The macaw parrots, with their large size and vibrant colors, remain one of the most spectacular parrot species in the world.
These social birds have several unique characteristics that make them easily draw attention. Although their large beaks can sometimes be intimidating, a well-socialized macaw parrot can make a friendly and affectionate companion.
If you are a lover of large parrots and have been looking for the perfect parrot to own as a pet, then you will love the large macaw parrots and their varieties.
Macaw is the collective name of about 18 species of large colorful parrots native to tropical South and North America.
Quick Information about the Macaw Parrots
- Scientific name: Psittacidae
- Common name: Macaws
- Average life span: 60-80 years
- Relative size: 11.8 to 39.5 inches (30-100 cm)
- Weight: between 300g and 1.7 kg)
- Color: in contrast to what is common among vividly colored birds, both the male and female macaws look alike. There is also color variation among the different species. The scarlet macaw, which is the best known among the macaw parrots has a brilliant yellow, red, and blue plumage contrasts with a bare white face which kind of makes a blush when the bird is excited.
Interesting facts about Macaw Parrots
- Even though there are more than 370 different types of parrots, macaws remain the largest of them all. Makaw Parrots are also known as the giants of the parrot world.
- The hyacinth macaw is the longest parrot, with a head to tail length of 1 meter (40 inches).
- Macaws can live up to 80 years.
- Some macaws like the Hyacinth macaws are strong enough to crack coconut shells
- Macaw parrots are loud and noisy – often more than what some people can tolerate.
- The pattern of their facial feathers is as unique as a fingerprint
Varieties of Makaw Parrots
Although there are about 18 different living species of macaws, not all of them get commonly adopted by people. However, there are some species of macaws that have made good pets in different parts of the world.
Some macaw species that are commonly kept as pets include:
Green-winged macaw (Ara chloropterus)
This parrot has a very interesting disposition and responds well to training. It is the type of parakeet that needs a lot of social interaction and often do well in a supportive environment.
Hahn’s macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis nobilis)
Hahn’s macaw are the smallest of macaw parrots. They are very intelligent, easy-going and also responds well to training.
With practice, they do make a good talker. Hahn’s macaw is the perfect parrot for lovers of macaws but who aren’t ready to take on a large bird.
Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
These are the largest of the macaw birds and of course, they are the hardest to care for. Because of the amount of attention and time this specie of macaw parrot requires, they are obviously not the right pet for new bird owners.
Hyacinth macaws are also very intelligent and beautiful.
Blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna)
Another large macaw parrot with great intelligence. They are highly attention-demanding that they often rival other pets like dogs and cats in terms of social needs. So they are not recommended for a novice bird owner.
Military macaw (Ara militaris)
Military macaw parrot is a very vocal and social parrot with a reputation of being pleasant and even-tempered when properly socialized.
While they enjoy playing and interacting with their owners, they can also be attention-demanding. So if you are planning to own a military macaw, you need to be sure you can provide plenty of time the parrot needs for interactions.
Scarlet macaw (Ara macao)
Like most members of the macaw family, the scarlet macaw is also a very intelligent bird that also enjoys daily socialization.
Scarlet parrots gets bored easily so in addition to the constant attention it gets from its owner, it also requires plenty of toys to play with.
Severe macaw (Ara severus)
A comical and friendly parrot that is loved by bird lovers – thanks to its beautiful and large personalities. It quickly bonds with its owners and also responds well to training.
Like other macaw parrots, the severe macaw parrot can also be a charming companion.
Diet – What does the Macaw parrots love to eat?
Macaw parrots eat a variety of foods, and that should be good news for people that have been asking “what type of food does a macaw parrot eats?” or “what can I feed my macaw parrot with?”.
These types of parrots eat anything from fruits to seeds, nuts, leaves, palm fruits, stems, and flowers.
Some macaw owners will offer their birds whatever they are eating so far it doesn’t contain avocado, salt, chocolate, caffeine or sugar.
Other macaw’s favorites include cooked pasta, cereal, applesauce, and nuts. Amazing, right?
Caring for a Macaw Parrot
Having a macaw parrot as a pet is a long-term commitment. As much as they are stunning birds with great intelligence and speaking ability, they also require lots of care from their owners.
Macaw parrots require a large enclosure so they can have enough space to fly for at least part of the year.
Their cage must also be tall enough to prevent their tail from hitting the floor of the cage so their feathers won’t suffer from bending and breakage.
Macaw parrots are also vigorous chewers and so plenty of toys should be provided in their cage so they can have something to chew on. This could include unsprayed bird-safe perches and branches such as pine, fir, elder, and sink.
You can also add in some other sources of enrichment like ladders, swings, and complex toys to keep them busy and also keep their active minds engaged.
For exercise, if you don’t have a free-flight aviary that allows enough room for your bird to spread its wings and be physically and mentally healthy, you might need to consider letting your macaw spend some time outside its cage than inside it.
Parakeets require lots of care, so it is good you know how exactly to take care of your parrots to turn them into best companions.
Common health problems of Macaw parrots?
Macaw parrots are the type of bird that spends lots of years alive. They don’t usually suffer physical health challenges but emotional ones.
Because of their socialization and intelligence, they are prone to loneliness and boredom. When a macaw parrot is depressed, it can start injuring itself by pulling out its own feathers.
To prevent that from happening, you might need to spend more time playing with your bird or consider owning more than one macaw parrot.
Some common avian diseases that macaw parrots are susceptible to also include:
- Psittacine beak and feather disease: a fatal viral disease which is also highly contagious
- Proventricular dilation disease: a really deadly viral disease. Still incurable
- Psittacosis:parrot fever
- Aspergillosis: a fungal infection
- Beak malocclusion: a beak alignment disorder
Can Macaw Parrots make a good pet?
Of course, macaw parrots are beautiful and highly intelligent parrots. They have speaking ability and enjoys a good bond with their owners. Apart from providing them a large and suitable housing, as well as a good diet, you will not have any issues caring for the macaws. If you are a fan of parrots but prefer something bigger, you will definitely love the macaw parrots.
To better enjoy the companion of your pet parrots, you can also learn about how to train them and make them love you more.
Macaw parrots in the wild
Macaws life in the wild in quite different from when they are in captivity or kept as a pet in a cage. In the wild, they tend to have more fun, especially foraging for their foods.
These parrots are mostly found in rainforests and grasslands where they eat a variety of foods – even some that may be poisonous to them. But fortunately, they know how to find their ways around that as they are often seen eating clay from exposed river banks in the Amazon basin. This helps to neutralize any form of toxins they might have eaten in their foods.
Also due to deforestation and some people that hunt down these birds for the purpose of selling them off, macaw parrots are facing a critical risk of extinction in the wild.
According to the IUCN Red List, many species of macaw parrots are either endangered or facing extinction.
Breeding Macaw parrots
Typically, macaw parrots mate for life. These birds do not only breed with their mates but also share foods with them and enjoy mutual grooming together. When the breeding season comes, mothers incubate eggs while the fathers forage for foods and bring it back to the nest.
When building a cage for a macaw parrot, it is important the cage is strong enough to cope with the significant strength of macaws beaks. In that case, it is recommended you construct the cage using stainless steel.
Remember, you are providing a cage for your bird to temporarily keep it safe and contained when you are not at home. Not for it to live its life in it. Make sure the cage is big enough. A minimum length of 15m (50 feet) is recommended.
Is a Macaw a Parrot?
Yes, a macaw is indeed a type of parrot. Macaws belong to the parrot family, scientifically known as Psittacidae. They are among the most well-known and striking members of the parrot family due to their large size, vibrant colors, and unique characteristics.
Why Do Macaws Have Long Tails?
- Flight Control: The length of their tails aids in maneuvering through the air, offering stability and balance during flight.
- Display and Communication: Extended tail feathers are used for visual displays during courtship and social interactions, conveying emotions and attraction.
- Species Recognition: Tail feather patterns and colors are unique to each macaw species, helping individuals identify their own kind.
- Climbing and Perching: Long tails provide support while climbing and perching, enhancing balance on branches and reducing the risk of falling.
- Acrobatics and Play: Macaws’ playful behaviors involve mid-air twists and turns, made possible by their long tails, showcasing their agility and strength.
How much does a Macaw Parrot cost?
The price of a macaw varies, depending on so many factors. Remember macaws are of different species and sizes. While Hahn’s macaws are very small compared to other species, the Hyacinth macaws are usually very large. Just as their species and sizes vary, so also is their prices.
The age at which you are buying also matters. However, a macaw is usually between $700 and $1500.
Macaw parrots are amazing and beautiful parrots. They make good pets and companions, especially for owners who have enough time to spend with them. These birds are of different species and their size also varies. However, they are still the largest of the parrot world.
They are highly sociable and attention-demanding birds, and so anyone planning to keep them as pets should be ready to spend enough time with them. Boredom and loneliness is not a good thing for them at all
Overall, macaws are great pets for every parrot lovers that want something bigger than a conventions parrot. You can also check out another large and interesting parrot pets like the Australian King parakeet.