Are bananas bad for birds?

Australian King parrot being offered a banana
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From a recent Facebook thread

Donna R

I have never had a bird that ate the bananas they should leave those out

Donna, Donna, Donna

Normally I would jump into high gear and do some real micro fact checking on the subject.

Alas, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and my best friend, John Jameson and I have been chatting.

We decided it’s best that we not leave our chairs and do our best to convince you that bananas are in fact good for birds strictly by inference.

If you’re a Hill William you may think “infurence” is health coverage for your hunting dog but it’s really the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.

The conclusion drawn is also called an idiomatic.

Are they getting it wrong in Australia too?


What we know to be true.

Lots of bananas come from South America especially Brazil

More bananas come from Brazil than any other country in South America,

More than 3 million tons a year actually. Individual Banana fields can cover up to 60 sq mi.

There are heck of a lot of parrots in South America , even in Brazil, where the all those bananas are.

There are more than 1900 species of birds in Brazil.

All we have to do is look at Amazon parrots in Brazil of which there are 8 species alone –

Blue-cheeked amazons, Blue-fronted amazons, Festive amazons, Kawall’s amazons, Red-browed amazons, Red-spectacled amazons, Red-tailed amazons & Vinaceous amazons

 
festive amazon email Are bananas bad for birds?

This brings us to our first inference

We think the hundreds of thousands of parrots in Brazil who fly over thousands of acres of banana plantations, love to eat all those bananas.

Yet we never hear about Amazon parrots falling out of the sky from banana poisoning.

Inference 2

Carmen Miranda aka The Brazilian Bombshell went on to become the “Chiquita Banana Girl”.

Despite the fact that they quite hadn’t gotten lip-synch down to a science when they shot this video, with Carmen being from South America representing bananas you know that she would never represent anything that would be bad for South American parrots, especially Brazilian parrots.

We also know that this woman

liked to impersonate Carmen Miranda and had a parrot.

vintage parrot dancer Are bananas bad for birds?

A night club entertainer performing with her sacred parrot at the Music Box.

Location: San Francisco, CA, US Date taken: 1942 Photographer: J. R. Eyerman

We can see from the photograph (image on photographic paper found primarily in the 19th & 20th centuries) that the parrot not only knew how to peel bananas but knew how to peel clothing off women.

So there you have it Donna. Hundreds of thousands of parrots, a gazillion tons of bananas, Carmen Miranda and parrots who take clothing off South American dance imitators who acted like Carmen Miranda who liked bananas.

It’s clear (by inference), bananas are just fine for parrots.

mealy amazons bananas blog Are bananas bad for birds?

What fruits aren’t good for parrots?

Avocados, apple pits and seeds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches & plums – It’s a cyanide thing.

“Good” parrot fruits

Apples (no cores or seeds), apricots, bananas, cranberries, mangos, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears & grapes (maybe)

maroon bellied conure grapes fruit blog Are bananas bad for birds?

We’re taking oranges and pineapples off the list because of their high level of acid.

We’ve come to believe unscientifically that these two fruits can become a plucking trigger.

This is due to the acid that passively sits in your birds crop for up to six hours prior to digestion possibly causing birdie heartburn leading to possible feathered plucking starting in the chest, where they feel the “heartburn”.

Vegetables you should avoid feeding your parrot

Onions (sulfur), garlic (related to onions and has similar chemical characteristics) and mushrooms (mushrooms contain amatoxin which can cause liver failure)

If you give your bird celery pull off the floss like strings because they can block your birds bowel. Tomatoes fall into the aforementioned high acid category and should be avoided

More than you ever wanted to know about bananas (from wikipedia)

The banana plant, often erroneously referred to as a “tree”, is a large herb, with succulent, very juicy stem (properly “pseudostem”) which is a cylinder of leaf-petiole sheaths, reaching a height of 20 to 25 ft (6-7.5 m) and arising from a fleshy rhizome or corm. Suckers spring up around the main plant forming a clump or “stool”, the eldest sucker replacing the main plant when it fruits and dies, and this process of succession continues indefinitely.

Tender, smooth, oblong or elliptic, fleshy-stalked leaves, numbering 4 or 5 to 15, are arranged spirally. They unfurl, as the plant grows, at the rate of one per week in warm weather, and extend upward and outward, becoming as much as 9 ft (2.75 m) long and 2 ft (60 cm) wide. They may be entirely green, green with maroon splotches, or green on the upperside and red purple beneath.

The inflorescence, a transformed growing point, is a terminal spike shooting out from the heart in the tip of the stem. At first, it is a large, long-oval, tapering, purple-clad bud.

As it opens, it is seen that the slim, nectar-rich, tubular, toothed, white flowers are clustered in whorled double rows along the floral stalk, each cluster covered by a thick, waxy, hoodlike bract, purple outside, deep-red within.

sbb2 021515 lovebird eating blog Are bananas bad for birds?

Peach faced lovebird

Normally, the bract will lift from the first hand in 3 to 10 days.

If the plant is weak, opening may not occur until 10 or 15 days.

Female flowers occupy the lower 5 to 15 rows; above them may be some rows of hermaphrodite or neuter flowers; male flowers are borne in the upper rows. In some types the inflorescence remains erect but generally, shortly after opening, it begins to bend downward.

In about one day after the opening of the flower clusters, the male flowers and their bracts are shed, leaving most of the upper stalk naked except at the very tip where there usually remains an unopened bud containing the last-formed of the male flowers.

However, there are some mutants such as ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ with persistent male flowers and bracts which wither and remain, filling the space between the fruits and the terminal bud.

reference: Morton, J. 1987. Banana. p. 29–46. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing


Also published on Medium.

Author:

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.