Safflower seeds

Can Parrots Eat Safflower Seeds?

Seeds get a bad rap in the bird world and for good reason. They are extremely high in fat and have very little nutritional value.

I myself do not feed a lot of seeds to my parrots and advise people the same. But you might be wondering if safflower seeds are any different. Do they have the same nutritional profile as other seeds or are they any good?

While they are quite similar to other popular seeds like sunflower seeds, there are a few reasons why you may consider occasionally feeding them to your parrot.

Safflower seeds are safe for parrots to eat in small quantities, preferably as snacks. They should not make a large part of their daily diet as they are high in fat and lack many important nutrients that a parrot needs.

What Are Safflower Seeds?

Safflower seeds are the seeds of the safflower plant or Carthamus tinctorius that belongs to the Asteraceae family. Safflower plants have been cultivated for centuries for various purposes, but it is only recently that they have started gaining popularity as seeds for birds.

They are small, oval-shaped seeds, usually 5-10 mm long. The outer shell of safflower seeds is quite hard and does not open easily. 

Are Safflower Seeds Safe For Parrots?

Safflower seeds are generally safe for parrots to eat, but they should be given in moderation. They are not harmful or toxic to parrots, but they have been associated with a number of health conditions.

According to the Journal of Nutrition, seeds are very high in fat which can promote obesity in parrots. In addition to that, the consumption of seeds for a long period can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Parrots that are raised feeding on a seed-only diet suffer from a poor quality of life. Seeds not only make them obese but increase their risk of contracting various other diseases.

On top of that, it is often quite difficult to switch these parrots to a healthier diet. Parrots that have been eating seeds from a young age cannot immediately shift to other foods. They will resist change, so much so that they may starve themselves.

There are many reasons why seeds are bad for parrots. However, that does not mean your parrot cannot have any. You can feed safflower seeds and other types to your parrot, but you should be aware of the downsides and plan their diets accordingly.

Do Parrots Like Safflower Seeds?

Wild parrots typically do not eat safflower seeds since these seeds only grow in arid climates. Pet parrots on the other hand do seem to like the taste of safflower seeds.

That being said, safflower seeds are not their favorite type of seed. If you give your parrot the option between safflower seeds or any other seed, it will most likely go for the other variety of seeds. 

This is because safflower seeds have a tougher shell that may be difficult for them to open, especially for the smaller parrots.

But if you give them safflower seeds separately, they will not reject it. After all, parrots love seeds.

You can feed your parrot safflower seeds raw or by sprinkling them on other foods. Parrots love seeds and will eat them in any form.

Benefits Of Safflower Seeds For Parrots

Safflower Seeds have a variety of nutrients including Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, and Folate as well as vitamin A and Vitamin B in small amounts. In addition, safflower seeds contain a good amount of fiber that may help your parrot’s digestive health and prevent constipation.

Which Is Better For Parrots –  Sunflower Seeds Or Safflower Seeds?

Safflower seeds are generally considered the better option for parrots because of their relatively higher nutritional value. Along with that, safflower seeds are slightly lower in unsaturated fats, which makes them acceptable in a parrot’s diet in small amounts.

How Much Safflower Seeds Can You Feed Your Parrots?

If you want to include safflower seeds in your parrot’s diet, you can do so, but you need to be careful with how much you feed them. 

Ideally, you should not give your parrots any more than 5-10 seeds a day.

Seeds are calorically dense with not many nutrients. So if your parrot eats too many seeds, it will fill them up very quickly. 

Another reason you shouldn’t feed too many safflower seeds to your parrot is because they can get addicted. Parrots like the feeling of opening seeds and working for their food as they do in the wild.

It can be very difficult to wean them off seeds, especially if they’re young. So it’s best to use safflower seeds as snacks. You can give them one or two seeds in the evening and a few mixed with their normal food.

How To Serve Safflower Seeds To Your Parrot?

Seeds are perfectly fine for parrots as long as they’re part of a healthy and well-balanced diet. Seeds are criticized because people often focus too much on seeds in their parrot’s diet or feed them an only-seed diet.

You can serve safflower seeds to your parrots as snacks in their raw form. Even though they’re a bit harder than other seeds, parrots enjoy working to get their food and wouldn’t mind putting in the extra effort.

Alternatively, you can offer seeds with their daily diet. They like it when they find it hidden inside their fruits or veggies.


It can be beneficial for parrots to eat safflower seeds. It is generally considered a healthier alternative to other seeds. Based on its nutrition, it is not much different though it does have its own benefits. As mentioned, safflower seeds are slightly low in unhealthy fats.

But as with other high-calorie foods, you should not overfeed them to your birds. Parrots are already known to indulge a bit too much in seeds, so it would be better if you only offered them safflower seeds as snacks. A few safflower seeds mixed with their regular veggies will also work fine.

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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