Macaws are large colorful New World parrots, classified into six of the many Psittacidae genera: Ara, Anodorhynchus, Cyanopsitta, Primolius, Orthopsittaca, and Diopsittaca. They are the largest birds in the parrot family in length and wingspan.
Macaws eat nuts and fruit. They also gnaw and chew on various objects. They show a large amount of intelligence in their behaviour and require constant intellectual stimulation to satisfy their innate curiosity. Macaws have been said to live for up to 100 years; however, an average of 50 years is probably more accurate. The larger macaws may live up to 65 years. They are monogamous and mate for life. In captivity unmated macaws will bond primarily with one person – their keeper. Pet macaws thrive on frequent interaction, and a lack of this can lead to their mental and physical suffering.
Other sub-bondings also take place and most macaws that are subjected to non-aggressive behavior will trust most humans, and can be handled even by strangers if someone familiar is also alongside.
It is highly suggested to feed your Macaw a specialized pellet diet with seeds in moderation. Fresh fruits and vegetables such as, apples, berries, grapes, carrots, broccoli and various greens leafy vegetables should be given to your macaw and replaced at least every 24 hours. Also, it is recommended to regularly provide your pet with fresh clean water. Proper bathing and cleaning is also very important for your pet macaw. Provide clean water for bathing. Remove and replace it with fresh clean water when the bird is finished. You may also shower or mist your bird. This is often enjoyed and is usually a fun alternative for your pet and will often generate a playful attitude in the bird.
It is important to have the proper housing for your pet. A flight cage and plenty of time outside the cage is also highly suggested as the Military needs plenty of room to stretch and exercise its wings. Also, be sure to provide a variety of perch sizes for your bird to exercise its feet. Macaws also like to gnaw and chew so provide plenty of toys for your bird to exercise its beak. Make sure to clean and disinfect the cage regularly and replace all damaged toys and perches regularly.
Blue and Gold Macaws
The Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna), also known as the Blue-and-gold Macaw, is a member of the macaw group of parrots which breeds in the swampy forests of tropical South America from Panama south to Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. They can reach 29.9-33.9in long and weigh 900 to 1300 g (2-3 lbs), making them one of the biggest parrots in the world. The Blue and yellow Macaw can live up to 60 years of age. They are intelligent and loving, so for someone who can provide for their needs, they make good companion animals. Blue and Gold’s are know to their owners as more of a “one person” bird, and bond very closely to their owners.
Even the most well cared for Blue-and-Gold Macaw will “scream” and make other loud noises, nonetheless, it is possible to make them silent. Loud vocalizations, especially “flock calls”, and destructive chewing are natural parts of their behavior and should be expected in captivity.
To some extent you can redirect chewing to toys, but a macaw left alone, uncaged in a room will likely redecorate. By providing a number of toys in cage, one can minimize the destructive chewing as the bird will focus chewing on those appropriate objects They require a varied diet; a seed only diet will lead to health problems such as vitamin deficiency. An example of a good diet would be a quality pelleted mix, in conjunction with a mix featuring seed, nuts, and dried fruits, with fresh vegetables and fruits fed regularly; furthermore, it is quite common (and appreciated by the parrot) to partake with their human owners of safe foods like pasta, bread, etc. It is important to avoid foods with high fat content (generally) while striving to provide a wide variety of foods.
The Scarlet Macaw (Ara Macao) is a large, colourful parrot.
It is native to humid evergreen forests in the American tropics, from extreme eastern Mexico locally to Amazonian Peru and Brazil. It is about 81 to 96 cm (32 to 36 inches) long, of which more than half is the pointed, graduated tail typical of all macaws. The average weight is about a kilogram (2 to 2.5 pounds). Sexes are alike; the only difference between ages is that young birds have dark eyes, and adults have light yellow eyes. Scarlet Macaws make loud, low-pitched, throaty squawks and screams. Scarlet Macaws eat mostly fruits and seeds, including large, hard seeds. Scarlet Macaws are popular, noisy and demanding cage birds. They are considered sociable and affectionate, and some use human speech well.
Scarlet Macaws in captivity are sometimes cross-bred with other species of macaws to produce hybrids.
The Chestnut-fronted Macaw or Severe Macaw (Ara severa) is one of the largest of the mini-macaws. It reaches a size of around 45 centimeters (18 inches) of which around half is the length of the tail. This is the only mini-macaw to have feathers on the bare patches on its face which makes it look like the larger types of macaw.
The Chestnut-fronted or Severe Macaw is mostly green in colour with patches of red and blue on the wings. The head has a Chestnut brown patch just above the beak. The beak is black and the patches around the eyes are white with lines of small black feathers.
They can be found over a large part of Northern South America from Panama south into Brazil.
Their lifespan is listed as anything from 30 to 80 years of age.
Like most other parrots Severe Macaws can be “nippy” (biting). This should not be encouraged. They can also be “beaky” (exploring with their beak) but as it can be hard to distinguish the intent at first caution should be observed when handling one. They can learn to speak and can readily learn a reasonable vocabulary.
The Severe Macaw or Chestnut-Fronted Macaw is all the fun of a large Macaw rolled into a smaller package!
The Severe Macaw is extremely social and loves to mimic speech and be petted and played with! Best if kept in pairs; Severe Macaws are quite intelligent and should be provided with ropes to swing on and lots of wood to chew, for they can get quite destructive if bored. Forming strong bonds with their keepers, they are affectionate, silly, and active, and love to climb, explore, and hang upside down, chatting and squawking often. Chestnut-Fronted Macaws relate to their world by chewing on it, and this may include you! They should be taught early on to regulate the pressure of their beaks. They do well when fed on a variety of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, green food, and commercial pellets. Pasta, beans, pine nuts, and porridge all make fine treats for Severe Macaws. Because of their smaller size, Severe Macaws will do well in a cage for African Grey Parrots, however, be sure it is sturdy and do not give these birds toys intended for small birds!
Native to the forests of central South America, the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is the largest macaw and the largest flying parrot species in the world. Their unique size, color, and markings make the all-blue Hyacinth Macaw one of the most recognized species of macaw. These birds grow to a total length of 100 cm and weigh 1.4-1.7 kg. The wingspan is 130-150 cm. They are mature and begin breeding at seven years of age.
They have a beak pressure that can easily disassemble the bars of a welded wrought iron cage in a short time. This powerful beak is ideal for its favorite foods, which include hard nuts and seeds that would otherwise be inaccessible. Their strong beaks are even able to crack coconuts. In addition, they eat fruits and other vegetable matter. Pine nuts are also one of the most popular foods. They are generally messy eaters.
The Military Macaw (Ara militaris) is a medium sized member of the macaw family, generally 70-80 cm. A predominantly green bird, it is found in the forests of Mexico and South America. The Military Macaw is perhaps best known for his gentle and even temperament. The Military Macaw is among the most popular pet Macaws today.
The Military Macaw is a social parrot and loves to be around his owners. Because they are such social creatures they must get constant attention from their human families. Military Macaws that are not given ample attention have been known to scream and pluck feathers. It is strongly recommended that owners keep their Military Macaw in a room where the family spends most of their time. Keep in mind, however, that like other parrots the Military Macaw has strict sleep requirements. They must get at least 12 hours of sleep every night.
The Military Macaw is an intelligent and active Macaw and requires a large assortment of toys to keep him stimulated and entertained. They enjoy chewing, so wood toys that can be replaced, are a must. Many Military Macaws love to be cuddled by their owners. They generally display very even temperaments. Some Military Macaws may bond strongly to one person in the house, but this is not always the case. If you socialize your Military Macaw well he should appreciate attention from wide varieties of new people. The Military Macaw, like other Macaws, has the capacity to be quite loud. If you are looking for a quiet pet or live in an apartment or other area with nearby neighbors you may want to reconsider your choice of pet. Some Military Macaws have been known to talk, but there is no guarantee your Military Macaw will talk or to what degree he will learn to speak. While the Military Macaw is smaller than some of the more popular varieties he is still a large bird and thus requires a large cage.
Blue Throated Macaw
The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis; previously Ara caninde) is a bird endemic to a small area of north-central Bolivia known as Los Llanos de Moxos.
It weighs about 750 g (27 oz) and is 85 cm (33 in) long. Their colours are vivid with turquoise-blue wings and tail, and bright yellow underparts. They have a large black bill, a long tail, a bare black-streaked white face, and a pale yellow iris. It can be separated from the similar-looking Blue-and-Gold Macaw by the blue (not black) throat, the blue (not green) forehead and the lack of contrast between the remiges and upperwing coverts.
With its friendly, docile personality and its crazy antics, the rare Blue-Throated Macaw or Wagler’s Macaw is a bird who makes a wonderful pet. Until the 1970’s, the Blue-Throated Macaw was known as the Caninde Macaw and was thought to be a subspecies of Blue and Gold Macaw or an immature version of this bird. This bird is rare in nature but due to breeding programs is available in captivity.
In the wild, the Blue-Throated Macaw is a social bird who is often seen in the company of Blue and Gold Macaws. In captivity, these birds are friendly and curious and tend to be surprisingly calm in social situations. They enjoy human and avian interaction and will be extremely mellow and docile when keeping your company, loving hours of attention in their keeper’s lap or arms. They rarely ever bite, choosing to flee rather than fight if they feel threatened. They relate to the world by chewing on it, and explore everything with their tongues and beaks, including you. Left to their own devices, Blue-Throated Macaws will entertain themselves for hours with spontaneous acrobatics and one-bird circle races! Blue-Throated Macaws are also quite quiet; they have a squawk, which they emit with surprise or as greeting, but usually prefer to “chat” for hours in a quieter voice. They can be taught to speak, and will talk to themselves if left alone.
The Red-shouldered Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis) also known as the Noble macaw, Long-wing macaw or Hahn’s macaw, is the smallest macaw available in the pet trade. These birds range from 30 to 35 centimetres (12 to 14 inches) in length, and have excellent speech mimicry.
The Hahn’s Macaw is the smallest of the three sub-species of Red-shouldered Macaw.
Red-shouldered Macaws are included in the group often called the mini-macaws.
There are three subspecies of this macaw:
- The Hahn’s Macaw A. n. nobilis or D. n. nobilis, Because it is the smallest of all the macaws, the Hahn’s Mini Macaw is a particularly interesting bird.
The Hahn’s Macaw is a bit easier to care for than many other birds in its family because of its much smaller size. With very high intelligence, the Hahn’s Macaw is easily trainable and amusing, with an outgoing and funny personality. Though some individuals are reported to be noisy, most will vocalize once or twice a day like most parrots, generally they are not considered very are a great alternative to the noisy large macaws for this reason. Though they are not known to be the best talkers some individuals are reported to be good talkers. Hahn’s Macaws quickly form attachments to their handlers and will amuse them for hours with their boisterous antics! Feed your Hahn’s Miniature Macaw a wide variety of seeds, fruits, and legumes to ensure good nutrition and to alleviate boredom. It is best to dust the food with mineral and vitamin supplements; a multi-vitamin and calcium are especially important. Males will only need calcium twice a week, but hens will lay eggs and thus will require calcium-dusted food five times a week! Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water, toys, chew toys, and perches so your Hahn’s Macaw is absolutely comfortable! The average Hahn’s Macaw can live 25 to 40 years or more.
- The Noble Macaw A. n. cumanensis or D. n. cumanensis,
The Noble Macaw is a very small version of Macaw that is a subspecies of Hahn’s Macaw and shares the same great personality and incredible coloration!
Like Hahn’s Macaw, the Noble Macaw or Noble Mini-Macaw is a playful and boisterous pet! Noble Macaws seem to be especially talented at mimicking speech and are easily trainable. Since they are so small, they will do well in a two foot by two foot by two foot enclosure which is equipped with plenty of toys and chew toys to sate their inquisitive natures! Feed your Noble Miniature Macaw a wide variety of seeds, legumes, and fruits to prevent your pet from becoming bored with his food and to ensure proper nutrition! Females should have calcium dusted on their food five times a week, but males need calcium powder only once or twice per week. Always use a multi-vitamin supplement in your Noble Macaw’s food. Noble Macaws crave attention and may be noisy, but if you do not mind the racket, these lovely birds provide hours of entertainment through their crazy antics!
- The Long-winged Macaw A. n. longipennis or D. n. longipennis.
Like the other small macaws they have predominantly green bodies. They have a blue crown and a tinge of blue on the lower edge of the wing. The bends of the wing are clearly marked with red, and thus the alternate name of Red-shoulder Macaw. They have a naked white patch around the eye, but it does not extend down into the cheek like the patch on the larger macaws, and their eyes are a dark orange.
The Hahn’s Macaw is the smallest of the Red-shouldered
Noble Macaw is a bit bigger and the Long-winged Macaw is the largest, with these last two reaching about 13″-14″ (31-33 cm). The beak of the Hahn’s Macaw is black, while the other two have a horn colored beak.
Juveniles have no blue on their head and no red on the bend of their wing, and their eyes are brown.
Hahn’s macaws mimic speech as well as the full-sized macaws: clearly enough to easily understand, but not quite as human-like as an African Grey or a Yellow-headed Amazon. Their natural vocalizations are more akin to screeches than they are to whistles.
Hand reared Red-shouldered Macaws are considered the easiest of all the macaws to care for, and an excellent pet. They become extremely tame and are very easy to manage!