Macaws are long-tailed, often colorful New World parrots. They make great pets and a lifetime friend due to their long lifespan. They are noisy, chirpy and can speak upto 30 words. Read on for cute facts about Macaw Parrots.
Average length: 86 cm
Weight: 1040 – 1286 g (Except a few species that weigh less than 500 g)
Food: Fruits, seeds, nuts, plants, nectar and clay
Lifespan: 30 – 50 years
Natural habitat: Humid tropical forests, usually near water, and mangroves
Geographic distribution: From eastern Panama to Brazil, down through Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela.
Native to South America and Central America
The macaw parrots are native to South America and Central America. Their natural habitat is in tropical climates, they are widely found in the jungles of Mexico all the way upto north east Argentina.
Large head and a colorful plumage
Most Macaw Parrot species have a larger head and body than other parrots. They are also more colorful than other parrots. Some distinctive features of their appearance are a long hook-shaped beak, four toed claws (two forward and two backward) with curved nails.
They are very noisy
Macaw Parrots are very noise and most noisy when they are eating or preening. The only time they are silent is when they are taking care of their young. If you want to pet them, you’ll have to train them accordingly so that they do not make much noise. Their noise can be annoying.
Long lived birds
The Macaw Parrots are particularly long lived. Some birds have even lived for more than 50 years. The lifespan of Macaw Parrots is 30 – 50 years.
They are very intelligent
They stand apart in birds when it comes to intelligence. They begin repeating words when they reach the age of 7 months. They can hold a vocabulary of 30 words.
In danger of extinction
Because of their exotic appearance, the macaw parrots are victims of indiscriminate hunting. Some species of macaw like the Spix’s macaw and the blue macaw have recently been declared extinct. There are 17 different varieties of macaw parrots, 8 of which are either extinct or in critical danger of extinction.
How to choose a Macaw parrot as a pet?
The personality of different macaws is different and so is the price. Macaw birds have the natural instinct to bite everything within their reach. This might be misinterpreted as aggressive behavior. The most docile macaw variety is the blue and yellow macaw. Smaller macaw parrots behave like other parrot species.
Understand that they’ll be noisy
Before you decide to pet them, you should understand their natural behavior to scream. The smaller macaws have higher pitch than larger ones, which means they can be more annoying. They can be trained to adapt to the house until they reach the age of 12 months. Younger macaws are easily distracted and can fly away.
You can teach them not to make noise using a simple method. Whenever it screams, put a sheet on its cage for a few minutes. It will realise that screaming is not acceptable. They should be trained not to scream before they turn 1 year old.
Make your home safe for the new family member
Macaw parrots can be sensitive to products like detergents, bleach, air freshners and smoke. Make sure the room where you keep the parrot is well-ventilated.
They’ll need a large cage
Since they can grow upto one meter in length, make sure you buy a cage large enough to keep them comfortable. Common cage size for large bird is 70x70x170 centimeters and for smaller birds is 50x50x80 centimeters.
Macaws are omnivorous birds. They can eat meat, insects and many different vegetables. They can also eat fruits. You can feed them dried seeds like sunflower and, pumpkin seeds. Chocolate, parsley and avocado are toxic to them.
How to keep them happy?
Macaw birds should be entertained. They enjoy playing with toys, but don’t give them small toys that they can eat.
Keeping them clean and healthy
Like most birds, Macaws self-clean. All they need is a water container where they can wet their feathers.
They usually do not fall sick, but may suffer intestinal problems if they ingest microorganisms. Following this, they’ll feel uncomfortable and may start plucking their own feathers.
Macaws have oviparous reproduction. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 years. To prevent the couple from fighting, they should first made to become habitual of the another. You can do so by keeping them in adjoining cages.
The female macaw will give 24 – 28 eggs. The chicks are nurtured by parents for 3 – 4 months.
Varieties of Macaw
Severe Macaw or Chestnut-fronted macaw
Scientific name: Ara severa
Length: 45 – 50 centimeters
Weight: 300-350 grams
Its plumage is mostly dominated by the green color. Its wings are red-colored from the inside and blue colored from outside. Its tail is red and blue.
Scientific name: Orthopsittaca manilata
Length: 40 – 50 centimeters
Weight: 300-350 grams
The most striking feature of their appearance is the yellow color of their face, which does not have any feathers. It has green feathers with a red spot on its belly. Its shoulders and forehead are blue and its chest are gray. Inner wings and tail also have the yellow color of the face.
Scientific name: Diopsittaca nobilis
Length: 25 – 30 centimeters
Weight: 140 – 160 grams
It is the smallest of all macaw parrots. It is also calmer than other macaws. Its small size and calm nature makes it a preferred macaw for petting. It has a long tail and green feathers. Its feathers are blue near the head. Its eyes are orange and the area around the neck has no feathers.
Scientific name: Propyrrhura couloni
Length: 40 centimeters
Weight: 280 grams
It is the least famous macaws. It has an olive green plumage and a blue-colored head. The upper part of its tail is brown with green and blue spots.
Scientific name: Primolius maracana
Length: 40 centimeters
Weight: 300 grams
It is a small-sized macaw and is mostly green in color. Its forehead and belly are red. Its eyes are orange and bill is black. The area around the eyes is devoid of feathers.
Scarlet Macaw or Red and yellow macaw
Scientific name: Ara macao
Length: 81 centimeters
Weight: 1000 grams
It is characterized by its bright red plumage. Its feathers green, yellow and blue at the end. They make very pitched screams that can travel for miles to reach other parrots of their group
Blue and Yellow Macaw
Scientific name: Ara ararauna
Length: 85 centimeters
Weight: 1000 grams
Its plumage is blue at the top, its chest and belly are yellow, its chin dark blue, and its forehead green. Its white face is striking with small black feathers that look like stripes. It is one of the least shrieking, making it the perfect exotic pet.
Red and green macaw
Scientific name: Ara chloroptera
Length: 95 centimeters
Weight: 1000 – 1700 grams
It is one of the largest macaws. Its wings are composed of three colors, blue, green and red, while its body is of red.