Tuna is one of my favorite seafood’s, infact it’s probably the only one that I actually enjoy. I’m not the only one too apparently it’s commonly eaten around the world. There are 8 species of tuna that come in different shapes and sizes. It’s also extremely versatile as it can be eaten raw, cooked, fresh or canned. We know humans can safely eat it but what about parrots? Let’s find out.
Can parrots eat tuna? Yes parrots can eat tuna it’s considered non-toxic to them and can provide many minerals and nutrients like protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B6 and potassium among other things. However tuna is very high in sodium and mercury so you should only feed it to your parrot in moderation to limit any negative effects.
In this article we are going to outline the possible benefits of tuna for parrots, the downsides and what tuna is best for your bird to have so read on!
Tuna Benefits For Parrots
A 4-ounce serving of white tuna provides :
High In Protein
The most prominent nutrient in tuna is protein, with there being 26g of it in one can. Parrots need protein for the maintenance of their muscles, bones, feathers skin and organs.
Protein is also important :
- A healthy immune system
- Healing wounds
- Healthy metabolism
- To form energy
Without enough protein your bird may be prone to becoming sick or getting injured often. To prevent this feed them foods high in protein like legumes, other seafood, eggs, meat, tofu and whole grain breads.
Tuna also contains iron, a mineral that helps your parrots overall energy and focus. If they don’t get enough of it they may be lethargic often and not have the energy to play with you so it’s important they get enough.
Iron is also needed for :
- Creating red blood cells
- Regulating body temperature
- Defending the immune system
- Abdominal processes
Spinach, legumes, dried fruit, meat, pumpkin seeds and broccoli all provide a healthy source of iron safe for your parrot to eat.
Vitamin B6 is one of 8 b vitamins and it’s responsible for around 200 functions that go on inside the body. It’s important for neurological processes and transporting oxygen into the blood among other things.
Other notable benefits of vitamin B6 :
- Healthy nervous system
- Better circulation
- Improved mood
- Boosting the immune system
- Lowers the chances of getting cancer
Other foods high in this vitamin are eggs, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, green peas and bananas.
Potassium is an important electrolyte needed for keeping your parrots heart healthy, reducing blood pressure and lowering the chances of strokes.
It’s also important for protein and carbohydrate metabolism, helps the muscles and nerves function and maintains healthy cell function.
Foods high in potassium include :
- Dried fruits
The most important benefit of selenium is it’s antioxidant properties. This means it helps your parrot’s cells defend oxidative damage done by free radicals. These are unstable molecules that can cause harm like cancer or other age related disease. Antioxidants work to neutralize these free radicals and slow down or prevent any harm.
Lastly tuna contains a healthy dose of vitamin d, a vitamin required for the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body. These things are needed to help keep your parrots bone and muscles healthy, without it they may be more prone to breaks or fractures.
Your parrot can get vitamin D from exposure to the sun or from foods like salmon and other kinds of fish.
Tuna Downsides For Parrots
High In Salt
According to the USDA there is 47mg of sodium in 100 grams of skipjack tuna. While sodium isn’t toxic to parrots it isn’t healthy for them either. Salt is needed in a birds diet for as a lack of can cause weight loss, lethargy and too much fluid being excreted.
However there’s also a problem with too much sodium. A parrots kidneys are not as efficient at removing sodium the way humans are, which can then lead to kidney issues if the sodium intake is too high for them.
High Mercury Content
All seafood has mercury in it, a toxic heavy metal. Unfortunately tuna has one of the highest mercury content compared to other seafood which is why it needs to be fed sparingly.
High levels of mercury has been linked with brain problems, a negative impact on the cardiovascular system and mental health issues.
However not all tuna is the same and they all have different levels of mercury.
If you are going to feed tuna to your parrot then I would recommend buying light canned tuna or skipjack tuna.
Light tuna contains 10.71mcg per 3 ounces, skipjack tuna has 12.24mcg. Compare this to albacore tuna or bigeye tuna where the mercury content is 30.43mcg and 58.57mcg.
What Other Foods Can Parrots Eat?
You know tuna is safe for your parrot to eat but if you’re like me then your always looking for new foods to improve your parrots diet to create some variety and and include vital things that aren’t already in your birds diet.
So what other foods can your parrot eat?
- Fruit & Vegetables
Foods like asparagus, broccoli, spinach, peppers, bananas, blueberries and pineapples are all fine and encouraged for your Parrot to eat.
Things like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts can be fed to your parrot. Just be wary of the fat content in some of them so they may need to be treated as a snack for your Parrot. We don’t want them getting fat!
Tuna For Parrots – Final Thoughts
Tuna fed in moderation can be a fantastic, nutritional snack for your feathered friends. However as it’s high in salt and contains more mercury than a lot of other seafood you should limit how much you give to your parrot.
Make sure tuna is added into an already well balanced diet full of quality vitamins and minerals, there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy tuna now and again if their diet is on point.