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  4. Whether picking at our food, cleaning our plates, or hiding unwanted bites, we all have different behaviors that hint at our food preferences. But how do pet birds act toward different foods, and how can we recognize their eating behaviors to offer our feathered family members a nutritious diet they enjoy?

Pet Birds' Eating Behaviors and How To Identify Them

pet bird eating behaviors

Whether picking at our food, cleaning our plates, or hiding unwanted bites, we all have different behaviors that hint at our food preferences. But how do pet birds act toward different foods, and how can we recognize their eating behaviors to offer our feathered family members a nutritious diet they enjoy?

Traditional Foods Pet Birds Love

Pet birds instinctively know what foods are best suited to their nutritional needs, and their beaks have evolved to forage for specific foods successfully. For example, smaller birds such as budgies, cockatiels and canaries have smaller beaks ideally suited to cracking seeds and delicately picking grain from grasses. Larger parrots and macaws have more powerful beaks strong enough to rip through thick fruit husks and crack nutshells.

All pet birds need a varied diet that can provide adequate nutrition, including all the minerals and nutrients birds need to be strong and healthy. To meet this need, birds will instinctively nibble at many different foods, trying textures, tastes and shapes to find what they like and to consume a wider variety of foods. Offering birds pelleted food
that mimics the natural sizes, textures and tastes of their preferred foods can satisfy their nutritional needs while engaging their instinctive foraging behaviors. This is especially true if treats are tucked into foraging toys or offered in such a way that the birds have to work harder for their favorite tidbits.

Pet Birds' Eating Behaviors

How a bird behaves while eating can tell their owners a lot about their dietary preferences. At the same time, it is important to recognize these different behaviors to understand what foods to offer and how to tell if birds' eating behavior is off and may be a sign of concern.

When Birds Are Hungry

Just like babies, birds make fussy noises, including squawks and screeches, when they are hungry. This is similar to the behavior of young wild nestlings, which make noises to get their parents' attention and receive more food. A hungry bird will keep visiting its food bowl, hoping for tidbits to appear. The bird may also start nibbling at different items in the cage, searching for stray morsels or shredding newspaper or chewing on toys more aggressively as it seeks out a satisfying bite. As hunger increases, the bird may become aggressive and demanding, especially guarding its food bowl from other birds in the same cage.

When Birds' Love Their Food

It can be easy to tell what foods a pet bird loves most because these are the bites a bird will seek out first in its bowl. The bird may dig through the dish seeking its favorite foods and may even start to refuse other foods to manipulate its owner to offer more of the morsels it prefers. Unfortunately, this can lead to a pet bird overeating one favorite morsel and lead to nutritional deficiencies and associated health problems. Furthermore, when pet bird owners indulge their feathered friends with too many treats, the birds may develop behavior problems as they become more aggressive to get their way.

When Birds' Don't Like Their Food

When a pet bird doesn't like the food being offered, it may simply refuse to eat. But it may also react aggressively to unwanted foods by tossing them out of the bowl or cage, squawking or otherwise raising a mealtime fuss.

Birds that don't like their food may show more aggression and agitation, especially if they grow hungry because they aren't eating all their food. Mixing less preferred foods with foods they enjoy more can help encourage them to try new foods and may help reduce fussy eating behavior.

When Birds Refuse To Eat

A pet bird may refuse to eat when it is sick, if its bill or mouth is injured or if the bird is affected by a parasite. Stress can also impact pet birds' eating behaviors, such as being moved to a new environment, introducing a new pet or dramatic changes in the family dynamic. Missing one meal or snack isn't necessarily a cause for concern. Try offering more of a bird's favorite foods or mashing food up and warming it slightly to make it more enticing. If the bird refuses to eat, it is critical to seek veterinary help immediately for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

When Birds Overeat

Just like we will often overeat when bored or stressed, so will pet birds. If the bird does not get enough socialization, companionship or stimulation, it may turn to extra treats and nibbles to relieve the boredom. Controlling portion sizes offered to a pet bird is essential to prevent overeating. Instead of giving in to a bird's demands for more food, offer toys, games and training sessions to provide mental enrichment instead of unnecessary calories. Weighing the bird regularly can track any weight gain, so the bird's diet can be adjusted if needed. A healthy diet is part of any pet bird's healthy lifestyle. Understanding pet birds' eating behaviors and identifying and reacting to those behaviors appropriately can help you keep your bird well-fed and happy.

Resources

Harris, Samantha. Budgie Central - Types of Budgie Behavior and What It Means

Bird Cages Now -  Help! Why Isn't My Parrot Eating? Learn Why Pet Birds Stop Eating and Drinking Properly Plus How to Reverse It

Pet Coach - Bird Nutrition: Feeding Pet Birds, Parrot Diets, and Nutritional Recommendations

 

Before you can bring a bird into your home, you must purchase everything you will require for his care. Fortunately, all the items your pet will need should be available from your local pet store. The following are the basic must-have supplies.
 
Habitat
The size of the habitat you need will depend on the bird (or birds) you plan to keep, but a good rule of thumb is to house your bird in the largest habitat that you can afford and have room for in your home. (If you can't purchase or place a very large habitat, you shouldn't acquire a large bird.)
 
Your habitat should be square or rectangular rather than round to provide your pet with more room to fly and move. Also, the bars should be evenly spaced, not tapered toward the top. In a habitat with tapered bars, a bird can get his toe, wing, or even his head caught where the bars come together, causing serious injury. The habitat should also have a removable grate at the bottom (usually made of metal) above the habitat tray that catches the bird's waste and prevents him from getting to it.
The habitat itself should be made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic (combo habitats for small birds only). Stainless steel (best), powder-coated steel (better), and galvanized after weld (good) suitable habitat materials—other metals may contain harmful toxins that your bird could ingest. Acrylic habitats can also work well for smaller birds because the solid walls prevent mess, but moisture can build up in the habitat if it doesn't have adequate ventilation. 
 
Bedding/Habitat Lining
A variety of materials can be used to line your bird's habitat, but the best options are newspaper or commercial bird litters such as Kaytee Walnut Litter. Both are safe, inexpensive, easy to replace, and clearly show a bird's droppings, which can be important for monitoring his health. (A change in droppings may indicate a potential health problem.)  If you suspect health issues due to dropping appearance, place wax paper down as a liner to get a really good look at the droppings. 
 
Food and Water
Stainless steel is the ideal material for food & water cups because it's easy to scrub and disinfect. Although your habitat may come with a couple plastic cups, these can become scratched, allowing bacteria to grow in the crevices.  Birds can also be taught to use a water bottle, ensuring they cannot reach it and chew through it. 
 
Food
For long-term good health provide a balanced diet, preferably a pelleted of extruded diet.  Supplement with fresh vegetables and fruits depending on the species.  High value items like high fat seed and nuts make excellent training treats.   A seed mix diet may be deficient in minerals, especially calcium, as well as vitamins and amino acids, so mineral block or cuttlebone should be provided.  This should not be necessary if the bird is eating primarily a pelleted or extruded diet.
A breeding female may need additional calcium to form eggs. 
 
Perches
Perches can be made of natural branches, wood, plastic or PVC, rope, concrete, or pumice. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Offer your bird perches of assorted materials which vary in diameter. A bird who stands on the same perch consistently may develop foot disorders, especially if it is hard and abrasive or too large for its feet.  Ideally the foot should wrap approximately ¾ of the way around the perch.  Change out the perches, as you do bird toys this way a bird that likes to stand in the exact same spot will be forced to stand on a different perch. 
 
Bird Bath
Birds bathe in a variety of ways.  Some birds love to be misted with fine mist from a bottle of warm water, others love to bathe in a shallow bowl while others still will like to join you in the shower!  That’s right, you can purchase a shower perch and let your bird spend quality time with you.  Baths are very important to a birds’ health, remember many birds come from a tropical climate that is very humid and wet.  Play with bathing to find out which way your bird likes best, you want bathing to be enjoyable – not stressful!  Bathing supplies can be purchased at your local pet store or department store.  
 
Toys and Enrichment
Most birds benefit from having items in their habitat to keep them active and entertained. A wide variety of toys are available, and different birds enjoy different types of toys.
 
Provide a variety of toy types for your bird in the habitat setup: thinking toys (items that stimulate his mind); action toys (items that make a lot of noise or require your bird to move); comfort toys (items that your bird can enjoy calmly and quietly); and toys to destroy (items he can chew to keep his beak in good condition).  You’ll quickly see which toys your bird prefers and this will allow you to keep him well entertained.  A bored bird can quickly pick up bad, remember birds in the wild are very active and are ever moving and foraging.  
 
There are other ways to enrich your bird’s life than just toys, although toys are a necessary item! You can purchase or play video’s for your birds with other bird sounds or just interesting audio.  A more current approach is to enrich your bird by providing foraging opportunities, treats hidden within toys or homemade items such as a cardboard tube and coffee filters.  Be creative, but safe!
 
Travel Carrier
A travel carrier is necessary for taking your bird to the vet's office and other places. Soft fabric carriers are popular, but if your bird is ill they are difficult to disinfect.  Plastic airline kennels are also practical and easy to disinfect if needed. It should also have adequate ventilation and a place to put food and water dishes. If you plan to travel with your pet, select a model which will fit under the seat of an airplane.
It’s important to make the carrier a safe and desirable destination, this can be done by using it as a place to offer treats and allow your bird to walk in on its own to fetch those treats.  If a bird is caught up and placed aggressively in the carrier, it will quickly become a scary place they don’t want to go and each time will become harder and harder to get your bird into it. 
 
Before you can bring a bird into your home, you must purchase everything you will require for his care. Fortunately, all the items your pet will need should be available from your local pet store. The following are the basic must-have supplies.
 
Habitat
The size of the habitat you need will depend on the bird (or birds) you plan to keep, but a good rule of thumb is to house your bird in the largest habitat that you can afford and have room for in your home. (If you can't purchase or place a very large habitat, you shouldn't acquire a large bird.)
 
Your habitat should be square or rectangular rather than round to provide your pet with more room to fly and move. Also, the bars should be evenly spaced, not tapered toward the top. In a habitat with tapered bars, a bird can get his toe, wing, or even his head caught where the bars come together, causing serious injury. The habitat should also have a removable grate at the bottom (usually made of metal) above the habitat tray that catches the bird's waste and prevents him from getting to it.
The habitat itself should be made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic (combo habitats for small birds only). Stainless steel (best), powder-coated steel (better), and galvanized after weld (good) suitable habitat materials—other metals may contain harmful toxins that your bird could ingest. Acrylic habitats can also work well for smaller birds because the solid walls prevent mess, but moisture can build up in the habitat if it doesn't have adequate ventilation. 
 
Bedding/Habitat Lining
A variety of materials can be used to line your bird's habitat, but the best options are newspaper or commercial bird litters such as Kaytee Walnut Litter. Both are safe, inexpensive, easy to replace, and clearly show a bird's droppings, which can be important for monitoring his health. (A change in droppings may indicate a potential health problem.)  If you suspect health issues due to dropping appearance, place wax paper down as a liner to get a really good look at the droppings. 
 
Food and Water
Stainless steel is the ideal material for food & water cups because it's easy to scrub and disinfect. Although your habitat may come with a couple plastic cups, these can become scratched, allowing bacteria to grow in the crevices.  Birds can also be taught to use a water bottle, ensuring they cannot reach it and chew through it. 
 
Food
For long-term good health provide a balanced diet, preferably a pelleted of extruded diet.  Supplement with fresh vegetables and fruits depending on the species.  High value items like high fat seed and nuts make excellent training treats.   A seed mix diet may be deficient in minerals, especially calcium, as well as vitamins and amino acids, so mineral block or cuttlebone should be provided.  This should not be necessary if the bird is eating primarily a pelleted or extruded diet.
A breeding female may need additional calcium to form eggs. 
 
Perches
Perches can be made of natural branches, wood, plastic or PVC, rope, concrete, or pumice. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Offer your bird perches of assorted materials which vary in diameter. A bird who stands on the same perch consistently may develop foot disorders, especially if it is hard and abrasive or too large for its feet.  Ideally the foot should wrap approximately ¾ of the way around the perch.  Change out the perches, as you do bird toys this way a bird that likes to stand in the exact same spot will be forced to stand on a different perch. 
 
Bird Bath
Birds bathe in a variety of ways.  Some birds love to be misted with fine mist from a bottle of warm water, others love to bathe in a shallow bowl while others still will like to join you in the shower!  That’s right, you can purchase a shower perch and let your bird spend quality time with you.  Baths are very important to a birds’ health, remember many birds come from a tropical climate that is very humid and wet.  Play with bathing to find out which way your bird likes best, you want bathing to be enjoyable – not stressful!  Bathing supplies can be purchased at your local pet store or department store.  
 
Toys and Enrichment
Most birds benefit from having items in their habitat to keep them active and entertained. A wide variety of toys are available, and different birds enjoy different types of toys.
 
Provide a variety of toy types for your bird in the habitat setup: thinking toys (items that stimulate his mind); action toys (items that make a lot of noise or require your bird to move); comfort toys (items that your bird can enjoy calmly and quietly); and toys to destroy (items he can chew to keep his beak in good condition).  You’ll quickly see which toys your bird prefers and this will allow you to keep him well entertained.  A bored bird can quickly pick up bad, remember birds in the wild are very active and are ever moving and foraging.  
 
There are other ways to enrich your bird’s life than just toys, although toys are a necessary item! You can purchase or play video’s for your birds with other bird sounds or just interesting audio.  A more current approach is to enrich your bird by providing foraging opportunities, treats hidden within toys or homemade items such as a cardboard tube and coffee filters.  Be creative, but safe!
 
Travel Carrier
A travel carrier is necessary for taking your bird to the vet's office and other places. Soft fabric carriers are popular, but if your bird is ill they are difficult to disinfect.  Plastic airline kennels are also practical and easy to disinfect if needed. It should also have adequate ventilation and a place to put food and water dishes. If you plan to travel with your pet, select a model which will fit under the seat of an airplane.
It’s important to make the carrier a safe and desirable destination, this can be done by using it as a place to offer treats and allow your bird to walk in on its own to fetch those treats.  If a bird is caught up and placed aggressively in the carrier, it will quickly become a scary place they don’t want to go and each time will become harder and harder to get your bird into it. 
 
Before you can bring a bird into your home, you must purchase everything you will require for his care. Fortunately, all the items your pet will need should be available from your local pet store. The following are the basic must-have supplies.
 
Habitat
The size of the habitat you need will depend on the bird (or birds) you plan to keep, but a good rule of thumb is to house your bird in the largest habitat that you can afford and have room for in your home. (If you can't purchase or place a very large habitat, you shouldn't acquire a large bird.)
 
Your habitat should be square or rectangular rather than round to provide your pet with more room to fly and move. Also, the bars should be evenly spaced, not tapered toward the top. In a habitat with tapered bars, a bird can get his toe, wing, or even his head caught where the bars come together, causing serious injury. The habitat should also have a removable grate at the bottom (usually made of metal) above the habitat tray that catches the bird's waste and prevents him from getting to it.
The habitat itself should be made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic (combo habitats for small birds only). Stainless steel (best), powder-coated steel (better), and galvanized after weld (good) suitable habitat materials—other metals may contain harmful toxins that your bird could ingest. Acrylic habitats can also work well for smaller birds because the solid walls prevent mess, but moisture can build up in the habitat if it doesn't have adequate ventilation. 
 
Bedding/Habitat Lining
A variety of materials can be used to line your bird's habitat, but the best options are newspaper or commercial bird litters such as Kaytee Walnut Litter. Both are safe, inexpensive, easy to replace, and clearly show a bird's droppings, which can be important for monitoring his health. (A change in droppings may indicate a potential health problem.)  If you suspect health issues due to dropping appearance, place wax paper down as a liner to get a really good look at the droppings. 
 
Food and Water
Stainless steel is the ideal material for food & water cups because it's easy to scrub and disinfect. Although your habitat may come with a couple plastic cups, these can become scratched, allowing bacteria to grow in the crevices.  Birds can also be taught to use a water bottle, ensuring they cannot reach it and chew through it. 
 
Food
For long-term good health provide a balanced diet, preferably a pelleted of extruded diet.  Supplement with fresh vegetables and fruits depending on the species.  High value items like high fat seed and nuts make excellent training treats.   A seed mix diet may be deficient in minerals, especially calcium, as well as vitamins and amino acids, so mineral block or cuttlebone should be provided.  This should not be necessary if the bird is eating primarily a pelleted or extruded diet.
A breeding female may need additional calcium to form eggs. 
 
Perches
Perches can be made of natural branches, wood, plastic or PVC, rope, concrete, or pumice. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Offer your bird perches of assorted materials which vary in diameter. A bird who stands on the same perch consistently may develop foot disorders, especially if it is hard and abrasive or too large for its feet.  Ideally the foot should wrap approximately ¾ of the way around the perch.  Change out the perches, as you do bird toys this way a bird that likes to stand in the exact same spot will be forced to stand on a different perch. 
 
Bird Bath
Birds bathe in a variety of ways.  Some birds love to be misted with fine mist from a bottle of warm water, others love to bathe in a shallow bowl while others still will like to join you in the shower!  That’s right, you can purchase a shower perch and let your bird spend quality time with you.  Baths are very important to a birds’ health, remember many birds come from a tropical climate that is very humid and wet.  Play with bathing to find out which way your bird likes best, you want bathing to be enjoyable – not stressful!  Bathing supplies can be purchased at your local pet store or department store.  
 
Toys and Enrichment
Most birds benefit from having items in their habitat to keep them active and entertained. A wide variety of toys are available, and different birds enjoy different types of toys.
 
Provide a variety of toy types for your bird in the habitat setup: thinking toys (items that stimulate his mind); action toys (items that make a lot of noise or require your bird to move); comfort toys (items that your bird can enjoy calmly and quietly); and toys to destroy (items he can chew to keep his beak in good condition).  You’ll quickly see which toys your bird prefers and this will allow you to keep him well entertained.  A bored bird can quickly pick up bad, remember birds in the wild are very active and are ever moving and foraging.  
 
There are other ways to enrich your bird’s life than just toys, although toys are a necessary item! You can purchase or play video’s for your birds with other bird sounds or just interesting audio.  A more current approach is to enrich your bird by providing foraging opportunities, treats hidden within toys or homemade items such as a cardboard tube and coffee filters.  Be creative, but safe!
 
Travel Carrier
A travel carrier is necessary for taking your bird to the vet's office and other places. Soft fabric carriers are popular, but if your bird is ill they are difficult to disinfect.  Plastic airline kennels are also practical and easy to disinfect if needed. It should also have adequate ventilation and a place to put food and water dishes. If you plan to travel with your pet, select a model which will fit under the seat of an airplane.
It’s important to make the carrier a safe and desirable destination, this can be done by using it as a place to offer treats and allow your bird to walk in on its own to fetch those treats.  If a bird is caught up and placed aggressively in the carrier, it will quickly become a scary place they don’t want to go and each time will become harder and harder to get your bird into it. 
 
Before you can bring a bird into your home, you must purchase everything you will require for his care. Fortunately, all the items your pet will need should be available from your local pet store. The following are the basic must-have supplies.
 
Habitat
The size of the habitat you need will depend on the bird (or birds) you plan to keep, but a good rule of thumb is to house your bird in the largest habitat that you can afford and have room for in your home. (If you can't purchase or place a very large habitat, you shouldn't acquire a large bird.)
 
Your habitat should be square or rectangular rather than round to provide your pet with more room to fly and move. Also, the bars should be evenly spaced, not tapered toward the top. In a habitat with tapered bars, a bird can get his toe, wing, or even his head caught where the bars come together, causing serious injury. The habitat should also have a removable grate at the bottom (usually made of metal) above the habitat tray that catches the bird's waste and prevents him from getting to it.
The habitat itself should be made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic (combo habitats for small birds only). Stainless steel (best), powder-coated steel (better), and galvanized after weld (good) suitable habitat materials—other metals may contain harmful toxins that your bird could ingest. Acrylic habitats can also work well for smaller birds because the solid walls prevent mess, but moisture can build up in the habitat if it doesn't have adequate ventilation. 
 
Bedding/Habitat Lining
A variety of materials can be used to line your bird's habitat, but the best options are newspaper or commercial bird litters such as Kaytee Walnut Litter. Both are safe, inexpensive, easy to replace, and clearly show a bird's droppings, which can be important for monitoring his health. (A change in droppings may indicate a potential health problem.)  If you suspect health issues due to dropping appearance, place wax paper down as a liner to get a really good look at the droppings. 
 
Food and Water
Stainless steel is the ideal material for food & water cups because it's easy to scrub and disinfect. Although your habitat may come with a couple plastic cups, these can become scratched, allowing bacteria to grow in the crevices.  Birds can also be taught to use a water bottle, ensuring they cannot reach it and chew through it. 
 
Food
For long-term good health provide a balanced diet, preferably a pelleted of extruded diet.  Supplement with fresh vegetables and fruits depending on the species.  High value items like high fat seed and nuts make excellent training treats.   A seed mix diet may be deficient in minerals, especially calcium, as well as vitamins and amino acids, so mineral block or cuttlebone should be provided.  This should not be necessary if the bird is eating primarily a pelleted or extruded diet.
A breeding female may need additional calcium to form eggs. 
 
Perches
Perches can be made of natural branches, wood, plastic or PVC, rope, concrete, or pumice. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Offer your bird perches of assorted materials which vary in diameter. A bird who stands on the same perch consistently may develop foot disorders, especially if it is hard and abrasive or too large for its feet.  Ideally the foot should wrap approximately ¾ of the way around the perch.  Change out the perches, as you do bird toys this way a bird that likes to stand in the exact same spot will be forced to stand on a different perch. 
 
Bird Bath
Birds bathe in a variety of ways.  Some birds love to be misted with fine mist from a bottle of warm water, others love to bathe in a shallow bowl while others still will like to join you in the shower!  That’s right, you can purchase a shower perch and let your bird spend quality time with you.  Baths are very important to a birds’ health, remember many birds come from a tropical climate that is very humid and wet.  Play with bathing to find out which way your bird likes best, you want bathing to be enjoyable – not stressful!  Bathing supplies can be purchased at your local pet store or department store.  
 
Toys and Enrichment
Most birds benefit from having items in their habitat to keep them active and entertained. A wide variety of toys are available, and different birds enjoy different types of toys.
 
Provide a variety of toy types for your bird in the habitat setup: thinking toys (items that stimulate his mind); action toys (items that make a lot of noise or require your bird to move); comfort toys (items that your bird can enjoy calmly and quietly); and toys to destroy (items he can chew to keep his beak in good condition).  You’ll quickly see which toys your bird prefers and this will allow you to keep him well entertained.  A bored bird can quickly pick up bad, remember birds in the wild are very active and are ever moving and foraging.  
 
There are other ways to enrich your bird’s life than just toys, although toys are a necessary item! You can purchase or play video’s for your birds with other bird sounds or just interesting audio.  A more current approach is to enrich your bird by providing foraging opportunities, treats hidden within toys or homemade items such as a cardboard tube and coffee filters.  Be creative, but safe!
 
Travel Carrier
A travel carrier is necessary for taking your bird to the vet's office and other places. Soft fabric carriers are popular, but if your bird is ill they are difficult to disinfect.  Plastic airline kennels are also practical and easy to disinfect if needed. It should also have adequate ventilation and a place to put food and water dishes. If you plan to travel with your pet, select a model which will fit under the seat of an airplane.
It’s important to make the carrier a safe and desirable destination, this can be done by using it as a place to offer treats and allow your bird to walk in on its own to fetch those treats.  If a bird is caught up and placed aggressively in the carrier, it will quickly become a scary place they don’t want to go and each time will become harder and harder to get your bird into it. 
 
Before you can bring a bird into your home, you must purchase everything you will require for his care. Fortunately, all the items your pet will need should be available from your local pet store. The following are the basic must-have supplies.
 
Habitat
The size of the habitat you need will depend on the bird (or birds) you plan to keep, but a good rule of thumb is to house your bird in the largest habitat that you can afford and have room for in your home. (If you can't purchase or place a very large habitat, you shouldn't acquire a large bird.)
 
Your habitat should be square or rectangular rather than round to provide your pet with more room to fly and move. Also, the bars should be evenly spaced, not tapered toward the top. In a habitat with tapered bars, a bird can get his toe, wing, or even his head caught where the bars come together, causing serious injury. The habitat should also have a removable grate at the bottom (usually made of metal) above the habitat tray that catches the bird's waste and prevents him from getting to it.
The habitat itself should be made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic (combo habitats for small birds only). Stainless steel (best), powder-coated steel (better), and galvanized after weld (good) suitable habitat materials—other metals may contain harmful toxins that your bird could ingest. Acrylic habitats can also work well for smaller birds because the solid walls prevent mess, but moisture can build up in the habitat if it doesn't have adequate ventilation. 
 
Bedding/Habitat Lining
A variety of materials can be used to line your bird's habitat, but the best options are newspaper or commercial bird litters such as Kaytee Walnut Litter. Both are safe, inexpensive, easy to replace, and clearly show a bird's droppings, which can be important for monitoring his health. (A change in droppings may indicate a potential health problem.)  If you suspect health issues due to dropping appearance, place wax paper down as a liner to get a really good look at the droppings. 
 
Food and Water
Stainless steel is the ideal material for food & water cups because it's easy to scrub and disinfect. Although your habitat may come with a couple plastic cups, these can become scratched, allowing bacteria to grow in the crevices.  Birds can also be taught to use a water bottle, ensuring they cannot reach it and chew through it. 
 
Food
For long-term good health provide a balanced diet, preferably a pelleted of extruded diet.  Supplement with fresh vegetables and fruits depending on the species.  High value items like high fat seed and nuts make excellent training treats.   A seed mix diet may be deficient in minerals, especially calcium, as well as vitamins and amino acids, so mineral block or cuttlebone should be provided.  This should not be necessary if the bird is eating primarily a pelleted or extruded diet.
A breeding female may need additional calcium to form eggs. 
 
Perches
Perches can be made of natural branches, wood, plastic or PVC, rope, concrete, or pumice. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Offer your bird perches of assorted materials which vary in diameter. A bird who stands on the same perch consistently may develop foot disorders, especially if it is hard and abrasive or too large for its feet.  Ideally the foot should wrap approximately ¾ of the way around the perch.  Change out the perches, as you do bird toys this way a bird that likes to stand in the exact same spot will be forced to stand on a different perch. 
 
Bird Bath
Birds bathe in a variety of ways.  Some birds love to be misted with fine mist from a bottle of warm water, others love to bathe in a shallow bowl while others still will like to join you in the shower!  That’s right, you can purchase a shower perch and let your bird spend quality time with you.  Baths are very important to a birds’ health, remember many birds come from a tropical climate that is very humid and wet.  Play with bathing to find out which way your bird likes best, you want bathing to be enjoyable – not stressful!  Bathing supplies can be purchased at your local pet store or department store.  
 
Toys and Enrichment
Most birds benefit from having items in their habitat to keep them active and entertained. A wide variety of toys are available, and different birds enjoy different types of toys.
 
Provide a variety of toy types for your bird in the habitat setup: thinking toys (items that stimulate his mind); action toys (items that make a lot of noise or require your bird to move); comfort toys (items that your bird can enjoy calmly and quietly); and toys to destroy (items he can chew to keep his beak in good condition).  You’ll quickly see which toys your bird prefers and this will allow you to keep him well entertained.  A bored bird can quickly pick up bad, remember birds in the wild are very active and are ever moving and foraging.  
 
There are other ways to enrich your bird’s life than just toys, although toys are a necessary item! You can purchase or play video’s for your birds with other bird sounds or just interesting audio.  A more current approach is to enrich your bird by providing foraging opportunities, treats hidden within toys or homemade items such as a cardboard tube and coffee filters.  Be creative, but safe!
 
Travel Carrier
A travel carrier is necessary for taking your bird to the vet's office and other places. Soft fabric carriers are popular, but if your bird is ill they are difficult to disinfect.  Plastic airline kennels are also practical and easy to disinfect if needed. It should also have adequate ventilation and a place to put food and water dishes. If you plan to travel with your pet, select a model which will fit under the seat of an airplane.
It’s important to make the carrier a safe and desirable destination, this can be done by using it as a place to offer treats and allow your bird to walk in on its own to fetch those treats.  If a bird is caught up and placed aggressively in the carrier, it will quickly become a scary place they don’t want to go and each time will become harder and harder to get your bird into it. 
 
Pet Birds