Choosing African Grey Parrot Food – Healthy Diets for Happy Birds!

african grey parrot food

Providing the best African Grey parrot food requires care on the part of any owner lucky enough to live with one of these magnificent birds.

Poor nutrition is a common trigger for many health problems among African Grey parrots.

To make sure your beautiful bird is supplied with the best African Grey food possible, we’ve got lots of information about the diet they need and why.

And we even have some product recommendations to set you off in the right direction.

Let’s begin!

All of these products were carefully and independently selected by the Squeaks and Nibbles team. If you decide to make a purchase from one of the links marked by an asterisk, we may earn a small commission on that sale. This is at no extra cost to you.

Best parrot food for African Grey parrots

As is the case with all animal species, birds need a proper balance of fat, carbohydrates, proteins, essential vitamins and minerals, as well as water in their diets.

But did you also know that different species of birds can require different foods?

african grey parrot food

In the wild African Grey parrots eat a variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetation.

In our homes, it’s important to mimic the nutritional profile of this diet as closely as possible, to ward off obesity and malnutrition.

African Greys are particularly vulnerable to calcium and vitamin A deficiency, so incorporating generous sources of these are just one way your bird’s diet needs to be specially tailored to his unique needs.

Choosing the best African Grey food for good health

Seeds might have been the staple dinner of pet parrots fifty years ago, but now we know they should be a small portion of a balanced diet, never the entire diet.

Seeds are high in fat which can lead to obesity, and African Greys are actually pretty inefficient at digesting them and extracting all the nutrients they need.

Nonetheless, these savvy avians will deftly cherry pick seeds from a mixed feed and reject everything else.

So to prevent these fussy eaters becoming their own worst enemy, the best food for African Grey parrots is a specialized African Grey pellet food.

African Grey pellet food should make up around 75% – 80% of your bird’s diet.

The remainder should be fresh fruits and vegetables.

And of course, fresh, clean drinking water should be available at all times.

Fine tuning your African Grey’s diet

It is especially important to ensure the proper amount of calcium in your bird’s diet as impaired health, possibly including seizures, can occur without it.

Luckily, commercially available pellet foods are designed to meet a bird’s nutritional needs, taking the guesswork out of meal planning!

You can also use calcium rich nuts such as almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts as treats during training.

When picking fresh fruit and vegetables for you parrot, look especially to red, orange and yellow choices (pick some from our list below!) – these contain the most vitamin A.

Lists of African Grey parrot foods to provide and avoid

Fresh vegetables and fruit round out a healthy diet.

In general the following fresh fruits are recommended as a part of a balanced African Grey diet:

  • Kiwi
  • Melons
  • Apples
  • Mango and Papaya (skin removed)
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes

On the other hands, the following foods have the potential to cause digestive upset or more serious health problems and should be avoided:

  • Raw onion
  • Raw garlic
  • Milk
  • Caffeine
  • Nutmeg
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado

Best pellet food for African Grey parrots

Finding the right pellets for you and your pet might take a little trial and error.

We’ve got some great suggestions below, but you might find your African Grey has some clear ideas of their own about which pass muster!

You might also find that the texture of different pellets has a surprising effect on the texture of your parrots poop at the other end!

But if you want to try changing your parrots food, always do so gradually and never remove their previous food overnight.

And if you have any concerns about how your parrot’s diet is impacting their health, always ask your vet for advice.

Best pellet food for African Grey parrots

Each of these tasty, nutritionally balanced mixes provide a basic yet complete formulation that is suited for the ordinary dietary needs of healthy African Grey parrots:

Kaytee Exact Rainbow Parrot and Conure Food

This premium extruded food* is specially designed for parrots by a recognized nutritional leader.

Veterinarian and breeder recommended, it contains omega 3’s for skin and feather health as well as brain and heart health.

Both prebiotics and probiotics are included to enhance digestive health and the mix contains no shells or seed hulls.

The product is naturally preserved for maximum freshness and can be bought in 2.5, 4, and 20 pound bags.

Harrison’s High Potency Coarse

This nutritional formula for medium to large birds* is specially designed for African Greys, and it is certified organic, with no preservatives, artificial colors, or sweeteners.

LaFeber Parrot Pellets

One of the first parrot pellets* to hit the market, this brand is fortified with vitamin A, calcium, omega 3 and 6, amongst other nutrients.

Since then, they’ve gained a loyal cult following among parrot lovers.

The pellets come in three sizes, so you can pick the ones best suited to your African Grey.

The best African grey parrot food for large birds

If you would like to serve up a tasty and nutritious mix at mealtime that is specially formulated for large birds any one of these formulations is sure to tickle your bird’s taste buds (and maybe even his feathers!):

ZuPreem Natural Medium-Large Bird Food

This easily digested, extruded pellet mix* is recommended by veterinarians and top breeders worldwide.

The highly nutritious mix includes a plethora of essential vitamins and minerals as well as a delicious medley of dried fruits and veg including celery, beets, parsley, cranberry, carrots and blueberry.

ZuPreem Medium-Large Fruit Blend Diet

This yummy mix* contains fresh ground fruit in each and every tasty bite and is recommended by top breeders and veterinarians.

 The food comes in a wide array of bag sizes, from 3.5 pounds all the way up to 35 pounds.

The brand has 21 essential vitamins and minerals, and is so complete that no additional supplements are required.

Hari Tropimix Premium Enrichment Food For Large Parrots

This tasty formula* contains a natural blend of human grade nuts, grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

 It is specially formulated for African Greys and is free of husks and shells.

The product is available in both 4 and 20 pound bags.

Since it moves away from the pure-pellet diets and includes dried fruit and vegetables, wait for your African Grey to finish the bowl before you replenish it so he can’t skim of the unhealthiest bits at every meal!

The best African Grey parrot food for specialized diets

Any one of these specialized African grey parrot food list items are a perfect addition to your bird’s menu.

Some have added calcium, while others avoid certain items such as peanuts.

Higgins Vita Seed California Blend Parrot Food

This bag contains the finest natural, premium ingredients* and has no peanut or sunflower seeds, if you prefer not to feed these food items to your African Grey parrot.

 Made in the USA, the mix is enriched with DHA and omega-3 fatty acids to support the immune system, as well as probiotics for a healthy digestive tract.

Additionally, carrots, yellow peas, raisins, pineapple, beets, and spinach are included for a variety of tasty flavors.

F.M. Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Bird Food

This mix is specifically formulated for African Greys*, and is the perfect choice if you want a variety of nuts, including pine nuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds and cashews that are still in their shells.

 Omega fatty acids and healthy bacteria are included to stimulate digestion and the mix contains farm fresh veggies with plenty of antioxidants as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help maintain healthy digestive and immune systems.

Pretty Bird International African Bird Food with Extra Calcium

This high quality bird food* is specially designed for most African species and comes in a 3 pound bag option.

The tasty medium sized bites contain higher levels of calcium as well as a 14% protein and 8% fat formulation.

Remember – if you are concerned that your parrot has any kind of nutritional deficiency, ask your vet for advice.

LaFeber Senior Bird Pellet Berries

As your African Grey enters their golden years, it will be time to consider a whole new range of specialized diets for older parrots.

This is a great example* of an African Grey food specially designed to meet the nutritional needs of older birds.

It’s lower calorie so your pet won’t gain unhealthy ounces as their energy begins to drop.

And each berry contains a perfect balance of pellets, grains and fruits to make up a complete balanced diet.

The best African Grey parrot food

We hope you enjoyed our review of the very best African Grey parrot foods.

As you can see there is quite a selection of specialized foods designed to keep your African Grey Parrot healthy and active!

Once you’ve found the perfect commercial food for your parrot, don’t forget to keep supplementing it with a changing variety of fresh fruit and vegetables – this is the bit that makes feeding them fun!

What’s on you’re African Grey food list?

Do you have a suggestion about African Grey parrot food for fellow parents of these lovely birds?

We would love to hear about them in our comments section below!

New parrot owners make sure you also check out our guide to the best parrot names!

Affiliate link disclosure: Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.


McDonald, L.J., “Hypocalcemic seizures in an African grey parrot”, The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 1988.

Axelson, R., “African Grey Parrot – Feeding”, VCA Hospitals, 2017.

Sales, et al, “The use of internal markers to determine metabolizable energy and digestibility of diets in the African grey parrot”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift, 2004.

Kalmar et al, “Apparent nutrient digestibility and excreta quality in African grey parrots fed two pelleted diets based on coarsely or finely ground ingredients”, Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 2007.

Koutsos et al, “Nutrition of Birds in the Order Psittaciformes: A Review”, Journal of Avian Medicine & Surgery, 2001.


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