What Insects Can Cockatiels Eat? Do They Eat Mealworms?

Did you know that cockatiels are omnivores? Yes, in the wild, they have learned to eat anything to sustain themselves. Let me list some insects that your pet bird can eat with gusto, given a chance.

If you have pet cockatiels, you should know that an all-seed diet isn’t adequate for these beautiful birds.

They need a balanced diet comprising a variety of fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, grains, and of course, granules with all the necessary nutrients.

But did you know that in the wild, these birds are actually omnivores? Yes, cockatiels can even eat insects, and sometimes those can be an excellent addition to their diet.

What Insects Can Cockatiels Eat

Many insects are a source of protein and other important nutrients. However, not every insect is suitable for feeding every bird species.

Some are poisonous, while some simply don’t offer the necessary nutrients. Let’s find out which insects a cockatiel can eat.

Do Cockatiels Eat Insects?

The natural diet of a cockatiel already includes different insects.

You should feed your pet bird with insects in moderated amounts to make sure its nutritional needs are met.

Insects with high protein and low-fat content are ideal for cockatiels.

However, pet owners must also remember that insects should be used only as occasional treats – not for every meal.

Can Cockatiels Eat Crickets?

Although wild birds of this species don’t hunt crickets, they do eat those pests quite often while foraging for food in trees, bushes, and crop fields.

Crickets also happen to be one of the most popular feeder insects. Not only are they ready to raise, but they are also safe for birds to consume.

With that said, you can indeed let your pet cockatiel eat crickets.

100 grams of crickets can give your cockatiel about 13 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of fat, and 121 kcal of calories.

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    Cockatiels can eat most insects like ants and crickets

    Can Cockatiels Eat Ants?

    Ants are abundant, which might make you wonder if your cockatiel can eat them.

    Besides, ants are also nutritious. In addition to protein, black ants are particularly rich in zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

    Cockatiels can eat ants, but they usually don’t.

    Most bird species under the parrot family find ants to be rather distasteful due to the formic acid secreted from the body of an ant.

    Can Cockatiels Eat Flies?

    If you find flies buzzing around, catching them and feeding them to your cockatiel is a very bad idea.

    While flies themselves aren’t poisonous, they carry various diseases and bacteria.

    As you might know, these dirty insects are frequently found feeding on trash and feces.

    Eating flies can potentially cause a cockatiel to fall sick. You can buy fly larvae from pet stores selling feeder insects.

    These are safe for consumption, contain various essential minerals, and are rich in protein.

    However, even store-bought fly larvae should be fed only in moderation as they also contain a lot of fat.

    Can Cockatiels Eat Grasshoppers?

    Grasshoppers are popular feeder insects, and yes – cockatiels can eat them.

    Although the whole body of a grasshopper is safe for consumption, you should still cut it into small pieces before feeding your cockatiel.

    This is because some parts of the body are harder to eat and might get caught in the bird’s beak.

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      You may certainly consider including grasshoppers in your cockatiel’s diet. They’re a rich source of protein and vitamins.

      Believe it or not, grasshoppers offer even more protein than some of the common protein-rich foods for human consumption, like milk and fish.

      They can eat grasshoppers

      Can Cockatiels Eat Moths?

      In the wild, cockatiels don’t eat a lot of moths because moths aren’t usually found in the places where cockatiels tend to forage.

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        However, moths are a healthy snack that cockatiels will gladly take if offered.

        Moths are great feeder insects, offering a decent amount of protein and vitamins.

        They don’t pose a threat to your cockatiel’s health either. Many pet stores sell dried moths, which are even better.

        Can Cockatiels Eat Butterflies?

        Cockatiels also eat butterflies, and the latter is more common in their foraging route in the wild than moths.

        However, you should note that some butterfly species, like the monarch butterfly and the pipeline swallowtail butterfly, contain toxic chemicals gathered from the plants they consume.

        Generally speaking, butterflies aren’t a good choice when selecting feeder insects for a cockatiel.

        Domesticated cockatiels frequently avoid larger butterflies anyway, rather than trying to catch them.

        Can Cockatiels Eat Beetles?

        Beetles are another species of feeder insects that we can find in plenty.

        In case you didn’t know, 40% of all insects in the world are beetles. They’re widely used as pet food, and more than 300 species of beetles are even consumed by humans.

        Most beetles are small enough that adult cockatiels can swallow them whole.

        If you have seeds or grains infested by weevils, saw-toothed beetles, or rust-red flour beetles, you may use them to feed your cockatiel.

        Can Cockatiels Eat Cockroaches?

        No, cockatiels do not eat cockroaches.

        In fact, I have often heard from pet parents that german cockroaches love to hover around cockatiel cages to get their food and water from the bowls.

        If you have cockroaches in your apartment, please get the exterminator because the vile things can cause serious problems for your bird.

        Can Cockatiels Eat Bees & Wasps?

        No, and I find it hard to imagine a situation where they would find wasps near them! 

        Even if your bird is flighted, please do not let it outside the house without a bird leash unless we are talking about cockatiels in the wild.

        But even there, bees and wasps have stingers and can often attack in formation (this depends on what variety of wasps we are talking about, though).

        Mealworms are an excellent option for cockatiels

        Do Cockatiels Eat Mealworms?

        A discussion on feeder insects would be left incomplete without the mention of mealworms.

        Widely available in pet stores, mealworms are suitable for feeding a variety of pets – birds, frogs, and lizards alike.

        Mealworms are rich in protein, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins but should still be fed in moderation.

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          You can feed your cockatiels with mealworms up to thrice a week.

          However, it’s okay for them to eat mealworms more frequently if the servings are small – such as only one to two worms per serving.

          How To Give Mealworms To Your Cockatiel?

          If your cockatiel loves eating mealworms, you can just feed them separately.

          You may put the worms in a bowl or hold them out with tweezers if you aren’t comfortable with hand-feeding. If the worms are too big, cut them into smaller pieces.

          Now, what if your feathered friend doesn’t want to eat mealworms?

          You’ll then have to mix the worms with fresh foods and leafy greens. Particularly tastier fruits like strawberries can mask the taste of the worms.

          Once again, you should consider cutting up the mealworms when mixing them in other foods too.

          Just make sure to never have any mealworm (or any insect) bits lying around or falling into the water bowls. They can contaminate the water by promoting pathogen growth.

          Frequently Asked Questions

          Can cockatiels eat live worms?

          Yes, cockatiels can eat live worms as part of their diet.
          However, it is important to only feed your pet with live worms that have been collected in clean areas and not on the ground or anywhere else that may be contaminated.
          Live worms should only be an occasional treat for cockatiels and should not be provided as a meal replacement.
          It is important for pet owners to provide them with a balanced diet of quality seed mix, fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains, and other healthy treats.

          Are mealworms good for cockatiels?

          Mealworms are excellent for cockatiels and are one of the healthier treat options.
          Mealworms provide a range of vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are essential for healthy cockatiel development.
          Additionally, they provide an important source of entertainment and environmental enrichment to cockatiels.
          They can make up 10% of a balanced diet for the birds.

          What human food is safe for cockatiels?

          Most fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas are safe for cockatiels, but not fruit pits and seeds.
          Similarly, dark green leafy vegetables like kale or spinach can also be included in a balanced diet for your pet.
          Other items like boiled eggs and cooked legumes are also safe for your cockatiel as long as they are properly cooked and not seasoned.
          However, always check before giving your bird human food.
          Many things like chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol should never be given to a cockatiel as these can be harmful to them.

          Can I give my cockatiel bread?

          No, bread offers no nutritional value and can be difficult to digest for your cockatiel.
          Cockatiels need a meal plan with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with high-quality birdseed pellets as the primary food sources.
          Treats such as raw peanuts and sunflower seeds are okay once in a while but should not make up a significant portion of the daily food intake.

          Wrapping up

          To sum up, your feathered friend needs a well-rounded diet comprising a variety of foods, including insects.

          The natural foods of wild birds are indeed quite different from human foods, which might make it a bit hard for new cockatiel owners to figure out the best diet.

          Don’t worry – you can start with a few types of fresh fruit, vegetables, and insects and gradually diversify the cockatiel’s diet.

          Mealworms are a good choice when you are looking at insects – they are high in nutrition and low in fats and carbs.

          Thanks for reading, and I hope you can work out a healthy diet for your avian chum.

          Photo of author

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