10 Common Plants That Are Toxic to Birds

Top view of Vibrant red holiday Christmas pointsettia leaves
Elena Gonzalez Hontoria / Getty Images

People who own parrots and other pet birds must be careful regarding the types of plants they allow in their homes, as many common houseplants are highly toxic to birds. Toxicity primarily depends on the plant variety, the size of the bird, and how much the bird ate. Gastrointestinal upset is a common sign that your bird ate something toxic is, and a poisoning can easily turn fatal.

If you think your bird ingested something toxic, call your veterinarian or a poison helpline immediately. Of course, prevention is key. Learn to recognize toxic plants, so your bird can stay safe.

  • 01 of 10

    Amaryllis

    four containers of amaryllis flowers sitting on a windowsill

    Johner Images / Getty Images

    Growing amaryllis from bulb to flower can be a fun indoor gardening experience, but it will put your pet bird at risk. The plant, including the bulb, is toxic to birds and other pets. Ingesting it can result in vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, excessive salivation and more.

  • 02 of 10

    Daffodil

    Yellow daffodils in a vase next to a tin

    honey_and_milk / Getty Images

    Daffodils are popular, cheery spring flowers, but they can spell trouble for pet birds. These flowers contain the chemical lycorine, which can be highly toxic or even deadly depending on the amount ingested. It can cause severe gastrointestinal issues and seizures in birds and other animals.

  • 03 of 10

    Holly

    holly branch with berries

    John Paul Endicott / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Holly is a great decoration for holiday festivities, but its leaves and berries are poisonous to birds. Because the berries might look like a tasty snack for many birds, opt for synthetic holly in your holiday decorations to keep your pet healthy and safe.

  • 04 of 10

    Ivy

    Ivy

    Andy Miller / Getty Images

    Lush, green ivy is a popular decoration in many homes. While it does add a beautiful accent to a room, several types of ivy—including the common English ivy—can be deadly to any pet birds who share your home. It can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea as well as hypersalivation.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Lilies

    Peace Lily

    chefranden / photopin / CC

    There are many types of lilies, all beautiful and popular in floral arrangements. But bird owners should remove any lilies—including peace lilies—from the areas where their pets reside. Lillies can cause severe irritation to a bird's mouth and digestive tract.

  • 06 of 10

    Mistletoe

    Mistletoe hanging on a wall

    Chiara Benelli / Getty Images

    Another popular holiday plant, mistletoe also can be deadly to pet birds. All parts of the plant can cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and anorexia if birds ingest it.

  • 07 of 10

    Morning Glory

    Morning glories blooming outdoors

    Mai Ermin / Getty Images

    The beautiful flowers of this popular vine are pleasant to look at, but it poses a serious threat to your pet bird's health. Be especially careful if you acquire morning glory seeds for planting, as they contain a dangerous chemical similar to LSD.

  • 08 of 10

    Philodendron

    Philodendron houseplant in a red pot

    Rfisher27 / Getty Images 

    Philodendrons are common houseplants whose foliage can add a jungle vibe to your home, but they're not safe for birds. All parts of the plant are toxic and can cause serious irritation to a bird's mouth, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting, among other symptoms.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Poinsettia

    detailed view of spotted poinsettia

    DigiPub / Getty Images

    These beautiful plants are often the centerpiece of holiday festivities. But if you own birds, you might want to opt for a safer decoration. Poinsettias not only are poisonous to birds—causing gastrointestinal issues, skin irritation, and other serious health problems—but they can make other pets and people sick, too.

  • 10 of 10

    Shamrock

    shamrocks

    Unsplash

    You might think having a shamrock plant will bring a little luck into your home—but not for your bird. These houseplants are highly toxic to birds, along with cats, dogs, and other animals. They can cause tremors and excessive salivation, among other health issues.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.
Article Sources
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  1. Household Hazards for Pet Birds. Merck Veterinary Manual.

  2. Gwaltney-Brant, Sharon M. Chapter 39 - Christmastime Plants. Editor(s): Michael E. Peterson, Patricia A. Talcott, Small Animal Toxicology (Third Edition), W.B. Saunders, 2013, Pages 499-511. doi:10.1016/B978-1-4557-0717-1.00039-9

  3. Kretzing, Sascha. Abraham, Getu et al. Dose-dependent emetic effects of the Amaryllidaceous alkaloid lycorine in beagle dogs. Toxicon, vol 57, no 1, Pages 117-124, 2011. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2010.10.012

  4. Household Hazards. American Veterinary Medical Association.

  5. 17 Plants Poisonous to Pets. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

  6. Lightfoot, Teresa & Yeager, Julie. Pet Bird Toxicity and Related Environmental Concerns. The veterinary clinics of North America. Exotic animal practice, 11, 229-59, vi, 2006. doi:10.1016/j.cvex.2008.01.006

  7. Nowak, Julia et al. Identification and determination of ergot alkaloids in Morning Glory cultivarsAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry vol. 408,12 (2016): 3093-102. doi:10.1007/s00216-016-9322-5

  8. Philodendron Fact Sheet. Clemson University Extension Home and Garden Information Center.

  9. Shamrock. Animal Poison Control Center.