrios
    Demetrios says:

    why is everyone so hot on the pellet topic?I know in the wild pellets are not available for birds to eat and they don’t seem to suffer. It seems to me that a caged bird might be happier with a variety of foods rather than the typical pellet diet. when I got my amazon it was on a pellet diet and I switched to natural bird seeds and my bird seems happier with a nice coat of feathers. it may be wrong but if someone were to offer me the same food every day with just some extra treat now and the id be bored out of my mind I don’t think parrots are any less intelligent .the only down side to feeding seeds is that they waste some seeds picking through

    • Divy
      Divy says:

      Well, the birds living in your home have a stable temperature, are not breeding and are not flying from tree to tree and escaping predators. The variety in their diet comes from the fruits and veggies you feed them.

  2. Jen
    Jen says:

    I am new to the bird world and have a 18 month white bellied caique. I should have done more research but now that I have her I am here to stay. I feed her Dr Foster and Smith Omega 3 blend. Now that I am researching it looks like lots and fruits and veggies are recommended. I also can’t seem to get her to eat pellets. Does anyone have any hints or recommendations?

  3. L
    L says:

    How should I give my bird its food? Should I feed it all of its fruits, nuts, etc. separately, or should I feed it some at the same time… Or something else? Medium bird (Pionus)

    • All Pet Birds
      All Pet Birds says:

      That’s fantastic! Quinoa is great for pet birds! You can give it to your bird raw, or after being soaked. You can also sprout it or cook it. Any way your bird prefers it is great!

  4. Narain
    Narain says:

    hi thanks for your information .i just want to clear some of my doubts regarding my 3 months old alexandrine parrot which is mentioned below.
    1. Diet – can i provide boiled rice to my pet .
    2.If Deworming is required please tell me how to do it at what intervals.
    3.How to bath my loved parrot and is there any duration like monthly twice or anything.
    4.My parrot is enjoying spicy food like chillies is it normal can i provide that.
    eagerly waiting for your reply …


    • All Pet Birds
      All Pet Birds says:

      Hi Narain,

      These are great questions!

      1. Yes, you can provide boiled rice in moderation.
      2. Please check with your avian veterinarian if you believe your bird has a worm problem.
      3. There are a few ways to bathe your bird and it depends on what he likes. You can spray him gently with a spray bottle, provide a shallow dish with water or a sink with a 1/2 inch of water or water running for him to bathe himself. Most birds like to bathe once a week.
      4. Yes, this is normal. Birds cannot sense spiciness, so spicy foods are fine in moderation. 🙂


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