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Pet Birds and Plants, Part II – avoiding toxic species

Please see Part I of this article for an overview and a list of other toxic plant species. Many of the plants listed there and below are also toxic to mammals, and therefore should not be offered to hamsters, gerbils, mice, chipmunks or other pets. Insect-fanciers have an easier time – some of the most deadly plants are avidly consumed by stick insects, leaf insects and other herbivorous species.

Daffodil Daylily Diffenbachia (“Dumb Cane”)
Dracena Dragon Tree Elephant Ears
Emerald Feather English Ivy Fiddle-leaf Fig
Flamingo Plant Foxglove Fruit Salad Plant
Geranium German Ivy Glacier Ivy
Gladiola Glory Lily Hawaiian Ti
Hibiscus Holly Hurricane Plant
Hyacinth Hydrangia Impatients
Indian Laurel Indian Rubber Plant Iris
Japanese Yew Jerusalem Cherry Kalanchoe
Lilium Species (Easter Lily, Japanese Lily, Tiger Lily, etc.)
Lily of the Valley Marble Queen Marijuana
Mexican Breadfruit Miniature Croton (and other Crotons)
Mistletoe Morning Glory Mother-in- Law’s Tongue
Narcissus Nightshade Needlepoint Ivy
Nephthytis Norfolk Pine Oleander
Onion Peace Lily Peach (leaves, pit)
Pencil Cactus Philodendron Plum (leaves, pit)
Plumosa Fern Pothos Precatory Bean
Poinsettia Primula Privet
Rhododendron Ribbon Plant Sago Palm
Schefflera Sweet Pea String of Pearls/Beads Taro Vine
Tomato (green fruit, stem, leaves) Weeping Fig
Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow Plant Yucca


You can read about the symptoms of plant poisoning in birds and other pets at:

Caution: Some Common Plants are Toxic to Birds

Pet birds of all types can benefit from the branches, leaves and stems of wild plants and trees.  Stripping bark, chewing wood and searching the leaves for hidden treats is very good for their well-being.  In fact, I have long provided cut native browse to captives ranging from ants to ostriches to elephants, and most zoos consider such a valuable form of “behavioral enrichment” and, in some cases, an adjunct to captive diets.

Be sure that all plants provided to birds have been well-washed, so as to remove insecticides.  When cutting natural perches, stay with branches from almond, citrus fruit, apple, dogwood, ash, elm and Manzanita trees, or grapevine.

Many plants that birds might encounter in your home or garden can, however, sicken or kill your pet.  The following list was adapted from that provided by the ASPCA, with additions garnered from my own experience.  Please keep your birds (and other pets) away from these – when in doubt, err on the side of caution:

Aloe Vera
Apple (seeds)
Andromeda japonica
Apricot (pit)
Asparagus Fern
Avocado (fruit, pit)
Baby Doll
Baby’s Breath
Bird of paradise
Branching Ivy
Buddhist Pine
Calla Lily
Castor Bean
Cherry (leaves, seeds)
China Doll
Chinese Evergreen
Christmas Cactus
Christmas Rose
Corn Plant (all Dracena)
Crown Vetch

There’s quite a few more…I’ll cover the balance next week.

Bird emergencies can take many forms….for an overview, please see:



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