Size: Medium, Large Personality: Active, Intelligent, Lively, Vocal Lifespan: 20-60-years Care & Maintenance: High
Common Species

Blue and Gold (Ara ararauna), Scarlet (Ara macao), Green Wing (Ara cholropetera), Military (Ara militaris), Hyacinth (Andorhynchus hyacinthinus) , Hahn’s (Diopsittaca nobilis), and Severe macaw (Ara severus).


Southern Mexico to Central and South America

Colorful and Lively with Big Personalities

Macaws are a magnificent species of birds that come in a range of sizes, from miniature to large. They are truly impressive creatures, with their loud calls and bold mannerisms. Their striking and vibrant plumage is sure to catch your eye, even when they are silent. Despite their formidable appearance, Macaws are known for their gentle and compassionate temperament. They are highly sociable, playful, and energetic, and love to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, such as foraging. While they can learn to imitate human speech, Macaws do not communicate as clearly as some other pet bird species. If you’re seeking a faithful and friendly companion with a vibrant and outgoing personality, a Macaw could be the perfect pet for you.

Macaws can be found in the wild from southern Mexico to Central and South America. In the wild macaws are primarily tree top dwellers, living in the canopies of tropical forests.

There are 17 species of macaws ranging from the small mini macaws to the large macaws. There are many species commonly kept as pets including Blue and Gold, Scarlet, Green Wing, Military, Hyacinth, Hahn’s, and Severe macaw.

The lifespan of a macaw depends on whether it is a mini or large macaw. Mini macaws have an average lifespan of 20 to 40 years while the large macaws can live for 50 to 60 years or longer.

Health Booklet

Keeping track of bird health by recording their growth, development, behavior and environment in a booklet can help ensure that your companion parrot will be healthy and happy for many years to come.

Physical Description

Macaws are medium to large sized parrots ranging in size from the little Hahn’s macaw (measuring 11”) to the large Hyacinth macaw, the largest parrot in the world (measuring 40”). Macaws have long tails, slim bodies, broad heads, and large, powerful beaks.

Green Wing Macaw
Hyacinth Macaw

They are very colourful birds. While the colour depends on the species, macaws come in shades of green, red, blue, and yellow. The gender of most species of macaws is difficult to determine by physical characteristics alone. Many macaw species will hybridize resulting in beautiful color & personality traits.


DNA sexing is the most accurate way to determine the sex of macaws. Much like many of our other parrot species, a DNA blood test performed by a qualified experienced avian practitioner is also a good tool to determine sex of the bird.

Personality Traits & Behaviours

Macaws are known for their sociability and vocal nature. They are highly intelligent and require plenty of stimulation, so they enjoy exploring outside of their cages. With proper care and trust-building, macaws will interact well with new people in the household. However, without training, they tend to bond with only one or two family members.

Noise Level/Speech/Song

Macaws are known for their loud vocalizations, which can reach up to 120 decibels, similar to the sound of a jet engine. They use their loud calls to communicate with other birds and to establish their territory. They can be very loud birds especially in the mornings and evenings. Macaws are also capable of mimicking human speech, although not all individuals will learn to do so. Those that do learn to talk can develop a vocabulary of several hundred words, however they may not be as clear or articulate as other parrots, such as Amazons or African Greys.

Intelligence & Learning

Macaws are intelligent and social birds that require mental stimulation and social interaction to thrive in captivity. In the wild, they use their intelligence to forage for food, solve problems, and even use tools to extract insects from tree bark. In captivity, they can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, such as fetching objects or performing aerial acrobatics. It’s important to offer them multiple opportunities for foraging and exercise to keep them mentally and physically healthy. Some macaws, with proper training and in controlled settings, love to participate in recall flight training sessions.


Macaws face significant threats in the wild, such as habitat loss and illegal trade, making many species endangered or critically endangered. Conservation efforts focus on protecting their habitat, reducing illegal trade, and breeding programs, including the establishment of protected areas and captive breeding programs.

Relationship with Humans

Macaws are known for their ability to form deep connections with their human companions. To prevent the development of a one or two-person bond, it’s important to train the birds with multiple household members. Building a strong relationship requires consistent and positive training, as well as patience. Trust is also a crucial aspect of the macaw-human bond. With proper care and attention, many macaws can live happily as pets for generations, as they have a long lifespan.


Housing/Cage Placement

The general rule of thumb when buying a bird cage is to buy the largest cage you can afford. For optimum health and safety, the cage should be at least two and a half times the width of the bird’s wingspan in all directions. Cage bar spacing should never be so wide that your bird could stick their head through, and their tail feathers should not be able to touch the bars when they are perched comfortably. Also consider your bird’s beak strength to determine the proper gauge of the bars as some birds have been known to bend the bars and escape.

A rectangular cage with horizontal bars in which your bird has plenty of room to climb and play is the best environment for your parrot. Your parrot will be happiest in a well-ventilated room with as much natural light as possible, yet away from direct sunlight and drafts. Your bird will want to be part of the action but not right in the middle of it. Avoid placing your bird’s cage in the kitchen as there are many hazards including vapors from heated PTFE coated pans (PTFE is better known as TeflonTM), hot stoves, pots of boiling water, and cooking fumes, all of which can be very harmful to your bird. The cage and accessories should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected weekly. Make sure your bird stays healthy by providing them with fresh food and water every day. Don’t forget to wash their dishes daily!

Time out of the cage every day for socialization and exercise is important. Parrots enjoy supervised activities on a play gym loaded with their favorite toys and enrichment food. Make sure they do not have access to open doors or windows, toilets with the lid up, hot stoves, moving ceiling fans, or large panes of glass. It’s also a good idea to ensure they do not chew on or ingest anything unsafe such as treated or painted wood or unsafe house plants. Do not keep your bird in a room where sprays such as perfume, hair spray, air fresheners, or aerosol sprays are used frequently.

For the safety of your beloved parrot, we advise against leaving them unattended with other pets like dogs, cats, or ferrets.


When it comes to feeding your Macaw, there are countless opinions to consider. Here’s what we believe: a high-quality extruded diet – such as Tropican – serves as the foundation of your parrot’s diet, while other healthy enrichment foods provide welcome variety.

Pelleted bird food is the ideal source of nutrition to keep your parrot healthy. However, it’s important to offer variety, too, gourmet seeds, dried fruits, vegetables, and nuts (such as Tropimix), beans, and fresh fruits and vegetables all provide essential nutrients and diversity to your parrot’s diet. Sensible, healthy table foods such as cooked pasta, rice, hard-boiled eggs, multigrain toast, and unsalted crackers can also serve as treats in small amounts.

It is crucial to avoid unhealthy people foods. Never feed your parrot chocolate, alcohol, caffeine beverages, or avocado as even small amounts can be toxic. Salty or sugary foods should also be avoided. Check out our feeding recommendations for most parrot species.

Of course, fresh water every day is very important too. Remember to wash and refill your parrot’s water bowl daily to keep your bird healthy and happy.


Many bird owners will cover the bird cage at night to help block out extra light and to provide a setting of security. A cover can also keep the cage warmer (for those living in colder climates).

Your bird’s sleep cage should be outfitted with a comfortable perch placed at the highest level possible to provide security and maintain healthy feet. If your bird is prone to night terrors or you don’t use a cage cover, consider installing an infrared basking light or small night light in the room. Keep in mind that parrots need 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep for optimal health.


It’s important to maintain clean and appropriately sized perches to prevent Pododermatitis or Bumblefoot in your bird. Offer your bird at least three types of perches, such as cotton or sisal rope and natural wood perches. Remember to vary the diameter and size of the perches to fit your bird’s feet. Additionally, consider adding natural branches to the cage for perching and chewing. Opt for branches like willow, alder, ash, birch, or apple, but replace them every 4-6 weeks and remove the leaves.

Always keep your bird safe and comfortable by keeping their perches clean. Regularly inspect cotton or sisal rope perches for any signs of fraying or loose strands, and replace perches as needed due to normal wear and tear. If you use a grooming perch, place it on a lower level of the cage and away from food and water dishes.


Macaws are known for their active and playful personalities, so it’s important to keep them entertained. To keep your Macaw occupied, make sure he has at least three toys of varying types – such as wood for chewing, rope or leather for preening, a bell or a swing – in his cage at all times. To avoid boredom, switch out the toys with new ones every week or two. If you’re unsure which toys are suitable for your Macaw, consider Smart.Play and Active.Play toys, which provide recommendations based on their size and needs.


Young macaws are generally easier to train in comparison to their older counterparts, but with consistent positive behavior reinforcement, most birds can be trained effectively. It is best to train the bird as early as possible, using simple commands such as “step up” and “step down”. To reinforce positive behavior, use praise and rewards such as their favorite treats. It’s best to have training sessions away from the bird’s main cage, using a training stand.

Socializing your parrot is also important to prevent fear and aggression towards strangers. Introduce them to new people, places, and experiences to help them become accustomed to different situations. Sharing new toys, foods, and environments can help with this. A well-trained and well-socialized Macaw can be a great companion for years to come.


Daily bathing is essential to the health of your bird. Bathing moisturizes nasal passages and feet and keeps your birds’ feathers and skin in excellent shape. Macaws will often bathe on their own if opportunity is available. If your bird is reluctant to bathe on his own, you can use a spray bottle with warm water to gently mist him or use a shower perch. Be sure to remove seeds or pellets from the cage before misting as damp food can grow mold and bacteria. Always bathe your bird early in the day and let him dry naturally in a draft free area.

Feather/Nail Care

While trimming a Macaw’s flight feathers is optional, most owners prefer to keep the wings trimmed for safety reasons. Trimming the feathers is a simple and painless process, similar to getting a haircut. By ensuring that your bird cannot fly too high but can still glide down safely, you will create a safer environment for both you and your pet. It is important to manage your bird’s flight feathers properly, especially during molting season, and to regularly inspect and groom their toenails. To avoid accidents, it is highly recommended that you consult a professional bird groomer to trim the feathers and nails. Wing trimming does not guarantee that your bird will not fly, but it can certainly help. Even with trimmed wings, one or two grown-in feathers can still give your Macaw flight capability. That’s why it is essential to never take your Macaw outside without a secure cage or a properly fitted bird harness.

Household Dangers

It is important to provide parrots with a safe environment to ensure the longest lifespan. The following is a list of common household dangers: Non-stick surfaces (like TeflonTM coated pans), oven cleaners and self-cleaning ovens, cigarette smoke, paint and paint fumes, scented candles, household cleaners, floor polish, hairspray, chlorine bleach, perfume, aerosol sprays, nail polish and nail polish remover fumes and ingesting harmful or toxic house plants. It’s important to make sure everyone in the household is aware of food and other products in the home that are potentially toxic to parrots, such as avocados, chocolate, coffee beans, onions, salt, and fruit seeds or pits. Ceiling fans, cupboards, blinds, and open doors and windows can also pose a risk as your pet may fly into, get trapped or simply fly away.

Vet Care

Birds are notorious for concealing signs of illness, so it’s crucial to monitor any slight changes in your bird’s health or behavior. If you are a Macaw parrot owner, it’s recommended to schedule an annual checkup with a veterinarian for a comprehensive evaluation and preventive health care plan. Some veterinarian practices specialize in treating birds and exotic pets (referred to as avian or exotic vets). While some clinics can provide routine bird appointments, they may refer you to a certified avian veterinarian for more complex cases. Consulting with an avian veterinarian is a valuable resource for obtaining advice on appropriate health care for your beloved bird.

Availability in the Pet Market

Most Macaw parrots can be obtained from an avian specialty shop, pet dealer, or a reputable breeder. Online adoption organizations and rescues can also be a viable option for those looking to adopt an Macaw Parrot.

…Many macaw species will hybridize resulting in beautiful color & personality traits.


Breeding Habits

In the wild, Macaws will nest when opportunity presents itself-and that is usually after a period of rain. The clutch can vary between four to seven eggs with fledglings leaving the nest at about eight to ten weeks. With aviary bred Macaws, one can expect a pair of birds to reach maturity at about eleven to twelve months a year.  

Hatchling to Fledgling

Most aviculturists catering to the pet bird trade prefer to have parent birds raise their young for about two to three weeks before beginning hand-feeding. Breeding parrots should be in optimal health and receive proper nutrition to support the needs of both the “expectant” parents and the nestlings. Tropican High Performance 2mm, 4mm, 8mm, Sticks and Tropimix Large Parrot are excellent options, as well as vegetables and fruits high in beta-carotene to meet the nutritional needs of breeding parrots. Adding Prime Vitamins to the diet can also benefit breeding pairs on a predominately seed-based diet.

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