Are Orchids Poisonous to Birds?

In most cases, orchids are completely safe for birds to be around and consume. When determining if a plant is toxic, it is important to take into account the type of bird and how much of the plant was consumed.

Birds are curious creatures, which means if you own a bird and have plants in your home, be prepared for the bird to pick at the plant. Because of this, it is necessary to make sure every plant in your home is safe for birds. Luckily, several plants are non-toxic to birds, including orchids!

Even if a plant is considered non-toxic, it can still cause issues for birds. We will get into more details on this below, but for now, just remember to always monitor your bird when they are around plants, even if the plant is considered non-toxic.

When to Be Worried

The type of plant, the size of the bird, and how much of the plant the bird consumed will all come into play when determining if you have any reason to worry.

Type of Plant

Numerous plants are toxic for birds, so if you have a pet bird or are thinking of getting one, it’s best to look for a list of safe plants to keep around the house instead of ones that are considered toxic.

Some plants, such as a philodendron, can cause coma or death, whereas ivy may just cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or lack of appetite.

Amount Ingested

The amount the bird ingests can affect the severity of its symptoms, ranging from mild illness to sudden death.

It is also important to remember that even if a plant is not toxic, ingestion of a large amount may cause symptoms similar to minor toxicity.

Type of Bird

The size of the bird will also greatly affect the severity of symptoms. A cockatoo may experience mild toxicity after ingesting a small amount of a philodendron, whereas the same amount may be lethal for a canary.

What Happens When My Bird Eats a Toxic Plant?

As with most things, various symptoms may occur if your bird ingests a toxic plant. The type of plant that was ingested will determine what symptoms a bird will have. However, since poisoning or death can occur, prevention is key to ensuring your bird is safe.

Gastrointestinal Upset

If your bird ingests a small amount of a toxic plant, it’s unlikely to cause serious harm or death. However, it will cause the bird to experience differing degrees of gastrointestinal upset. This includes symptoms such as diarrhea, lack of appetite, food regurgitation, and/or general signs of illness.


Toxic plants may cause poisoning or death when consumed in large amounts. Call your veterinarian or an animal poison helpline immediately if you are unsure how much your bird ingested or you know it ingested more than a very small amount.

Toxic Plants Can Cause Different Symptoms

Different plants can cause different symptoms. It is important to be familiar with some of the common side effects that ingestion of a toxic plant may cause birds.

Amaryllis and ivy plant ingestion typically causes gastrointestinal upset symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, excessive salivation, and lack of appetite.

Daffodil flowers contain lycorine, which is a highly toxic and commonly deadly chemical that can cause seizures.

Holly leaves and berries are very toxic and should not be consumed.

Lilies can cause severe mouth irritation, vomiting, and excess salivation for birds if ingested.

Mistletoe can cause weakness and depression.

Morning glory should not be kept in the house or planted near the home as they contain chemicals dangerous to birds that act similar to LSD.

Philodendron can cause difficulty swallowing or breathing, and if ingested in moderate to large amounts, can lead to coma or death.

Poinsettias can cause blistering and skin irritation.

Finally, ingestion of shamrocks can cause tremors.

Plants That Are Safe for Birds

Besides orchids, there are other household plants that are safe for birds. Some of these plants include:

  • Spider plants
  • Jade
  • Boston fern
  • Aloe vera
  • Bamboo
  • African violets
  • Hen and chicks
  • Roses

When considering what plants to keep in your home, don’t just consider what could happen if your bird eats part of the plant, but also other aspects, such as if your bird touches the plant, lands on it, or is living near it without good air circulation.

Remember, some plants that are considered safe for birds may still cause harm if they have sharp needles or thorns (such as roses) or if your bird collides/gets entangled in them.

Any plant can also be considered toxic if it has been treated with pesticides, fungicides, or other chemicals and your bird ingested or inhaled some of it.

Orchids Are Safe For Birds

Orchids are a safe plant to keep around birds and even safe if a small amount is ingested. If you choose to bring an orchid into your home, be sure it is clean of chemicals or pesticides. Any interaction between the plant and your bird should be monitored to keep your bird healthy and safe.

Understanding the many different plants that are not safe to have around birds and the common signs and symptoms of plant toxicity is important for every bird owner. If you are unsure if a plant is safe to have around your bird, consult your veterinarian to keep your feathered friend safe!

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