Too often, I have heard, following the poisoning of their parrot, people say… “Why did he eat this plant… he should know yet that it is poisonous… ???”
But how on earth could he have known? The parrot is not born with “the little practical guide to parrot poisoning” in our head, just as we are not born with the “red cross survival guide” stored in our memory!
Many plants in the rainforests have developed their own defenses against predators who regard them as beautiful, plump salads. Indeed, these plants are equipped with chemical weapons ( alkaloids, cyanides, oxalates, poisons, etc. ) against animals likely to eat them. Parrots born in the forest learn from their parents how to protect themselves from the toxins of these plants. We observe them eating earth, clay, like that contained in Manu Park in Peru. They also learn from their parents or by observing other members of the social group which plants are edible and which are best to avoid.
So, recognizing edible plants is an acquired behavior, the young learn from his parents and he himself will later teach it to his young.
If this is learned behavior, not innate behavior, then your pet parrot has no idea what is good or bad for them. If the plant is in the house … your house, and the bird trusts you, nothing in its genetics will cause it to avoid this plant, even if it is fatal to it.
You must therefore be very vigilant about what makes up your parrot’s environment. He doesn’t know… he trusts you. Many plants are toxic to humans and not at all to birds… The reverse is also true: what can be harmless to humans can be fatal if ingested by your parrot ( eg avocado ).
Unfortunately, we have not yet tested all the plants on all the parrots, let alone the amounts that must be ingested to be harmful to Coco.