The bold, powerful, and colorful macaw is a New World parrot classified into six of the many Psittacidae genera: Ara, Anodorhynchus, Cyanopsitta, Propyrrhura, Orthopsittaca, and Diopsittaca.
These majestic creatures are extremely intelligent and come with a big personality. Macaw parrot sizes range from the Hahns Macaw which is the smallest at 12 inches to the largest Hyacinth Macaw measuring at over 3 feet from head to tail.
Macaws are not known for their talking ability, but can learn to repeat many words and phrases. Macaws have fascinated humans for thousand of years and continue to do so today with their exquisite colors. Check out the complete list of macaws and learn which ones are endangered and extinct.
Their native habitats are the rain forests of Mexico and Central and South America. More specifically, several species originate from Eastern Panama, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Venezuela.
Having the experience to see a wild macaw in flight is breath taking! Check out the amazing conservation pictures at Parrots International.
A macaw diet consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens, nuts, and a high quality mixture of large hookbill seed, and commercial pellets. Macaws require a higher fat and oil content in their diet. Offering fresh nuts in the shell such as almonds, walnuts, brazils, and macadamia nuts will help to complete this dietary need.
Pictured Below: Cairo the Catalina Macaw with Fresh Grapes
Fresh water should be given at all times, removing any contaminated water bowls and replenishing with clean water. Check out our macaw parrot videos on YouTube@ Loveyourparrot Education. It will help you understand the importance of giving your parrot fresh fruits & vegetables daily. They use their tongue and the bone inside it (there is a bone, so cool) as a tool for nuts and other foods.
Enrichment Opportunities At Feeding:
There are many products available that allow the caretaker to place food inside a toy or device thus making it a challenge for the parrot to retrieve the treat. This is called animal enrichment or parrot brain work. Certain fruits such as oranges, apples, and bananas can have the peel left on (washed of course). This will allow the bird to discover the yummy parts and keep busy feeding time extended. Using a stainless steel skewer is a great idea for hanging fruit and vegetables! Dr. Foster and Smith have these on their website to purchase.
Discard any uneaten fresh foods daily. Always wash all foods with a good fruit and vegetable cleanser, it really will make a difference in the health of your parrot. Check out the fresh foods you should be feeding your parrot on our fresh food list.
Breeding macaws is an enormous responsibility and should be done only by the experienced and educated parrot breeder. The diet, housing, and caring requirements are vital for these large birds to live well and should not be taken lightly. There has to be a genuine love and dedication to successfully breed macaws. It is ever so messy too so one must have daily time to clean up!
There is a variation in the number of eggs laid depending on the species of macaw. The Hyacinth Macaw, the largest of the macaw family, will lay two eggs unlike the Hahn's Macaw, one of the smallest in the family, will lay up to five eggs.
Macaw Parrots will bond for life with their chosen mate. Human caretakers will be seen as a mate and pet macaws may display breeding behavior towards them. This can include some aggressive or dominating behavior and louder more frequent bird calls.
Macaws need plenty of space to be housed in. Cage size for macaws such as Blue & Golds, Scarlets, Hybrid Species, should be at least 46 x 36 x 78.2 inches with 3/4 to 1 inch bar spacing. They make parrot cages even bigger & stronger for the mighty Hyacinth Macaw Parrot! The height of the cage is important because of the length of the tail they have. The parrot enclosure should allow them to spread out their entire wing-span comfortably and have enough room to climb around in the cage. We highly recommend purchasing an acrylic cage for your parrot from Cages by Design.
There has been documentation of macaws living for up to 100 years. An average of 50 years is more probable. The larger macaws may live up to 65+ years. The decision to have a macaw as a pet should be seen as a life-long commitment, as it will likely be a companion for life and possibly even outlive its caretaker. Macaws are monogamous and mate for life. A proper plan with signed paperwork should be in place in the event of the parrot owner's passing. Where will your parrot go if something happens to you!?!
Companion parrots require daily interaction. Most macaws are affectionate and thrive on their owners constant attention and care. Lack of this can lead to physical and mental suffering. Destructive behaviors such as self-mutilation may be a sign of abuse and neglect.
Macaws can be extremely loud, thus their owner must be aware of this natural calling. The macaw should not be reprimanded for this natural behavior. Macaws are not usually suitable as pets for children without proper adult supervision.
They have very powerful, large beaks and are capable of causing great harm to both children and adults, see Cairo below and his LARGE BEAK! Macaws are recommended for the experienced parrot handler who has the time, energy, finances, and education of these brilliant birds.
It is necessary to provide your macaw parrot with many large, colorful or natural wood parrot toys to chew and play with. You wouldn't expect your 20 month old child to sit around with nothing to play with would you? It is literally the exact same intelligence level that a macaw parrot has!
It should be an extensive thought out process when deciding to purchase a macaw. Those that can offer and commit to the responsibilities of a larger parrot will experience great passion and fulfillment with a macaw parrot.