Can Cockatiels Eat Popcorn? Is it Dangerous?

Can Cockatiels Eat Popcorn

Cockatiels can eat popcorn, but it should be in a tiny amount. However, popcorn isn’t really healthy for cockatiels due to the high amount of butter, salt, and flavorings and should be given only as a snack.

While a small amount of plain popcorn won’t probably harm your cockatiel, it’s best if you avoid it at all to keep your cockatiel safe.

Let’s dive deeper into the topic and find out whether why popcorn is bad for cockatiels.

Can Cockatiels Eat Popcorn?

Yes, cockatiels can eat popcorn as long as the portion is small and given as a treat. And whenever you decide to feed popcorn to your bird, opt for an unsalted and plain version of the popcorn.

Eating salted or buttered popcorn can be bad for cockatiel; it can lead to salt poisoning, which is dangerous for birds, resulting; dehydration, abnormal urination, and even could lead to kidney failure in some cases.

However, popcorn is not a staple part of cockatiels diet; they usually require a balanced diet of pellets, cereal, vegetables, and fruits.

While cockatiels can eat a small amount of popcorn, consider feeding them a well-balanced diet to provide them an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Is Popcorn Safe For Cockatiels?

Yes, popcorn is safe for cockatiels, but that doesn’t mean you can offer them a bowl full of popcorn. 

Is Popcorn Safe For Cockatiels

In fact, they are a healthy grain and highly nutritious and can be fed as a snack.

However, it’s important to understand that popcorn isn’t a regular part of their diet and is classified as a treat. 

So, if your cockatiel loves to munch popcorn, you can offer them popcorn in a small amount occasionally, but it should be unsalted, unflavored.

Problem with Popcorn For Cockatiels

Popcorn is absolutely safe for cockatiels. While popcorn is safe and nutritious for cockatiels, there is still some risk of harming your pet.

Popcorn is a snack item for humans and not for birds. Usually, plain popcorn isn’t toxic for cockatiels, but there is no nutritional value either, and it’s just a snack item to munch and enjoys. 

Thus, popcorn should be given in moderation and not like their regular food.

Here are some common risks of feeding popcorn to your cockatiels:

Added Salt: 

While popcorn itself is highly nutritious, added salt into the popcorn can be harmful to your cockatiel.

Even a small amount of salt can be potentially toxic to small birds like a cockatiel.

It can upset the electrolyte and fluid balance in birds which will eventually lead to excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney failure, and death in some cases.


Flavored popcorn often comes with butter for a different taste, but this isn’t good for your cockatiels. Butter is high in fat and cholesterol; while you may not immediately see any major effects but it’s harmful to your bird in the long term.

Harmful Flavorings: 

Most popcorn contains added flavorings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin powder, paprika, red chili, and other seasonings to enhance the taste, which might not be harmful to you. Still, for your pet, it could be dangerous.

So, if you are eating flavored popcorn, strictly do not toss some of it to your cockatiel as it can harm their digestive system causing various issues.

Moreover, avoid giving too much popcorn to your cockatiels. Cockatiels, on average, consume about 30 to 40 grams of food per day. 

How Much Is Popcorn Safe For Cockatiels?

Not more than one to two treats a week.

How Much Is Popcorn Safe For Cockatiels

Cockatiel’s diet mostly consists of seeds, pellets, seasonal fruits, and vegetables. 

However, cockatiel can also enjoy a variety of other human foods, including popcorn, but it shouldn’t exceed more than 10 to 15% of their total intake.

A healthy cockatiel usually eats about 15 to 20 grams of food per day, and about 80 to 90% of it includes pellets and seeds, and the rest 10% can be fruits, vegetables, or snack items.

Thus, you should provide a balanced diet to your pet for their growth twice a day. In addition, an unlimited supply of water and good hygiene is equally important for the health of your cockatiel.

Can Cockatiels Eat Butter Popcorn?

No, butter popcorn isn’t good for your cockatiels, and they should eat a balanced diet consisting of pellets, seeds, and fruits.

Butter popcorn is very high in fat and cholesterol, which is harmful to your pet. 

Besides, most commercial butter contains salt, which is highly addictive and can cause long-term health issues.

Thus, if you want to share a couple of popcorn with your cockatiels, ensure it’s plain and doesn’t contain any added flavorings or seasonings (not even salt).

However, I don’t recommend feeding popcorn to your cockatiels; instead, you should opt for pellets, seeds, and fruits with high nutritious value for your pet.

Healthy Alternatives For Cockatiels

Cockatiels are innocent and childish, and they will most likely eat anything around them. Still, when it comes to domestic cockatiel, you must feed them an appropriate diet to fulfill their daily nutritional requirement.

Healthy Alternatives For Cockatiels

Usually, seeds and pellets are the major part of their diet. 

Cockatiels can eat various foods such as fresh and dry nuts, vegetables, berries, and fruits to remain healthy.

Here are some healthy and safe foods for your cockatiels: 

1. Pellets And Seeds

Pellets and seeds are essential for cockatiels, and a major part of cockatiel’s diet (70% -80%) should have pellets and seeds.

Cockatiels eat a wide range of seeds in different seasons, but they tend to be rich in fat and carbohydrate but lack many nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

Seeds can be great for cockatiels, but they must be combined and balanced with other healthy components to help your bird grow healthier.

However, avoiding feeding only a seed-based diet could lead to malnutrition, causing several illnesses in the long term and eventually shortening your pet’s lifespan.

2. Fruits

In the wild, cockatiels enjoy a vast range of fruits all over the year. For example, they like to eat apples, bananas, papaya, apricot, strawberries, mangoes, guavas, melons, and other seasonal fruits.

While fruits are safe for a cockatiel, they should be given in a moderate quantity as they are high in natural sugar, which sometimes can irritate their digestive system causing various issues.

Moreover, make sure you cut the fruit into small pieces and remove the inside core, seeds, and pits before serving it to your little cockatiels.

3. Vegetables

Cockatiel enjoys eating a wide range of veggies like kale, bok choy, leafy lettuce, mustard green, sweet potato, carrots, and winter squash.

Other vegetables such as corn, peas, string beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and chilies are also their favorite.

While vegetables are safe for your cockatiel, avoid canned vegetables as they contain little to no nutritional value and opt for fresh and green vegetables.

However, it’s important to wash the vegetables thoroughly and chop them into digest able pieces before serving them to your pet.

And if you are unsure of a fruit or vegetable, ask your vet or bird expert before you serve it to your cockatiel.

4. Sprouting Seeds And Legumes

Sprouting seeds is a safe, healthy, and nutritional meal option for cockatiels. In the wild, cockatiels usually feast on all kinds of seeds and legumes, such as flowers, seeds, and nuts.

Sprouting seeds are highly nutritious as it burns off the seeds’ excess fat and turns them into life, which is highly useful to birds, especially during the winter season.

However, if you are feeding something new to your cockatiels and unsure about the fruit or vegetable, make sure you consult with a bird expert or a veterinarian before offering it to your cockatiels.

Things You Should Never Feed To Your Cockatiels

While cockatiels eat almost everything that comes in their way, from seeds to fruits, there are certain things that you should offer to your domestic bird.

Here are the most common foods that you should avoid giving to your cockatiels:


This fruit might be healthy for you, but it contains a fatty acid called persin used to destroy the fungus in the plants. 

This harmful substance can damage your bird’s heart and respiratory and cause weakness, further leading to death.

However, there are some types of avocado that birds can consume, but for safety, I recommend you avoid giving avocado to your cockatiels completely.


Chocolate or anything containing chocolate is considered toxic for birds as they contain theobromine and caffeine, which should be completely avoided. 

Ingesting chocolate can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and even death in some cases.

Fruit seeds

There is no doubt that fruits are healthy, but the seeds aren’t. So, whenever you offer fruits to your cockatiel, make sure you remove the seeds and pits, especially of apples, pears.

These small seeds and pits contain a toxic compound called cyanide which can lead to several lethal health problems if ingested.

Onion and garlic

If you are a pet lover, you might be aware that onion and garlic are toxic for many pets, including cats, dogs, and birds.

Garlic and onions contain a harmful chemical compounds called allicin and sulfur, which can lead to several health problems such as anemia, esophagus, ulcer, and even death.

Final Thoughts

Cockatiels can safely eat popcorn. However, while feeding popcorn, make sure it has no added salt or flavorings as it can harm your bird.

Popcorns are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins, making them a perfect snack option for your cockatiels but in moderation.

Try to serve a healthy and nutritious meal to your pets so that they can have a balanced diet.

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