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Toxic Plants and Parrots: What Every Bird Owner Needs to Know

There are several plants known to be toxic to parrots due to various toxic compounds they contain. Here’s a list of some of them, although it’s important to note that this isn’t exhaustive:

Avocado: All parts of the avocado, including the plant, leaves, and fruit, contain a toxin called persin, which can cause respiratory distress, heart failure, and death in birds.

Rhubarb: The leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can lead to kidney failure in birds.

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane): Contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause severe irritation to the mouth and throat, leading to difficulty breathing, swallowing, and potential death.

Philodendron: Also contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause similar symptoms as Dieffenbachia.

Oleander: Contains cardiac glycosides, which can cause heart failure in birds if ingested.

Foxglove: The leaves, seeds, and flowers of this plant contain cardiac glycosides as well, which can lead to heart problems in birds.

Lilies: Many species of lilies are toxic to birds, causing gastrointestinal upset, tremors, and potentially renal failure.

Azalea: Contains grayanotoxins, which can cause digestive upset, heart problems, and potentially death in birds.

Pothos: Contains calcium oxalate crystals, similar to Dieffenbachia and Philodendron.

Ivy (English Ivy, others): Contains triterpenoid saponins, which can cause digestive upset, tremors, and potentially respiratory or cardiac distress.

Amaryllis: Contains lycorine and other alkaloids that can cause digestive upset, tremors, and potentially respiratory or cardiac distress.

Tomato: The green parts of the plant (leaves, stems, unripe fruit) contain solanine, which can cause digestive upset and neurological problems.

Remember, if you suspect your parrot has eaten something toxic, contact a veterinarian immediately. Different birds may react differently to these toxins, and what may cause minor illness in one bird might cause severe illness or death in another. As a rule of thumb, it’s always safer to keep any potentially toxic plants out of the reach of parrots and other pet birds.

Further Reading

  1. The Spruce Pets – “Common Plants Poisonous to Birds”: This article lists many household and outdoor plants that can be toxic to birds, including parrots. (
  2. PetMD – “10 Plants for a Bird-Safe Home”: This article lists plants that are safe for birds, which could be a helpful resource for comparing with potentially toxic ones. (
  3. ASPCA – “Bird Safe Plant List”: The ASPCA maintains a list of plants that are safe for birds, which could be helpful for identifying which plants to avoid. (

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