African Grey parrots are some of the high maintenance parrots out there, a fact that makes them bad birds for first-time owners. Research shows that they are susceptible to vitamin A and calcium deficiency. With this in mind, I did some digging into whether they can eat bananas and their benefits to the Greys.
So, can African Greys Parrots Eat Bananas? African greys parrots can eat bananas mixed with other fruits such as strawberries, apples, watermelon, mango, papaya as part of a balanced diet. Feeding bananas to African greys Parrot will provide them with minerals, and vitamins. However, due to high sugar content, bananas should be fed sparingly to avoid health complications.
As a rule of thumb, Fruits, vegetables, and greens should make up about 25 % of your African Grey parrot daily diet.
To avoid nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A and calcium are given that African Greys Parrots are very susceptible to these deficiencies. You should feed high-quality commercially made pellets for African Greys like this brand from Amazon.
Commercially made pellets offer complete nutrition requirements for your pet bird. Vets recommend that 75-80% of your African grey parrot daily diet should be composed of commercially made pellets.
Nutritional Contents of Bananas for African Grey
The table below shows the nutritional content of about 100 grams of bananas. Source [USDA]
|Total lipid (fat)||0.29 g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||23 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||4.62 g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||12.23 g|
|Calcium, Ca||5 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||28 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||22 mg|
|Potassium, K||326 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.16 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.101 mg|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||12.3 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||0.209 mg|
|Folate, total||14 µg|
|Choline, total||9.8 µg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||1 µg|
|Carotene, beta||8 µg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||22 µg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.1 µg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||0.5 µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.112 g|
Benefits of feeding Bananas to African Grey Parrots
Feeding bananas to African Grey parrots will provide them with the following benefits.
Keeping any pet bird properly hydrated is very important to its health, therefore always ensure there is a bowl of clean and fresh water at all times available in the cage.
Fruits can also provide some form of hydration since they all have a high water content, However, you should not rely on fruits as the sole source of hydration.
Feeding bananas with other fruits as part of a balanced diet will ensure that your African grey parrot is hydrated.
Proteins are very important in the development of birds’ feathers, feathers are made of keratin; a protein. Therefore, if you have African grey chicks feeding them food that has protein is very important.
To ensure that your birds are receiving enough protein in their bodies, feed them commercially made pellets.
Combined with bananas and other fruits they should be able to meet their bodies’ protein requirements.
Carbohydrates and sugars
Carbohydrates serve as a source of energy for your African grey, however, high sugar content in the diet can lead to health issues.
Sugars are digested and absorbed rapidly, therefore you should offer fruits high in sugars moderately.
Minerals are very important in the growth and development of all birds not only the African greys.
A point to note is that African greys when compared to other pet birds are highly susceptible to calcium deficiency.
Calcium deficiency can lead to very dangerous health implications in the life of any bird. Especially birds that are laying eggs or young birds.
Calcium and phosphorus
These two minerals are closely related since the absorption of one is affected by the concentration of the other.
As mentioned earlier, African grey parrots and blue-fronted Amazon parrots require more calcium compared to other birds.
Calcium is used in the formation of the skeleton structure of the African Grey parrot. In fact, the shortage of calcium in the body of an African grey will lead to seizures.
If you want to improve the mood of your African Grey make sure it gets enough calcium always. Calcium has been associated with several neurotransmitters in the brain.
Phosphorus on the other hand is also used in the making of the skeleton structure of all birds. Additionally, phosphorus is also used in the making and storage of energy as Adenosine triphosphate.
However, you should be very cautious of the calcium and phosphorus content of the feeds you give your African grey. As mentioned earlier, these two minerals operate antagonistically.
High levels of phosphorus will impede the absorption of calcium in the body. The recommended ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 2:1 for growing birds, 1:1.5 for adults, and 10:1 for laying birds.
African Greys can get more than these ratios given that they need more calcium in their bodies.
Therefore, for fruits and vegetables and greens that have a higher phosphorus concentration when compared to calcium you should be very careful when feeding them to African greys. These foods should only be fed moderately.
Giving your African grey parrots pellets that are specifically made for them will ensure that they have enough nutrients for their daily need.
For calcium to be absorbed there must be enough vitamin D in the body of all birds. Given that African Greys need more calcium than most birds, making sure that they get enough sunlight is very important if they are to attain enough calcium, alternatively, you can also feed them with commercially made vitamin D supplements.
Besides calcium and phosphorus bananas also offer other minerals to African greys. These minerals are not needed in large quantities by the bird’s bodies.
There are very rare cases of African greys or other parrots suffering from the deficiency of these minerals.
Potassium – bananas have a high level of potassium, potassium is very crucial towards the maintenance of the membranes in the body. High-stress levels can easily lead to a deficiency of potassium.
Magnesium- This mineral is very important in the transfer of phosphorus in the formation of energy. Magnesium also plays part in the formation of cell membranes. High levels of calcium affect the absorption of magnesium negatively, but since it is needed in very small amounts deficiencies are rare.
Zinc- This is a very important mineral for young birds, it helps in the healing of wounds and tissue and enzyme formation. African greys feed a high amount of cabbages, beans, and wheat bran are susceptible to suffering from zinc deficiency since these foods have high levels of phytic acids that impede the absorption of zinc.
Low zinc in the body leads to poor feathering, retarded growth, and slipped Achilles tendon.
Copper- This mineral is very important in the formation of haemoglobin, collagen and in the maintenance of the nervous system.
Equally important in the growth and development of African Grey is vitamins.
Vitamins are normally divided into two groups namely.
- Fat-soluble vitamins
- Water-soluble vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins
This group of vitamins is made of Vitamins A, D, E and K.
Vitamin A plays a very important role in the health of all birds, Vitamin A plays a very important part in the maintenance of light-sensitive pigment in the retina of the eye. It also plays a crucial part in the vibrance of your bird’s feathers.
Most fruits including bananas have both vitamin A and its precursor beta carotene. While solely feeding vitamin A may lead to excess absorption of the vitamin and lead to a life-threatening condition known as hypervitaminosis.
Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A only in the amounts that the birds body needs.
African greys fed on a seed-only diet are susceptible to hypervitaminosis since seeds have a low concentration of beta carotene.
Vitamin A deficiency will lead to mucus membrane problems, respirations and oral problems, and a weak immune system.
Other vitamins found in bananas include Vitamin E and K.
Water soluble vitamins
These are vitamins that can dissolve in water, the advantage of these vitamins is the fact that no matter the amount you feed they can never affect the bird negatively. Since the excess will be removed via urine.
They are collectively known as B vitamins. Bananas have thiamin, Niacin, and choline.
The table below sums up the B vitamins in bananas and their function
|B Vitamin [thiamin (B1), niacin,||nervous system transmission(Thiamin)||deficiency causes feather picking restlessness, seizures, and shrieking. (thiamin)|
|riboflavin (B2)||enzyme formation||Dry and rough skin|
|niacin,||formation of tissue and energy production||poor growth|
|pyridoxine (B6),||Formation of antibodies||immune dysfunction|
How to feed Bananas to African Greys
- Wash the banana thoroughly
- You can either peel the banana or feed it unpeeled
- Cut it into small pieces easily palatable by your parrot
- Mix it with other fruits to make a balanced diet
- Remove any uneaten fruits at the end of the day
Frequently Asked Questions
Do African Greys like bananas? Yes, African greys like most other parrots do like bananas among other fruits such as apples, strawberries, grapes, lemons, mango, cantaloupe, and pineapple.
What fruits can African Greys eat? African grey parrots can eat the following fruits besides bananas, these are apple, apricot, cantaloupe, cranberry, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, peach, pear, and pineapple.
While bananas are a safe food for the African grey Parrot, they should be fed sparingly with other fruits. Feedin a piece of banana once a week combined with other fruits will keep your African grey diet balanced. Always remember that fruits should only make about 20-25% of your birds’ daily diet. A commercially made pellet specifically made for the African grey should make about 75-80% of your parrot’s daily diet.