Do Parrots Have Saliva? {5 Reasons for Drooling}

Ever wondered, do parrots have saliva? These colorful birds are fascinating creatures with unique traits.

Let’s delve into the world of parrots in this article to find out if they produce saliva and how their digestion works.

Do Parrots Have Saliva?

No, parrots do not have saliva in the same way that humans do. Unlike mammals, parrots do not have salivary glands in their mouths. Instead, their oral cavity is relatively dry.

When parrots eat, they use their beaks to break down food into smaller pieces, and the food is then swallowed directly into their crop, which is a specialized pouch in their throat where food is temporarily stored and moistened.

While parrots lack saliva, their digestive system is adapted to handle the foods they consume. The crop and other digestive organs help to break down and process the food before it moves into the stomach and intestines for further digestion and absorption of nutrients.

How Do Parrots Digest Food Without Saliva?

Even though parrots lack saliva, their digestive system is uniquely adapted to handle their diet. Here’s how they digest food without saliva:

Parrots use their strong beaks to break down food into smaller pieces before swallowing it.

  1. The food is then stored in the crop, where it is mixed with digestive enzymes and gastric juices to start the digestion process.
  2. The partially digested food moves to the proventriculus, a glandular stomach, where further enzymatic digestion takes place.
  3. The food then passes into the gizzard, a muscular stomach, where mechanical grinding occurs with the help of swallowed grit or small stones.
  4. Finally, the food enters the small intestine, where the absorption of nutrients takes place, and the remaining waste moves to the large intestine before being excreted.

Do Parrots Need Water If They Don’t Have Saliva?

Yes, despite not having saliva, parrots still require access to fresh water for proper hydration. While saliva plays a role in the initial stages of digestion in mammals, parrots have a different approach.

Water is essential for their overall well-being and bodily functions. Hydration is vital for:

  • maintaining their body temperature
  • supporting metabolic processes
  • facilitating the proper function of their organs

Parrots need water for bathing, which is an essential part of their grooming routine to keep their feathers clean and in good condition.

Provide your parrot with a clean and accessible source of fresh water at all times to ensure they stay healthy and hydrated.

Can Parrots Drink Water Directly or Do They Get Moisture From Their Diet?

Parrots can drink water directly, and they require a separate water source, as they do not obtain sufficient moisture from their diet alone.

  1. In the wild, parrots consume a varied diet that includes seeds, fruits, nuts, flowers, and even insects. While some of these foods contain moisture, it is usually not enough to meet their daily hydration needs.
  2. Unlike some other animals that can extract water from their food, parrots rely on drinking water to supplement their moisture requirements.
  3. Providing your pet parrot with a clean water bowl or a water dispenser is crucial to ensure they have access to fresh water at all times.
  4. Regularly changing the water and keeping the container clean is essential to keep your parrot hydrated and healthy.

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How Often Should I Change My Parrot’s Water?

To ensure your parrot has access to clean and safe drinking water, it’s essential to change their water at least once a day.

Parrots can easily contaminate their water with food debris, feathers, or droppings, making it necessary to refresh the water regularly.

Additionally, high temperatures or warm weather can increase the risk of bacterial growth, so providing fresh water multiple times a day during hot weather is beneficial.

Always use a clean water dispenser or bowl, and thoroughly wash and rinse it before refilling to prevent bacterial buildup and keep your parrot’s water source hygienic.

How Can I Encourage My Parrot to Drink More Water?

Encouraging your parrot to drink more water is essential for their well-being, especially during hot weather or if they consume a primarily dry diet. Here are some tips to promote proper hydration:

  1. Placement: Position the water dispenser or bowl in a convenient and easily accessible location within the cage or aviary.
  2. Cleanliness: Ensure the water container is clean and free from contaminants to encourage your parrot to drink.
  3. Multiple Water Sources: Provide multiple water sources throughout the enclosure to encourage movement and exploration.
  4. Water Bowl Size: Choose an appropriately sized water container that allows your parrot to comfortably dip their beak and drink.
  5. Fruits and Vegetables: Offer water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, melons, and leafy greens, as a part of their diet to increase their water intake.

Remember to monitor your parrot’s water consumption if you notice any significant changes in their drinking behavior, as it may be an indication of health issues that require attention.

What Is Canker in Parrots?

Canker in parrots, also known as avian trichomoniasis, is a protozoan infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae.

This infection primarily affects the upper digestive tract of birds, including parrots. It is commonly transmitted through contaminated food and water sources, as well as direct contact with infected birds.

The symptoms of canker in parrots may include:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • regurgitation
  • weight loss
  • presence of yellowish, cheesy lesions in the mouth and throat

Treatment typically involves medication to combat the parasite, and supportive care to ensure the bird stays hydrated and maintains proper nutrition during the recovery process.

Why Is My Parrot Drooling?

Drooling in parrots, also known as ptyalism, can be indicative of various underlying health issues. Some potential causes of parrot drooling include:

  1. Oral or Beak Problems: Dental issues, beak injuries, or foreign objects lodged in the oral cavity can lead to drooling.
  2. Respiratory Infections: Respiratory infections or inflammation in the throat can cause excess saliva production.
  3. Poisoning: Ingestion of toxic substances can result in drooling as the body tries to eliminate the harmful substances.
  4. Stress or Anxiety: Parrots may drool when they are stressed or anxious.
  5. Heat Stress: Excessive drooling can occur in hot weather as a means of thermoregulation.

Parrot Throwing Up Water

If you observe your parrot “throwing up” water, it could be regurgitation rather than true vomiting. Regurgitation is a natural behavior in parrots that they display as a part of courtship or bonding with their mate or human caregivers.

During regurgitation, parrots bring up undigested food or water from their crop, a specialized pouch in their throat, and may offer it to a perceived mate or favorite person.

However, if your parrot appears to be vomiting water or has other concerning symptoms, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Vomiting can be caused by various factors such as infections, gastrointestinal problems, toxic ingestion, or other medical conditions.


Parrots have a unique way of digesting food without saliva. While they lack the watery saliva found in mammals, their specialized digestive system allows them to break down and process food effectively.

Understanding how parrots handle digestion adds to our appreciation of these intelligent and captivating avian companions.


Thank you for visiting for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.