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Birdie Muffins

Including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and formulated pellets into a fun ‘treat’.

By Tanya Renner


Ellie the plumheaded parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala) enjoying a Birdie Muffin for her ninth hatchday on April 10, 2011.

You are what you eat!

In the wild, the majority of a parrot’s diet is plant-based. Budgerigars and cockatiels consume a diet based on grains or seeds and are therefore called granivores. Macaws feed primarily on fruits and are considered frugivores. Lorikeets and lories get the majority of their calories from fruit and flower nectar and are therefore nectarivores. Many cockatoos and parakeets are omnivores and include plants as well as animals (insects) in their diet.

How can we cater to such specialized dietary needs if we ourselves are not living in the jungle or on the savanna? A bird diet consisting of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and formulated pellets can be very healthy and balanced. The following recipe for Birdie Muffins incorporates a number of healthy mix-ins, many of which can be replaced by your bird’s favorites. Remember to always start out slowly when giving your bird new foods and to always feed in moderation.

Birdie Muffins

To reduce exposure to pesticides, use organic ingredients when possible.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 large banana (mashed)
  • ¼ cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 egg, beaten or egg substitute (such as ground flaxseed mixed with water)
  • ½ cup water, or enough to form a thick batter
  • ½ cup formulated pellets such as Harrison’s Zeigler, Lafeber, Zupreem, TOP or Roudybush
  • ½ cup chopped broccoli
  • ½ cup chopped apple (core & seeds removed)
  • ¼ cup sweet potato/yam (pre-cooked, skin-removed and chopped)


One tablespoon flaked coconut, unsweetened

Optional mix-ins

Peas, carrot, berries, kale, bell pepper, pre-cooked whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, oat groats, and wheat berries.


Many parrots love hot peppers and will enjoy red pepper flakes in their muffins. Cinnamon is another great bird-safe spice which may be included.


  • Pre-heat your conventional oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, corn meal, and baking powder.
  • In another bowl, mash a banana, add the applesauce and whisk in one egg or egg substitute.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and then incorporate enough water to bring the mixture to a thick batter-like consistency.
  • To the batter, add the formulated pellets, chopped broccoli, apple, and sweet potato/yam.
  • Divide batter into pre-lined muffin tins. Make sure to use 100% unbleached baking cups for your bird’s muffins such as those made by If You Care and muffin tins that do not have a Teflon coating.
  • Sprinkle unsweetened flaked coconut on top of each muffin, place into pre-heated 350F oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffin.
  • Allow muffins to completely cool and to remove baking cups before serving to your birds, as hot foods can burn your birds’ crop! One muffin is usually too large for one bird, so cut up muffins and freeze extra portions for treats at a later time.


Koutsos, E.A., Matson, K.D., Klasing, K.C. (2001). Nutrition of Birds in the Order Psittaciformes: A Review. Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, 15(4): 257-275.