Can Cockatiels Eat Avocado?

Avocado is a rich and flavorful pitted fruit. But some cockatiel owners make the mistake of giving them avocado, not realizing how bad it is for their health. But, can cockatiels eat avocado?

No, cockatiels cannot safely eat avocado. It has persin in the flesh, the stone, and the skin. Persin is a fungicidal toxin that makes cockatiels die of heart and liver failure. Within 12 hours, avocado poisoning will manifest its symptoms. Once cockatiels develop respiratory issues after consuming avocado, they typically die.

Can Cockatiels Eat Avocado?

While avocado is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids that benefit humans, it’s a deadly food source for cockatiels.

Avocados are native to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Central and Northern America, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that cockatiels living in these areas feast on them.

Wild cockatiels ingest clay before eating toxic foods. Clay is thought to protect cockatiels from the effects of toxins when there isn’t enough food.

There aren’t enough studies to say if this works or not, but since cockatiels in captivity don’t have access to clay, they are more likely to get sick or even die from eating avocados.

But if your cockatiel ate a bit of avocado, you should call the vet immediately. A vet can wash out the crop using activated charcoal, but only if the symptoms aren’t too advanced. Once the symptoms become more pronounced, no cure is available.

In the following, you will find everything you need to know about cockatiels and avocados.

Why Can’t Cockatiels Eat Avocado?

The Guatemalan and Nabal varieties of avocado are more toxic than others, but they are all harmful. All parts of the avocado are poisonous to cockatiels, including the fruit’s pit, skin, and flesh.

Cockatiels cannot eat avocados for the following reasons:


Persin is a fungicidal toxin comparable to a fatty acid that is non-toxic to humans and most other animals, but toxic to cockatiels and other birds.

This substance is located throughout the avocado, including the rough, textured skin.

According to the Northern Suburbs Veterinary Hospital, a lethal avocado dose for cockatiels is 20 to 30 grams.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center says that if a bird eats an avocado, it usually starts to feel sick within 12 hours and dies within 1–2 days.

Depending on how much your cockatiel has eaten, though, the first signs of avocado poisoning are:

  • Fluffed-up feathers
  • Weakness and depression
  • Reluctance to perch
  • Extreme agitation
  • Feather-plucking and self-destructive behaviors.

Then, cockatiels develop respiratory issues, at which point death follows.

Heart Failure

In the most severe cases, avocado poisoning causes myocardial necrosis, which results in the death of the heart’s muscles.

It makes fluid build up around the lungs and heart, which stops these important organs from working right. Cockatiels having a heart attack show the following symptoms:

  • Laying at the bottom of the cage.
  • Long periods of inactivity and weakness.
  • Skin discoloration, particularly around the eyes.
  • A swollen abdomen where fluid has accumulated.
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Labored breathing
  • Tail bobbing

These symptoms will not resolve or improve on their own. If an avian vet can’t help the cockatiel before the symptoms get too bad, the bird will die.

Liver Damage

According to VCA Hospitals, toxins such as person are a common cause of liver damage in cockatiels. A healthy liver is vital because it enables cockatiels to digest food, store and filter blood, and perform essential metabolic functions.

Cockatiels are considered most prone to liver disease. The symptoms of liver disease are similar to liver damage and include the following:

  • Fluffed-up feathers
  • Listless cockatiels
  • Regurgitation
  • Increased thirst
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A swollen or puffy abdomen

Digestive Irritation

At the very least, avocados persin produce stomach discomfort.

Alongside vomiting, your cockatiel will likely experience loose, watery stools or diarrhea. Additionally, the abdomen may become swollen.

Fatty Liver Disease

Even though avocados contain beneficial fats, they can nevertheless cause weight gain. A standard avocado weighing 201 grams contains 29 grams of fat, which is a lot compared to other fruits.

Excess fat can lead to fatty liver disease. This condition is also known as hepatic lipidosis and develops when excessive fat develops in the liver.

Does Avocado Kill Cockatiels?

Does Avocado Kill Cockatiels?

Even small traces of avocado can be enough to cause premature death in cockatiels. Owners that don’t realize that it’s toxic could poison their cockatiel, causing an unpleasant death.

Poisoning from avocados is one of the most common causes of sudden death in cockatiels. Though, it’s more likely that it will exhibit a range of symptoms first, including:

  • Coma
  • Blindness
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Excitability
  • Failing from perch
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

As mentioned with other avocado-related conditions, the severity of the symptoms depends on your cockatiel’s sensitivity to avocado and how much has been consumed.

Also read: Can Cockatiels Eat Apples?

What To Do If Your Cockatiel Ate Avocado?

If your cockatiel ate avocado, get them to an avian vet. If clinical signs of poisoning have not yet appeared, the veterinarian may be able to provide a crop lavage with activated charcoal.

Veterinarians are likely to give intravenous fluids to poisoned cockatiels to alleviate symptoms and eliminate persin from the body.

There is no known test for avocado poisoning, but vets can diagnose it from the symptoms alone. Because it is so toxic, cockatiels cannot eat avocado, even in small quantities.

Also read: Can Cockatiels Eat Grapes?


Although exceptionally healthy for people in moderation, avocados are not a safe food for cockatiels to eat. The good news is that there is an abundance of nutritious alternatives to avocados that won’t harm the health of your cockatiel.

Seeds and nuts often contain high levels of fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals, while fruits and vegetables can be excellent sources of fiber, healthy sugars, vitamins, and minerals.

Many of the alternative foods that are safe for your cockatiel are significantly less expensive than avocados as well, with the price of avocados in most of the US exceeding $2 to 3 per fruit.

Apples, berries, bananas, green beans, and peas are all affordable foods that are great for your cockatiel. Nuts and seeds can be pricier than fruits and vegetables but will still likely cost you less per ounce than avocado.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

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