Can Birds Eat Pistachios? Yay or Nay? Let’s Face It!

Who doesn’t love pistachios in ice cream and pestos? They go with anything and everything. The least unproblematic nut amidst nut allergies and loved by all.

You can even snack on them, salted or roasted. The enriched earthy and spicy nuance of pistachios gives them their delicious flavor profile.

Apart from us humans, can you think of any other obsessed with snacking on tree nuts? Yes, birds.

Birds are tree nut fanatics – they can snack on them for days! How can they not be?

Birds can consume delightful pistachios in moderation as an occasional treat. For their safety, it is advisable to offer them deshelled, eliminating the risk of any choking hazard!

Are Pistachios Safe for Birds?

Pistachios are tree nuts containing essential nutrients the human body requires daily.

However, birds are more sensitive to certain food groups. Although nuts are one of their primary food groups, it’s critical to evaluate the safety of pistachios.

A full bag of raw shelled pistachois

Who knows, you might be poisoning your bird the entire time by allowing them to peck on pistachios. Just kidding!

Pistachios are perfectly safe for birds. That if comes for salt toxicosis once again (I mean, who is surprised at this point?).

We all share the guilty pleasure of finishing a jar of roasted salt pistachios in one sitting. However, serving that to a bird stands closest to poisoning a bird unintentionally.

Raw pistachios are a perfect dietary supplement in disguise as a treat for birds. They are chock-full of nutrients we’ll discuss in the next part of this article.

One of the common questions we face is, shelled or unshelled pistachios?

The answer to this varies from bird to bird. Birds can prefer to deshell pistachios which can result in choking. Varying sizes of beaks are a formidable contributor to this factor.

To follow the saying – better be safe than sorry – shelled pistachios are the safest option here!

Let’s explore the benefits of adding pistachios to a bird’s treat list.

What Are the Benefits of Pistachios for Birds?

If brown moms are right about one thing, it’s about how pistachios are the second-best tree nut in terms of nutrient content.

Raw green shelled psitachios in a wooden bowl

Of all the foods we discussed the safety of in the earlier articles, pistachios might be the only one that cures diseases instead of being the cause.

How, might you ask?

As I mentioned earlier, pistachios provide a boost of vital nutrients. Pistachios enrich the following minerals and nutrients:

1. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a multi-functional mineral as it balances and regulates almost all organ health known to man. In simple terms, it is the powerhouse of nutrients. 

Vitamin B6 makes up 28% of the nutrients contained in pistachios. It makes pistachios an exceptional dietary supplement and treat in one for recovering birds.

Despite that, the ability of Vitamin B6 to promote brain health is essential for birds ailing from old age.

2. Manganese

Manganese is a similar mineral to Vitamin B6, which helps promote skin cell turnover through higher collagen production in cases of deep wounds and cuts. 

Apart from healing wounds, it reduces inflammatory responses caused by poisonings from chocolates or salt. 

It achieves this by incorporating itself with glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which exist naturally in mammals.

3. High Fiber Content

It gives pistachio another advantage as it provides roughage and aids the good bacteria in the guts reducing risks of obesity.

Along with obesity, fiber helps reduce the chances of digestive disorders, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

4. Protein Dense

It gives pistachios another edge over other tree nuts as it ensures healthy muscle growth in hatchlings.

It is crucial because most musculoskeletal diseases begin from an earlier age and can have long-lasting permanent damage.

5. Unsaturated Fats

About 90% of the fat content in pistachios is unsaturated fat, meaning it helps regulate cholesterol levels and aids obesity once again.

Unsaturated fat increases HDL-cholesterol levels and decreases LDL-cholesterol levels keeping artery blockage and cardiovascular diseases chances low.

6. Copper

Copper has similar benefits as Manganese and Vitamin B6. It promotes healthy red blood cell formation and increases iron reabsorption in them. 

Moreover, it stimulates collagen production in birds suffering from PBFD (Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease).

One of the most prominent advantages of including pistachios in your bird’s treat list is how all nutrients provide balanced benefits to a bird.

The nutritional contents aid in weight loss and organ health and regulate cholesterol levels.

If you’re looking for a ‘superfood’ treat for your bird, this is the one.

What Makes Pistachios Better Than Other Tree Nuts?

It’s a question a lot of bird enthusiasts ask. The simple answer to this question is pistachios have a low content of the substances that make other tree nuts an insubstantial diet.

Bunches of pistachios in a tree

Even for humans, tree nuts like cashews and almonds are calorie and sugar dense. Considering the BMI of birds, the smallest amount of sugar and calories can be detrimental.

Thus, other tree nuts are harmful if not consumed in moderation.

The sugar and calorie content of pistachios are low compared to other tree nuts, making them more substantial and healthier for birds. But, of course, the nutrient content also outweighs other nuts.

What Are the Downsides of Pistachios for Birds?

Now, it’s evident from our previous articles not all food is perfectly healthy. So, unfortunately, there are some added disadvantages to pistachios as well.

Although the sugar, calories, and carbs are low in consideration to other tree nuts, they remain dense in pistachios.

Lots of unshelled pistachois

If you were to provide only an ounce of serving to a bird, it still contains 7.7 grams of carbohydrates. The disadvantage is high carb diets can leave birds full for hours, making them not consume any ‘useful’ food.

The high carbs also counteract the benefits of unsaturated fat levels. It keeps the cholesterol levels of a bird quite a bit high.

Fortunately, a few kernels of pistachio can cause no harm and lets the bird intake all the vital nutrients.

Hence, like all foods, the consumption of pistachios should also be done in moderation.

How to Introduce Pistachios Into a Bird’s Diet?

One of the best advantages of pistachios is how yummy they are! Most birds go nuts for them – pun intended!

However, not all birds are the same, no matter how versatile; chances are some birds won’t instantly eat new foods.

A blue jay eating peanuts

Unfamiliar foods come with certain dangers to birds; hence it’s essential to add pistachios into their diet at a slow pace.

If your bird disregards pistachios from the first instance, try adding pistachio meals or low-sodium pistachio butter to their usual food of pellets and treats.

It will disguise the appearance of pistachios while allowing the bird to get used to the taste of pistachios. 

Bird chop and seed mixes are ideal for executing this.

What Are the Alternatives to Pistachios?

Despite the oh-so-many benefits of pistachios, not everyone can opt for them due to cost, supply, and demand shortages. So, what can you replace pistachios with?

Don’t worry because the list below will keep you covered!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here I’ve answered the FAQs about feeding pistachios to birds.

Can Birds Open Pistachios?

Pistachios are known for their sage green shells and decadent texture. Their shells, in particular, are what makes them stand out from most tree nuts.

Pistachio shells are a rising choking hazard in birds with smaller beaks. On the contrary, birds with larger beaks find opening pistachio shells a sensory stimulator.

If you’re planning to provide pistachios to wild or pet birds, add de-shelled pistachios to your bird feeders.

Can Birds Eat Unsalted Pistachios?

Birds should only consume unsalted pistachios or pistachio meals with no added salt. 

Canned pistachios have a high concentration of sodium chloride that can instantly induce salt toxicity. If you plan on adding pistachios to your bird’s diet, only add unsalted pistachios.

Can Birds Eat Roasted Pistachios?

Pistachios are naturally occurring food; birds enjoy them raw or as a pistachio meal.

On the other hand, roasted pistachios are specifically to please the human palate. The amount of salt in them can be harmful to birds.

Can Wild Birds Eat Pistachios?

Wild birds will enjoy their occasional treats of pistachios. Especially during the migrating season, wild birds require the energy boost provided by pistachios.

Adding pistachios to your bird feeder will help out migrating birds a lot.

Final Remarks

In conclusion, pistachios are perfect for your bird’s treats because of their dense nutrient content.

However, the precise measures mentioned above are required to ensure your bird’s safety.

Of course, always check in with your vet before adding any new food to your bird’s diet. 

Let me know if your birds enjoy their new treat and any questions you may have regarding it!

Photo of author

Written and Fact-checked by David Neff

Author at BirdBonica

David is an expert birder and bird parent with in-depth knowledge of birds. He has years of experience observing birds in their natural habitats, studying their diets, behavior, and more. (Learn more about David here...)

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BirdBonica.com. "Can Birds Eat Pistachios? Yay or Nay? Let's Face It!." Webpage, March 31, 2023, accessed April 5, 2024, https://birdbonica.com/can-birds-eat/pistachios/.

BirdBonica.com (2024). Can Birds Eat Pistachios? Yay or Nay? Let's Face It!. Retrieved from https://birdbonica.com/can-birds-eat/pistachios/ on April 5, 2024.

BirdBonica.com. "Can Birds Eat Pistachios? Yay or Nay? Let's Face It!." Webpage, March 31, 2023, https://birdbonica.com/can-birds-eat/pistachios/, accessed April 5, 2024.

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