Plants - Toxic for Birds

My bird likes to eat plants. Should I be worried?plants_-_toxic_for_birds-1

"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.



Alderberry Buckthorn

Aloe Vera


American Yew

Andromeda japonica


Angel’s Trumpet

Apple (seeds)

Apricot (pit, leaves and Bark)

Asparagus fern

Autumn Crocus (Meadow Saffron)

Avocado (fruits ,pit and leaves)


Babies Breath

Baby Doll Ti

Balsam Pear


Bean Plants


Bird of Paradise


Bitter Melon

Black Elderberry (not berry)

Black Locus

Bleeding Heart or Dutchman’s Breeches


Blue Bonnets

Blue-green Algae

Bottle Brush


Bracken Fern

Branching Ivy


This client information sheet is based on material written by: Rick Axelson, DVM & Stefanie Guindon, CVT

© Copyright 2011 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.