Ask Lafeber

Question:

December 14, 2020

African Grey


Simba loves to eat cooked chicken, and holds the bones chews down the shank and eats out the marrow – I think her ancestors must have been carrion feeders. How else would she know how to do that?


Answer:

Hi Judith,

Yes, many parrots will do this. We really have only the slightest knowledge of what wild parrots eat. The original scientific studies and identification of species was done by collecting several of a species, which sadly meant killing them. Diet was determined by what was found in their crop and the rest of their digestive system. Parrots are foragers, but this also means they are scavengers to a certain degree. It is believed that some do eat insects, small reptiles, and possibly smaller birds and small mammals. In mixed aviaries, parrots have known to eat parts of a deceased flock member, but generally it is left to speculation whether this happens after the bird dies for another reason, or whether it was killed by the other birds. Breeder birds in captivity have been known to kill and eat their own chicks, again there is speculation as to whether this is from stress, poor nutrition or another cause. So Simba can continue to have her chicken as an occasional treat.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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