The macaw parrots big size and vibrant colors make them hard to overlook. These social birds can create a racket when they feel so inclined, and their clownish ways are sure to draw attention. Although their large beaks can be intimidating, a well-socialized macaw can be a friendly and affectionate companion.
Macaws are quite distinguished looking, They are easy to recognize with their large heads, strong curved beak, and an elegant long tail. They are also very smart and inquisitive birds, and they are also lively and playful. Being highly intelligent and very social, they need a lot of attention and toys to keep them busy. Pet Macaws adapt well to captivity, adjusting easily to their cage or aviary and their new home. A young macaw will tame quickly and bond to its keepers.
The feather coloring of the macaws is vibrant and beautiful. The most familiar types of macaws are large birds though a there are also a few species, known as mini macaws, that are medium sized. No matter what their size, they are all captivating birds.
Macaws are informally classified into two groups: large macaws and mini macaws. The large macaws include those of the Ara, Anodorhynchus, and Cyanopsitta genera. This “blue macaws” group includes the hyacinth, along with the critically endangered Lear’s macaw and Spix’s macaw. The mini macaws are much smaller and include those from the genera Diopsittaca, Orthopsittaca, and Primolius.
Although there are 18 living species of macaws, not all commonly get adopted by people. The commonly kept companion macaw species include the following, listed by common name and scientific name: blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna), green-winged macaw (Ara chloropterus), Hahn’s macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis nobilis), hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), scarlet macaw (Ara macao), military macaw (Ara militaris), and severe macaw (Ara severus). Some of these species have other common names. For example, the blue-and-gold macaw is sometimes called the blue-and-yellow macaw, and the military macaw is sometimes called the chestnut-fronted macaw.
Macaws come from South and Central America and have been widely kept as pets since the beginning of the 20th century. In the United States they have been kept by the Pueblo Indians since 1100 A.D. The Pueblos especially prized the Scarlet Macaw. They are primarily tree top dwellers, living in the canopies of tropical forests.
Some species of macaw are endangered or at risk of extinction, according to the IUCN Red List. Nine species are currently at the most risk. Three macaws are critically endangered: glaucous macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus), blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis), and Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii). Three macaws are endangered: Lear’s macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), great green macaw (Ara ambiguus), and red-fronted macaw (Ara rubrogenys). Three macaws are vulnerable: hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), military macaw (Ara militaris), and blue-headed macaw (Primolius couloni).
Companion macaws tend to have a much easier life than their wild counterparts, but they miss out on the ability to forage for their food, a behavior that comes naturally. Lafeber’s bird foods are ideal for the lively macaw, a bird that appreciates the opportunity to tear apart its meals. The berry and cake shapes of these foods invite more interaction. Macaws tend to love Pellet-Berries, Avi-Cakes, and Nutri-Berries.
How long do macaws live? This is an important question that macaw enthusiasts ask. Macaws are often mistakenly thought to live up to 75 years or more, but this is incorrect. The actual lifespan of a Large Macaw and Hybrid Macaws is between 35 – 60 years. The life span of the Mini Macaw is shorter, on average they will live 20 – 25 years. Macaws are not as long lived as the cockatoos. A 40 year old macaw will start showing the signs of aging and a 50 year old macaw is a very old bird!
Large macaws have equally large vocalizations, and their squawks and screeches can be quite loud and ear piercing. A potential macaw owner needs to take a macaw’s large sound into consideration, especially if he or she lives in an apartment and/or has nearby neighbors. Macaws can be taught to talk and they might also be inclined to whistle or to imitate sounds and noises they hear inside and outside the home.
Would a macaw be a good pet? That depends on you. Adding a macaw to your family means considering if you have the room, the time, the personality, and other factors that make a macaw a good companion for you. Because macaws need spacious accommodations and are long-lived, adding a macaw to the family needs to be thoroughly thought through.