• Farmington Animal Hospital
  • 204 Farmington Avenue,
  • Farmington,
  • Connecticut,
  • 06032
  • Phone: 860 677-4400
  • Email: vetbiz@fahct.com

Plants That are Toxic to Birds

Should pet birds be allowed to eat plants?

Many bird species eat plants as a part of their natural diet. Birds are quite curious in nature and they often use their beak as another “hand." Like toddlers, birds tend to put everything in their mouths.

Plant poisoning can occur in a variety of ways. Well-meaning owners may offer plant-based foods in an effort to provide a more natural and varied diet. Plants may also be added around a bird’s housing, to provide enrichment. If birds are allowed to roam the house or go outside, they may be unintentionally exposed to toxic plants.

Studies regarding the safety of specific plants related to birds are limited. In many cases, information must be assumed based on known risks to other species. The safety of certain plants is also related to the species of bird. Plants that are poisonous to a Macaw may not cause the same signs in a pigeon. Too many plants exist for you to completely understand every poisonous plant. A general knowledge of non-toxic plants can help you provide dietary variety and environmental enrichment for your pet birds.

Luckily, most plants that are considered poisonous do not cause serious illness. Stomach upset is the most common sign of poisoning, although there are plants that can cause severe effects or even death. Due to the possible harmful effects, it is best to prevent access to plants unless their safety for birds is known.

What are some common plants that are poisonous for birds?

Many bird owners share food with their birds or add plant material to vary the bird’s diet. However, you should never feed avocado, onions, garlic, or rhubarb leaves. Avocado may cause difficulty breathing, heart problems, and agitation in birds. Onions and garlic can cause red blood cell destruction and kidney damage. Rhubarb leaves have been associated with stomach upset, low blood calcium levels, and kidney damage. Ingestion of even small amounts of these plants can cause death.

Abnormal heart rhythm and changes in heart rate have been seen when birds ingest Lily of the Valley, Oleander, Rhododendron, Japanese Yew, or Foxglove.

Dieffenbachia and Philodendron are common household plants. Birds can develop stomach upset, mouth pain and, rarely, difficulty breathing when these plants are ingested.

A list containing all the plants that are poisonous to birds cannot be provided. The following list includes plants which may be poisonous for birds. 

Plants not on the list may also be a safety concerns for birds. Contact a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (a 24/7 animal poison control center) at 1-800-213-6680 for concerns about the safety of specific plants.

Poisonous Plants for Birds

 Aloe vera Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) * Amanita mushrooms Fruit salad plant (Philodendron pertusum) Amaryllis sp. Garlic (Allium sativum) * Andromeda japonica (Pieris japonica) Glacier ivy (Hedera helix) Asian lily (Lilium asiatica) Gladiolas (Gladiolas spp.) Asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri) Glory lily (Gloriosa superba) Australian nut (Macademia integrifolia) Gold dieffenbachia (Diffenbachia picta) Autumn crocus (Colchium sp.) Gold dust dracaena (Dracaena godseffiana) Azalea (Rhododendron sp.) Green gold nephthysis (Syngonium podophyllum) Avocado (Persea americana) * Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) Birds of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) Holly (Ilex spp.) Bittersweet, American (Celastrus scandens) Hurricane plant (Monstera deliciosa) Bittersweet, European (Solanum dulcamara) Hyacinth (Hyacinthus oreintalis) Black locust (Robina pseudocacia) * Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) Branching ivy (Hedera helix) Iris (Iris sp.) Buckeye (Aesculus spp.) Japanese show lily (Lilium sp.) Buddist pine (Podocarpus macrophylla) Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) Caladiium hortolanum Kalanchoe species Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) Kalmia species Castor bean (Ricinus sp.) Lace fern (Asparagus setaceus) Ceriman (Monstera deliciosa) Lacy tree (Philodendron selloum) Charming diffenbachia (Diffenbachia amoena) Lilies (Lillium spp.) Chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach) Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) * Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestrum) Macadamia nut (Macademia integrifolia) Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) Clematis (Montana rubens) * Marble queen (Scindapsus aureus) Cordatum (Philodendron oxycardium) Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) Corn or cornstalk plant (Dracaena frangrans) Mexican breadfruit (Monstera deliciosa) Cutleaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa) Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) Cycad, Sago, Zamia palms (Cycad spp.) Morning glory (Ipomoea spp.) Cylamen spp. Mother-in-Law plant (Monstera sp.) Daffodil (Narcissus spp.) Narcissus (Narcissus spp.) Day lily (Hemorocallis dumotirei) Needlepoint ivy (Hedera helix) Deadly nightshade (Solanum spp.) Nephthytis (Syngonium podopyllum) Devil's ivy (Epipremnum aureum) Nightshade (Solanum spp.) Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.) Oleander (Nerium oleander) * Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) Onion (Allium spp.) Elephant ears (Caladium hortulanum) Orange day lily (Hemorocallis graminea) Emerald feather or fern (Asparagus densiflorus) Panda (Philodendron panduraeformae) English ivy (Hedera helix) Peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.) Flamingo plant (Anthuruium sp.) Plumosa fern (Asparagus plumosus) Florida beauty (Dracaena spp.) Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherima) * Pothos (Epipremnum sp.) Straight-margined dracaena (Dracaena marginata) Precatory bean (Abrus precatorius) Striped dracaena (Dracaena deremensis) Queensland nut (Macadamia integrifolia) Sweetheart ivy (Hedera helix) Red emerald (Philodendron) Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) Red-margined dracaena (Dracaena marginata) Taro vine (Scindapsus aureus) Red princess (Philodendron) Tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum) Rhododendron * Tomato plant (Lycopersicon spp.) green parts only Ribbon plant (Dracaena sanderiana) Tropic snow dumbcane (Dieffenbachia amoena) Rhubarb (Rheum spp.) Tulip (Tulip sp.)Rubrum lily (Lilium spp.) Variable dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia picta) Saddle leaf philodendron (Philodendron selloum) Virgina creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) * Sago palm (Cycas, Zamia spp.) Warneckei dracaena (Dracaena dermensis) Schefflera (Schefflera/ Brassalia actinophylla) Yew; Japanese, American, English & Western (Taxus spp.) * Spotted dumb cane (Dieffenbachia picta) Yucca Stargazer lily (Lilium orientalis)

* Toxic plants specifically reported in birds. ** Poisoning if large amount ingested

Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based out of Minneapolis, MN is available 24/7 for pet owners and veterinary professionals that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The staff provides treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $65 per incident includes follow-up consultations for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com

 

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