Riverside Veterinary Clinic

Eclectus Parrot Diet

Natural Diet in the Wild

Parrots living in the wild eat a large variety of food types, including berries, leaves, twigs, shoots, flowers and their buds, seeds and insects. Captive birds need a very wide range of foods in order to maintain good health and feather quality.


Toe Tapping Or Wing Flipping Syndrome

The eclectus parrot can develop a diet-related condition called “toe tapping or wing flipping syndrome” where there are involuntary opening and closing movements of the feet and / or wings. Other signs of the syndrome can be behaviour problems such as screaming and feather plucking. This distressing condition is directly caused by incorrect feeding and can be reversed by making important changes to the bird's diet.


Important Facts To Remember About Feeding An Eclectus

* avoid all preservatives, additives and colourants. Foods given should be 100% natural and for this reason don't give any manufactured food (human or bird food). Give no biscuits, cereals or bird pellets.

* avoid all pesticides and chemicals. Ideally only organic fruits and vegetables should be given, but as this is not always practical, all food must be very thoroughly washed.

* avoid all extra vitamin and mineral supplements. The nutrients should all be found in the bird's diet.

* the eclectus is prone to calcium deficiencies. Instead of providing mineral supplements, foods containing calcium should be given every day, for example: - leafy greens such as spinach, kale and parsley. - sesame seeds. Sprinkle a small amount over other foods.

* only give sunflower seeds and nuts as a small treat. Seeds and nuts are high in fat and low in most essential nutrients. Don't give a bowl of seeds as birds tend to fill up on them rather than eating the healthier foods. Instead of the very fatty peanuts, try unsalted almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts. Give no more than 2 nuts a day.


Diet Related Health Problems

Birds fed a limited diet often develop a deficiency in proteins, minerals and vitamins, especially Vitamin A deficiency. Common diet-related problems are:

  • poor immunity
  • poor feather quality
  • skin problems 
  • sinusitis 
  • abscesses on the face and in the mouth           
  • kidney disease
  • fatty liver disease

Variety is the spice of life!

It's strongly recommended to follow the 'Ten Rule' of feeding at least TEN DIFFERENT TYPES of foods a day. Most foods that are deep green, orange and red in colour contain Beta Carotene, which is converted in the body to  Vitamin A, and should be fed in abundance. These foods are underlined in the lists below:



  • apples
  • bananas
  • grapes
  • pears
  • peaches
  • nectarines
  • mangoes
  • pawpaw
  • melon
  • spanspek
  • fresh dates
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • youngberries
  • gooseberries
  • naartjies
  • oranges
  • granadillas
  • pomegranates
  • litchies
  • plums
  • natural fruit juice (Liquifruit or Ceres)



  • cooked butternut 
  • cooked pumpkin
  • cooked gem squash
  • chillies
  • cooked sweet potato
  • cooked potato
  • celery
  • green beans
  • broccoli (leaves and florets)
  • beetroot
  • cauliflower
  • peas
  • mealies
  • carrot
  • radish
  • baby marrow
  • patty pans
  • watercress
  • spinach
  • peppers



  • well cooked chicken
  • well cooked chicken bones
  • well cooked red meat (tiny amount)
  • boiled egg 3 times a week
  • hard cheese (in moderation)


Grains / Legumes / Pasta

  • cooked pasta
  • cooked rice
  • cooked quinoa
  • cooked millet
  • cooked lentils
  • cooked barley
  • cooked beans
  • popcorn


Foods to Avoid

These foods can KILL your bird:

  • Chocolate
  • Avocado pear
  • Rhubarb


These foods can cause health problems for ALL birds:

  • Lettuce, cucumber, onion, garlic and tomato.
  • Sugary, salty or fatty foods – these are not processed well by the kidneys and liver.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Any drink containing alcohol or caffeine and sugary, fizzy drinks.
  • Apple seeds (contain traces of cyanide).
  • Milk - birds are lactose intolerant. Milk products should be limited to small amounts of hard cheese and natural or fruit yoghurt.
  • A number of uncooked beans are toxic eg soy, black, red, yellow wax and kidney beans.
  • Large quantities of bread / toast. (The yeast in bread can cause a yeast overgrowth).
  • Uncooked potato.
  • Foods high in preservatives such as processed meats and dried fruits.


‚ÄčTips To Encourage Your Bird To Eat The Healthy Foods

  • Steam the vegetables – some birds prefer them cooked.
  • Serve the vegetables, grains or pasta warm (not hot).
  • Give your bird a portion of food when you eat – birds like to eat with their “flock”.
  • Hand your bird food or offer it on a spoon.
  • Chop finely or grate the food – small tit bits are more appetising than large chunks.
  • Mix your bird's favourite foods with the other foods.
  • Sprout the sunflower seeds – these are tasty and nutritious.


62 Soofie Saheb Drive,
Durban North,


Consultations by appointment

Monday - Friday: 07:45 - 17:45
Saturday: 08:00- 11:45
Sunday: Closed
Public Holidays: Closed


Contact Us

Call us
031 563 6565


Westville Veterinary Hospital After Hours Emergency:
031 2678000

31 Jan Hofmeyr Road, Westville