Which Nuts Are Safe For Parrots? List of Edible Nuts


What nuts can parrots eat?

It has to be one of the most common questions parrot people have.

We know that parrots love nuts, so it’s tempting to reward them with an abundance of them.

But like most good things in life, there’s a downside and if we want our parrots to maintain good health then a big dose of moderation and caution is required when it comes to delicious nuts.

Not surprisingly, and like most other things regarding birds, there’s so much conflicting information out there regarding particular nuts and nuts on the whole. It can make it difficult for a caring parrot guardian to have confidence that we’re doing the right thing for our beloved birds.

Got a specific technical question about feeding any type of nuts to your parrots? Ask your avian veterinarian. The best vets are at the forefront of the ever growing and expanding knowledge and research out there about parrot health. They can also advise on the specific dietary requirements of your parrot species, taking into consideration their activity level and overall health status. This article is not a replacement for professional vet advice.

In general: for the majority of parrot species, nuts are considered a treat or very small part of the diet. Most nuts that are parrot-safe are also high in fat and the recommendation is that they are fed sparingly.

In addition to obesity, a diet high in nuts can lead to severe nutritional deficiencies that a parrot should be acquiring from other healthy food sources like vegetables.

Fat Content of Nuts

Excess weight in a parrot is dangerous.

As it is, most captive parrots burn nowhere near the calories that their wild counterparts do each day, and as a result, they do not need to consume as much food.

But it’s not just the quantity of food – quality is just as important. When it comes to nuts, their high fat content is something we really need to be aware of when considering these tasty treats as part of any parrot’s diet.

Over half of the calories in nuts is made up of various fats, and different types of nuts obviously contain different fat levels.

The table below shows the total fat in grams per one ounce of each of the most common nuts that we consider feeding to birds. Note these are raw, not roasted, not blanched, unsalted nuts only – the only type that should ever be given to parrots.

This includes all types of fats: saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated.

Nut Total Fat (grams) per ounce
Walnut 18.5
Hazelnut 17.2
Almond 14.0
Pecan 20.4
Brazil 18.8
Cashew 12.4
Macadamia 21.5
Pistachio 12.9

Sources: US Department of Agriculture and California Almonds

As you can see, the nut with the highest proportion of fats is the Macadamia, and the lowest fat nuts being the cashews and pistachio.

Fat is of course just one part of the equation when it comes to nutrients. But it’s one that parrot owners do need to pay a lot of attention due to the risk of obesity and associated serious health problems that come with having a bird that is overweight.

Other nutritional aspects to consider with nuts include the protein content, carbohydrates and the various vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Quick Facts about Nut Nutrition

  • Out of the nuts listed in the table above, the one with the highest magneium content is the Brazil nut.
  • The Pistachio has the highest level of potassium, while almonds are the richest in calcium and dietary fiber.
  • Almonds are also the most protein rich nut, just slightly ahead of pistachio. Macadamia (the highest fat nut) has the lowest protein content of all the listed nuts.
  • Trace minerals zinc and copper are found in tiny amounts in all the nuts, with cashews having the highest levels.


Hazelnuts come from hazel trees in the genus Corylus, and are simply the kernel of the seed of these trees. Corylus avellana is the common hazel tree that is cultivated specifically for these nuts.

Hazelnuts are safe for parrots, but should be fed sparingly to most parrot species, or as treats due to their high fat content
Hazelnuts are safe for parrots, but should be fed sparingly to most parrot species, or as treats due to their high fat content

But are they good for parrots and what nutritional benefits do they have?

Hazelnuts are rich in protein, while also being high in unsaturated fats, like many nuts.

Human grade raw, shelled hazelnuts
from Food To Live

This is why nuts are recommended as only a small part of a healthy diet for captive parrots.

There are important nutrients found in hazelnuts, such as manganese, magnesium copper, vitamin E and thiamine.

Hazelnuts are sold as either raw or roasted, and many are salted, while others are completely natural (raw and unsalted). Parrots should never be given salted nuts.

Raw, unsalted, unroasted hazelnuts are safe for parrots. Organic is best.

However considering their high fat content, like many nuts, most species of parrots can be fed hazelnuts as a treat food or small part of the diet.


pistachios for parrots

Unsalted, raw, human grade pistachio nuts are safe for parrots to eat.

Shelled Pistachios

Raw, organic pistachios out of the shell
reduces the risk of aflatoxin or mold which can
form inside the shell of all nuts

Organic shelled pistachios (raw and unsalted) such as those from Braga Organic Farms give bigger beaks a chance to crack open the nut, but because the best pistachios will ripen and start to split open on the tree, when you buy quality shelled pistachio nuts they’ll usually be in a partially opened state.

Deshelled Pistachios

Raw pistachio kernels can be bought raw and unsalted, like the ones from Fiddyment Farms


Salted pistachios, like all salted nuts and food, are absolutely unsafe and unhealthy for parrots. All salted foods should be out of reach of parrots.

Storing Pistachio Nuts Safely

Like all oily nuts, pistachios will go rancid if stored in hot, humid conditions. Refrigeration or a cool dry cabinet are ideal for nut storage.

Growing your own Pistachios for Parrots

Pistachio tree
Pistachio tree

Pistachio trees originally grew in the middle east, which provides some idea as to their preferred climate. This is a plant of the desert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow it if you live somewhere that is not desert-like. The basic requirements for growing your own pistachio trees include:

  • Pistachio plants like well drained saline soil (soluble salts can be used to water the plants)
  • The trees can cope with wide ranging temperatures from -10 °C (14 °F) in winter and 48 °C (118 °F) during summer
  • A sunny spot is required for best growth of pistachio plants
  • Root rot can set in where the soil doesn’t drain well and if the plants receive too much water in colder weather
  • Pistachio trees will perform at their best, and product the best fruit (nuts) in locations that have long and hot summers, as this allows the fruit to ripen well
Pistachios start to split open on the tree when ripe
Pistachios start to split open on the tree when ripe

In the US, pistachios are grown in locations such as California and Utah. In Australia, most pistachio farms are located in the drier and hotter parts of the states of Victoria and South Australia.

By knowing where pistachios grow well and where most farms are located in your country, you can gain some idea of whether you might be able to provide these trees with similar conditions yourself at home.


  1. I bought raw peanuts and mixed hard shell ones human grade,and he loves a coup.e aday,is that okay for my cockatoo, ringneck?

    1. Karen, we should all only be feeding human grade nuts to our birds. But even human grade with the shell on can have a risk of aflatoxins in the shell, which humans can cope with much better in small amounts than our tiny parrots. That’s why the best avian vets will advise against feeding any nuts in shell, to completely avoid this risk!

    2. Just to let you know Peanuts are grown in the ground and so are not really nuts at all. You also get soil on the shells that can cause problems for your birds. I personally never give either foor containg peanut or the “Nut” to any of my birds.

  2. I gave my cockatoo Kaytee seed diet for large parrots and started to switch to pellets,it’s fortified with vitamin, and I hope calcium, is that okay for my new cockatoo, ri gneck can have tiel a d pellets?!

    1. Good point Ann-Louise, I will update this article shortly with more research about roasted nuts concerning our parrots.

    1. Hi Shawnta, are you purchasing this walnut bread as a product made for birds? Or is it a human product, or something you’re making yourself?

  3. I really enjoyed this article, however I am hoping it’ss not too late to get an answer on , how often should parrots be given nuts, example oncef a week, once a month ? and is it only one small one or a couple of different types of nuts?
    Can someone please answe these questions as I now know I have been feeding my feathered friends too many

    1. Hi Fiona, glad you like the article! There are so many variables to consider: but nuts are considered to be treat items for most parrots because they are mostly high in fat. More active parrots (flying in an aviary for example) can obviously handle a little more than those who live more sedentary lives. For best advice for your specific bird, your vet is the one to ask,particularly as he/she can get a weight for your bird and then determine a good balance between letting your parrot enjoy nuts without over-doing it.

  4. Are all of those nuts and seeds safe for a blue.headed Pionus Parrot? or is there anything about that bird that I should be aware of? I can’t find anything specifically on that one species.

  5. Love your articles. My African grey is female 6 years old, and in past 3 months has started to pluck herself.
    She has seen vet , has a collar, but I just wo dered, she gets raw almonds as treats And also get 1 pistachio a day as a special treat, and they are in the shell.
    Can that cause problems that she would pluck, like if an allergy or mold?

    1. Aline an experienced avian vet would be able to diagnose if there’s a fungal infection or other health issue causing the plucking. Many things can result in plucking, from food to the environment and all need to be considered.

  6. I buy mixed organic nuts for my red lorded amazon he only has a few a week is this ok x

  7. My african senegal eats what i eat. Dont feed her what i wouldnt feed a dog or cat. she is 58 years old have had her for 10 years. She loves beef sausage chicken sunflower seeds. dont eat alot of nuts except what is in her bird food. lot od birds cant eat like her. Very spoiled and healthy.

    1. My African Grey thinks bird food of all description belongs on the floor or at the bottom of her large night cage.
      She likes & eats: black & red rice, loves rice’s noodles, all vegetables, crisp red apples (won’t eat green ones), pomegranate seeds, the occasional slice of orange, crunchy unsalted butter, fish if all types, meat, hot black tea with ginger in it. HATES bananas.. thinks they’re very scary things whole or sliced. Have tried to get her to eat Harrison’s bird pellets.. what a waste of money, they went straight into the floor & she wouldn’t eat them even when I tried to make her by not giving her anything else. I wondered about Palm Nuts, she played with it but had no desire to crunch or munch it..

  8. What about pistachio wood? Are all the wood branches safe as perches of course grown on my own land no pesticides or chemicals.
    By the way Walnuts I give a whole one every day to my Jenday and Sun Conure will be rotating to almonds. Walnuts promote good flora bacteria in the intestines to ward off environmental threats works as a prebiotic. Nuts are not simple but are packed with nutrition , again in moderation.

    1. I too am wondering the same since I plan on growing a lot of different varieties of nut trees on my property. I’d love to not only sustain my parrots diet but provide perches too.

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