We’re committed to keeping clients and staff safe during COVID-19 with NEW admittance and check-out processes. Learn more.

Plants - Toxic for Birds

By Rick Axelson, DVM & Stefanie Guindon, CVT

Care & Wellness, Emergency Situations, Pet Services

My bird likes to eat plants. Should I be worried?

"Few actual studies are available concerning plant toxicity and birds."

Many birds naturally eat plants as part of their diet. Some birds will chew on and possibly consume plants out of curiosity or in the course of play. Birds left unsupervised out of their cage may easily encounter plants kept around the house and in the garden. It is important for owners to be aware of which plants are toxic to birds. Few actual studies are available concerning plant toxicity and birds. Most plants will just make a bird sick but some can kill. Extrapolations from information pertaining to other species including humans concerning harmful effects must be made.

From 2004-2010, Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, had over 1200 cases of poisonings to birds. Of these calls, approximately 2% were due to plant ingestions. Birds are often exposed to poisonous plants by their well-intentioned pet owner. This may be due to an attempt by the owner to provide a more “natural” diet (e.g., avocado), or it may be due to the curious, playful nature of birds. Rather than ingest them, birds shred and play with most plants with which they come in contact. While most plant poisonings only result in mild signs (like intense mouth irritation from the Dieffenbachia plant), a few plants can be deadly with even a small amount ingested. When in doubt, keep all plants out of reach of birds.

Which plants are potentially toxic to birds?

"Some plants have been included on this list if there is even a remote possibility of concern."

The following list of indoor and outdoor plants catalogues many of the plants considered potentially toxic. If you have a concern regarding specific plants not listed here, consult your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline for more information. Some plants have been included on this list if there is even a remote possibility of concern. Keep in mind that this list may not be all inclusive.

Acokanthera Alderberry Buckthorn Aloe Vera Amaryllis American Yew Andromeda japonica Anemone Angel’s Trumpet Apple (seeds) Apricot (pit, leaves and Bark) Asparagus fern Autumn Crocus (Meadow Saffron) Avocado (fruits ,pit and leaves) Azalea Babies Breath Baby Doll Ti Balsam Pear Baneberry Bean Plants Belladona Bird of Paradise Bittersweet Bitter Melon Black Elderberry (not berry) Black Locus Bleeding Heart or Dutchman’s Breeches Bloodroot Blue Bonnets Blue-green Algae Bottle Brush Boxwood Bracken Fern Branching Ivy Buckeye

Find a Local VCA

We're here for you and your pet in 43 states. 
Loading... Please wait