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Macaw :


Macaws are often described as people’s “dream bird;” that is, the companion parrot they would have if only they owned a home, had a spouse who was as into birds or had the resources to afford the extra-large cage and unending supply of destructible toys macaws need. 

For the most part, they are correct in holding off on these giants of the parrot world. The macaw’s larger size means a louder vocal volume, and its large beak can be downright intimidating, especially to nonbird people. Their size not only warrants shopping for a cage at the far end of the size scale, but their long tail feathers require a cage that is tall as well. Simply put, you must have the space for this big bird. 

Before you start thinking that anyone wanting a macaw must be crazy, consider what typically draws people to them. A well-socialized macaw can be affectionate, yet ready to rumble if in a playful mood. You’ll get satisfaction in knowing that the toys you buy for your macaw will not be ignored, especially those incorporating wood elements. Blue & gold, scarlet, green wing, military and hyacinth, to a lesser degree, are the macaw species you’re most likely to encounter as pets, and all are native to South America. 

Macaws seem to take advantage of their immense size and can learn to intimidate people by lunging at them, which seems to be a game to them, as they appear to enjoy people’s startled reaction.

The hybrid macaws — which include the miligold macaw, the ruby macaw, the shamrock macaw, the bluffon's macaw, the calico macaw, the catalina macaw, the camelot macaw and the harlequin macaw — are offspring of the crossing of two macaw species (e.g., is the catalina macaw is the result of a scarlet macaw paired with a blue-and-gold macaw). First-generation hybrid macaws are crossings between two naturally occurring macaw species. There are also second-and-third generation hybrid macaws. Second-generation hybrid macaws have one parent that is a naturally occurring macaw species and one parent that is a first-generation hybrid macaw. A few third-generation hybrid macaws are the result of crossing hybrid macaws.

Some aviculturists are against hybridization. When a naturally occurring macaw species population is threatened, the primary effort is to breed the species to help it survive and, in such cases hybridization could potentially undermine this effort. 

Whether you get a naturally occurring macaw species or a hybrid macaw, you’ll need a lot of space and time to keep your macaw happy, but you will be rewarded with a comical, friendly and affectionate pet.

Want to learn more about macaws? Check out these articles!

Top 10 Pet Macaw Parrot Questions Answered
Macaws: 8 Things You Should Know
Pet Macaws: The Good, The Bad & The Wildly Funny
Build A Macaw’s Confidencey

Macaws - Macaw Types :


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Large Macaws, Mini Macaws, Hybrid Macaws


Macaws are highly esteemed for their awesome beauty, intelligence, and large presence!

Macaw Habitat :


Macaws are found in Mexico, Central America, South America, and formerly in the Caribbean.


Macaws in the Wild
Most of the Macaws in the wild are found in tropical rainforests, but there are some exceptions. The Red-fronted Macaws are found in semi-desert regions where they nest in cracks or holes in cliff faces and the Yellow-collared Macaw inhabits grasslands. Those that live in the forests are found primarily in rain forests along waterways and in palm swamps. They build their nests in holes of trees and eat seeds from the fruits found in the canopies.


Yet even within the rainforest, macaw habitats vary between species, for example the Scarlet Macaws live in the lowlands, while the Red-bellied Macaws are found in swampy areas. The Hyacinth Macaws will move with the seasons, going from open canopies of the rainforests, to a mature palm forests, and then to a more open country of grassy marshes.


Endangered Birds :


The status of all the living Macaw species in the wild are of concern. Several are highly endangered birds and threatened with extinction. With a combination of factors, including destruction of the rainforests and their natural habitats, hunting, and collection for the pet trade, all the Macaws are subjects of conservation and listed on the IUNC Red List of Threatened Species. Some Macaw species are extinct, and a couple have not been seen in many years and are thought to be gone or close to extinction. All show signs of diminished populations and so are considered to be endangered birds, threatened, vulnerable, or of concern.


Currently the IUNC Red List of Threatened Species shows that 2 of the Macaw species are Critically Endangered (CR), 3 are Endangered (En), 1 is Near Threatened (NT), 2 are Vulnerable (VU), and 9 are of Least Concern (LC).


Breeding Macaws in captivity is helping preserve some species and helps reduce the number of wild caught birds. However these birds are monomorphic, meaning their sex cannot be determined by their markings or the color of their feathers. For successful breeding, these birds can be sexed by a surgical probe, endoscopy, a DNA test, or a chromosomal analysis.


Macaw Species :


Today there are 17 living species of macaws. For a number of years they were placed in just four genera, but scientists have been (and still are) adjusting this. More recently they have been described in 6 genera, but even that is still somewhat confused and may be changed. Most of the pet macaws come from the Ara group, the Diopsittacagroup, and the Primolius group.


Genus Ara
This genus contains 8 of the 17 species. The most easily recognizable are the large macaws because of their large size and vivid coloration. The best known are:


  • Blue and Gold Macaw Ara ararauna

  • Green-winged Macaw Ara chloropterus

  • Scarlet Macaw Ara macao.



Macaws are vividly colored parrots that are large to medium in size. In decorating the feathers of these strikingly birds, nature surely ran wild in creating such dynamic and beautiful color combinations. These large, muscular birds have strong beaks that do earn them a degree of respect, and all macaw types are highly intelligent. Macaw species include the large Macaws and mini Macaws, and a number of hybrid Macaws have also been produced in captivity.


Though Macaws, especially the large Macaws, have a daunting presence and formidable beaks, they are highly intelligent. These stunning birds show exquisite control, selectively using their powerful beaks with finesse. They are able to interact with their keepers on many levels and quickly learn tricks. Many Macaw species are not only wonderful as pets, but make great show birds. Macaw calls are loud, but for some pet macaws this can transfer nicely into the ability to speak.


Besides being highly intelligent, Macaws have outgoing personalities and are very social. They adapt quickly to their cage and playpen, or aviary, and are quite playful. Their personality is such that they will form a close, loving bond with their keeper, and become a life-long companion. An important question, that is often misconstrued, is how long do Macaws live. Because of their large size it makes sense to think they would be very long lived, but the actual Macaw lifespan is between about 35-60 years in a good environment. They are easily outlived by the large cockatoos, and often by medium sized parrots like the Amazons.


Macaws definitely are among the most colorful and strikingly beautiful birds of the parrot family. Because of their great beauty and engaging personalities, pet Macaws are a favorite among bird lovers. They have been kept as pet birds for centuries. The activities of pet macaws are very animated and comical. Being very intelligent and inquisitive makes macaws relatively easy to train. Combine these two wonderful traits and you have a great show bird!


A bird guide for each Macaw species or Hybrid Macaw is provided for those in the list of Macaws below. Each guide provide in-depth information about living with that pet Macaw and the Macaws behaviors and activities. Macaw information includes housing, care, food, and feeding essentials along with breeding information. Tips are also included for handling and training Macaws.


Large Macaws :

Blue and Gold Macaw
Ara ararauna

Blue Throated Macaw
Ara glaucogularis 

Buffon's Macaw
Ara ambigua

Green-winged Macaw
Ara chloroptera

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

Military Macaw
Ara militaris

Red-fronted Macaw
Ara rubrogenys

Scarlet Macaw
Ara macao

Mini Macaws :

Hahn's Macaw
Ara nobilis nobilis

Illiger's Macaw
Ara maracana 

Severe Macaw
Ara severa

Yellow-collared Macaw
Ara auricollis

Mixed: F1 Hybrid Macaws - First Generation :

Mixed: F2 Hybrid Macaws - Second Generation

Mixed: F3 Hybrid Macaws - Third Generation or More

History of Pet Macaws :


Macaws have been popularly kept as pets for decades, and some records indicate that the Green-winged Macaw may have been kept as long ago as the turn of the 17th century or earlier. Lyndon L. Hargrove notes early associations with Macaws in his Mexican Macaws Comparative Osteology, written in 1970. He references Indians back to 1536 that lived in areas that today are New Mexico and Arizona, as having "traded parrot's feather for green stones far in the north".


In 1716, a Spanish priest Padre Verlarde reported of many parrots "the Pima Indians raise because of their beautiful feathers… which they stripped from the birds in the spring for their adornment". Other early documents also indicate that other tribes such as the Pueblo Indians raised Macaws and made use of their feathers for adornment. They also indicate an almost religious significance between an Indian keeper and a Macaw, suggesting that a person of poor moral character could not keep a red Macaw.


Perhaps one of the most interesting Macaw keeping stories is that of the inhabitants of Brazil. About 100 years ago, natives would remove a red feather and inoculate the area with the fluid from a frog or toad. The next feather to grow would be a bright orange or yellow. Although there was some temporary damage to the feather shaft, the new feather was of high value.


Large numbers of Macaws have been exported to the United States and Europe where they have been kept as pets since the beginning of the 20tth century. Several Macaw species were popular in the early 1900's, but because these birds were generally sold singly, and difficult to sex, breeding was not an early priority. This period also saw interest in large parrots fluctuate up and down with turns in national events. Parrot keeping was affected both by the two world wars, as well as several periods of bird disease outbreaks. After World War II, with inexpensive air transportation, importation rose. Keeping large parrots again become highly favored. Parrots of all types arrived in abundance into the United States, spurring aviculture and captive breeding. Today bird importation is greatly restricted, but many species are successfully captive bred and Macaws are readily available.

Other large macaw species in this group also make great pets and show birds, but are less vivid in their coloration. These are:

  • Military Macaw Ara militaris

  • Buffon's Macaw Ara ambigua

Finally there is a smaller bird in this group. It is usually considered a mini macaw:

  • Severe Macaw or Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severus

  • Genus Primolius :The macaws in this group are three of the smaller mini macaws. In the past they have been included in the Aragroup, and then included in the Propyrrhura group. More recently they have been placed in this group, though it is subject to debate. Due to the naming rules there may be precedence given to the Propyrrhura group, so we may yet see another name change. The Macaw species currently in this group are:

    • Yellow-collared Macaw Primolius auricollis

    • Illiger's Macaw or Blue-winged Macaw Primolius maracana

    • Blue-headed Macaw Primolius couloni

  • Genus Diopsittaca : These are three of the smaller or mini macaws. These birds are often listed in the Ara group as well. This group contains three suggested subspecies of the Red-shouldered Macaw species Diopsittaca nobilis, which are:

    • Hahn's Macaw Diopsittaca nobilis nobilis, the nominate species and the smallest macaw species

    • Noble Macaw Diopsittaca nobilis cumanensis

    • Long-winged Macaw Diopsittaca nobilis longipennis

  • Genus Anodorhynchus : The macaws in this group are either highly endangered or critically endangered birds. This group includes:

    • Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

    • Glaucous Macaw Anodorhynchus glaucus

    • Lear's Macaw Anodorhynchus leari, also known as the Blue Macaw or Indigo Macaw.

  • Genus Orthopsittaca  : There is only one mini macaw in this genus. It too used to be placed in the Ara group but most authorities now place it in the genus Orthopsittaca. Although this Macaw is easy to catch, this bird is very difficult to keep in captivity due to a highly specialized diet and it is very difficult to breed. It was listed as Endangered in 2007 - IUCN, but as of 2009 it been down listed to the status of Least Concern. These macaws in the wild, appear to be more abundant than previously thought, though their habitat is still at risk:

    • Red-bellied Macaw Orthopsittaca manilata

  • Genus Cyanopsitta : This genus contains only one species, and it is very rare and critically endangered:

    • Spix's Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii, also known as the Little Blue Macaw

Macaws as Pets :


Macaws can make excellent pets. They have great appeal not only for their striking appearance but because they are playful and loving. They also have a long life span and are very hardy. The macaw calls can be quite loud however, and they do love to chew anything they can get a hold of. All macaws require good socialization and consistent training on an ongoing basis to make good pets.


When choosing a pet bird, the first thing to think about are the types of macaws and determine which ones are suitable to your lifestyle. The size of the macaw and the facility it will require, the cost of obtaining it, and the costs of keeping it are important considerations. Smaller mini macaws, though not quite as vividly colored, take somewhat less space and their associated costs may also be less than for large macaws or hybrid macaws.


Another very important consideration is their conservation status. The number of macaws is increasing due to aviculture, however all species of macaws in the wild are of concern and most are endangered birds. Macaws that are highly endangered birds and not firmly established in captivity, should not be kept individually as pets. Rather these macaws should be paired up for breeding to help ensure the sustainability of these birds into the future. Macaws that are highly endangered are generally quite rare and usually very expensive, and some are simply not available.


Types of Macaws:


Macaw types range dramatically in size; with the largest being the Hyacinth Macaw whose wingspan can reach an impressive 42" to the smallest being the Red-shouldered Macaw, similar in size to some of the larger AratingaConures.


All macaws share the same physical characteristics. They all have long tails, slim bodies, and broad heads. Where they differ is in size and the spectacular coloration of their plumage. The naturally occurring macaws consist of the large macaws and the mini macaws. All of these macaws in the wild are endangered birds. There are also hybrid macaws produced in captivity. Hybrid macaws are not endangered birds.


Types of Macaws can be broken into three groups. The first two groups are Large Macaws and Mini Macaws, and these are true Macaw species. The third group is the captive bred Hybrid Macaws. These are Macaws developed by crossing two different Macaw species to create first generation F 1 Macaw Hybrids, or further crossings to develop second generations F 2, or further generations of hybrids. To learn more about each of these groups and to identify particular species or hybrids, look at the large macawsmini macaws, or hybrid macaws articles.

  • Large MacawsThere are 11 living species (and several subspecies) in what are considered the Large Macaw. The Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor, also known as the Hispaniolan Macaw, is not included here as it is considered to now be extinct. 

    • Blue and Gold Macaw

    • Blue-throated Macaw

    • Buffon's Macaw

    • Glaucous Macaw

    • Green-winged Macaw

    • Hyacinth Macaw

    • Lear's Macaw or Blue Macaw

    • Military Macaw

    • Red-fronted Macaw

    • Scarlet Macaw

    • Spix's Macaw

  • Mini-MacawsThere are six small macaw species in what is considered the Mini Macaw group, These are generally macaws who's totally length does not exceed 20" (50 cm).

    • Blue-headed Macaw

    • Illiger's Macaw

    • Severe Macaw

    • Red-bellied Macaw

    • Red-shouldered Macaw (Subspecies include: Hahn's, Noble, Long-winged)

    • Yellow-collared Macaw

  • Hybrid MacawsMacaw hybrids, crosses of different macaws, are produce for their amazing coloring. See the Hybrid Macaw Parrots information, for pictures of the different types of hybrids to aid in identification, and to learn which breeding combination makes up each of these.

There are currently 35+ different types of hybrid macaws. Following is the approximate number of hybrids we are currently aware of in each generation of crosses:

  • First generation F 1 hybrid macaws: 15

  • Second generation F 2 hybrid macaws: 16

  • Third generation F 3 (or more) hybrid macaws: 5

References :


  • Animal-World References: Pet Birds - Exotic Birds

  • Joseph M. Forshaw, Parrots of the World, Hancock House Pub Ltd. 2000

  • J. Abramson, B.L. Speer, J.B. Thompson, The Large Macaws: Their Care, Breeding, and Conservation, Raintree Publications, 1996

  • Dr. David Alderton, The Atlas of Parrots of the World, T.F.H. Publications, Inc. 1991.

  • David Alderton,, A Bird Keeper's Guide to Parrots and Macaws, Salamander Books, 1989

  • Roger G. Sweeney,  Macaws a Complete Owners Manual, Barron's, 1992

  • Arthur Freud, All About The Parrots, Howell Book House, 1986

  • BirdLife International, A global Partnership of conservation organizations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.

  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™

  • Horst Schmidt,  Macaws as a Hobby, T.F.H Publications, Inc.

  • Werner Lantermann,  Encyclopedia of Macaws, T.F.H Publications, Inc.

Mozart The Talking Macaw Parrot

Best talking Macaw ever!!!

Facts About Macaws :


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.


There are 17 living species (and several subspecies) of macaws along with quite a few macaw hybrids. For a number of years the Macaw family were divided into just four genera, but today they are broken into six. These genera are Ara, Diopsittaca, Anodorhynchus, Cyanopsitta, Orthopsittaca, and Primolius.


All macaws have the same physical characteristics. They have a slender body, long wings, and a long tapered tail. All types of macaws have an oversized head and beak. The beak is adapted to eating large nuts in the wild, such as the various palm nuts.

How to Take Care of a Macaw | Pet Bird

Macaw Care :


Facts About Macaws, Bird Care for Macaw Parrots


courtesy to : www.animal - 

Macaws make great pet birds, easily adapt to their environment and then are ready to play!


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.


The large macaws tend to have the most exotic feather coloring. Mini macaws are primarily a bright green with a few color accents on their shoulders or tails. A number of macaws have been cross bred, producing quite a variety of hybrid macaws. The hybrid macaws have brilliant variations on the normal coloration of their parentage.


Macaws make excellent pets but are very loud. They are not the greatest talkers, but they love socialization. Social interaction is the key, a pet macaw may soon begin to mimic the sounds of their keeper's voice as well as many other sounds in its environment. Macaws are highly intelligent as well as both active and interactive, making them very outgoing and quick to pick up on tricks. A joyful lifetime companion for the right keepers!

The largest Macaw, and also the largest of all parrots, is the impressive Hyacinth Macaw at 36" in length with a wingspan of up to 42", and weighing up to 1550 grams. The smallest of the macaws is the Hahn's Macaw, reaching not quite 12" (30 cm) in length.


Types of Macaws
The natural Macaw species are commonly broken into two groups, the Large Macaws and the Mini Macaws. Mini Macaws are those that only reach up to about 20 inches (50 cm) in total length. There are 8 living species (Including subspecies) of Mini Macaws and 11 living species (plus several subspecies) of Large Macaws. Large macaws are brilliantly colored while the smaller macaws tend to be predominantly green.

Brilliant variations of the normal colors is achieved through hybridization or cross-breeding rather than the mutation of a species. Hybrid Macaws have been produced In captivity, and this was often the result of accident where two species of macaw were kept in the same environment. They would become close companions, bond and then produced offspring. Due to the current interest and popularity of these birds, hybridization for the pet trade has resulted.

Hybrid macaws are often very beautiful birds with distinct coloration. Some varieties of hybrid macaw are now second or third generation birds, or even more. However, hybrid macaws are still macaws. They will require the same level of care and dedication from their keepers as the pure macaw species. The coloration of these birds can often be attributed to one parent or the other, but their temperament and behavior are uncertain. For this reason, you will want to learn all you can about each of the parent's characteristic. Make sure you are comfortable with keeping and handling all of the parent types before obtaining a baby.

See all types of Macaws in the Macaw Family


Macaw Lifespan
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!


Macaw BehaviorIn the wild macaws form a strong bond with another bird and the pair will join small flocks. They also tend to only vocalize within flock situations. In captivity most pet macaws are more likely to interact with their owners through physical contact, and often use vocal mimicry for attention.


Macaws make excellent pets. They have very nice temperaments and are very playful. A hand reared macaw is usually gentle and easily handled. There are a few things to be aware of (and to do) in order to have a wonderful and affectionate pet macaw:


Socializing A Macaw
A well socialized macaw is a pet that will be enjoyed in lots of situations and by many people for years. A young macaw should be socialized with as many people as possible. They also should be exposed to lots of situations such as new cages, visits to a veterinarian, handling by friends, and having their wings and nails clipped.
Socializing a macaw and providing it lots of experiences are the keys to a great pet. Doing these things will develop a well rounded bird that doesn't become frightened of new things. It will also prevent too strong a bond with only one person developing.




Methods of identification being used for Macaws today:


  • Macaw identification helps to deter bird thefts

  • it is also used by breeders for record keeping

  • Banding: This is becoming a routine practice on captive-bred parrots.Closed bands are put on young chicks and open bands on older birds. Bancs are used for identification of bloodlines, sex, former owners,previous mates, and date of birth.Males are often (though not always) banded on the right legand female on the left.

  • Microchip Implants:This is a tiny electronic chip in a glass case.It is inserted, through a needle into a muscle or under the skin. The chip is coded with a unique identification number,You can then register the chip with a a national registry system.It takes an electronic reader or scanner to read the chip.

  • Tattoos:Though they can be useful, tatoos do become illegible over time.

  • Spray Marking: A harmless colored spray that lasts for a short period of time.

  • Tail Feather Clipping:Used for short term identificationThis is done by clipping one or two central tail feathers.

  • Footprints: This may have some useful applications.

Macaw Behavior :


In the wild macaws form a strong bond with another bird and the pair will join small flocks. They also tend to only vocalize within flock situations. In captivity most pet macaws are more likely to interact with their owners through physical contact, and often use vocal mimicry for attention.


Macaws make excellent pets. They have very nice temperaments and are very playful. A hand reared macaw is usually gentle and easily handled. There are a few things to be aware of (and to do) in order to have a wonderful and affectionate pet macaw:


 - Socializing A Macaw
A well socialized macaw is a pet that will be enjoyed in lots of situations and by many people for years. A young macaw should be socialized with as many people as possible. They also should be exposed to lots of situations such as new cages, visits to a veterinarian, handling by friends, and having their wings and nails clipped.
Socializing a macaw and providing it lots of experiences are the keys to a great pet. Doing these things will develop a well rounded bird that doesn't become frightened of new things. It will also prevent too strong a bond with only one person developing.



 - Macaws and Children
Macaws and children can mix very successfully if the child learns how to interact with the parrot. Children and macaws should be supervised.


-Macaws and PetsMacaws and other pets can also get used to each other and learn to accept each other. Again, however, be very careful to monitor all groupings of animals. A macaw can be very dangerous to small pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, and even small birds. Close friendships are just as possible as deadly enemy behaviors. You won't know until the relationship unfolds over time

Macaw Training:


Macaws are excellent for taming, and relatively easy to train. They are very intelligent, and though fair to poor talkers, they can be taught many tricks. This ability to learn and perform tricks makes them a favorite bird for use in shows all over the world.


Taming and training your parrot depends first on trust, so go slowly and be consistent. Remember that taming and training a bird takes patience, never 'punish' your parrot! This only serves to destroy the trust you've spent so much time building.

Taming Basics :

Generally, as with any parrot, you should give a new arrival a few days to get used to you, your voice and it's cage before trying to handle it. A handfed baby will not need much taming and can often be handled right away, as it is use to human attention.


Caution: A word of caution in handling these birds, a handfed macaw and even captive raised macaws have no natural fear of humans. A bite from a macaw can be extremely painful and the large birds can easily remove a finger or two.


Restraining a macaw: Restraining a macaw should only be done when it is necessary for treatment or to clip wings and feathers. If the bird is not tame and you need to handle it, it is best to initially use gloves.
It is easiest to restrain a macaw by covering it with a towel or net. Place a hand around the back of the head with the thumb and forefinger on each side of the lower beak. Use the other hand to support the lower body by holding the legs and wings together. 


Initial Macaw Training
Taming proceeds in steps. Your first goal is to get the parrot to accept a treat from you. This will lead to it allowing you to gently scratching its chest. 
Next is hand taming, where your macaw will climb on your hand and allow you to carry it around. You can accomplish this by offering it treats from outside the cage until it is comfortable with your hand. As your macaw becomes comfortable with taking treats from your hand, you then open the cage door and repeat the same process but now you are reaching into it's cage with the treat. Once you've earned it's trust, your macaw will begin climbing on your hand and allowing you to pet him.
Depending on the tameness of the bird, these two steps can be instantaneous as in a handfed baby or take several weeks or longer for an untamed bird.

 -  Advanced Training:

Once your Macaw has gotten over its shyness, then you can work on speech and trick training. Although a macaw is not as good a talker as the African Grey or even the Amazon Parrots, they often will respond because of their desire for attention and affection. Repetition and frequency are the keys here. They can be trained to do tricks from riding bikes to doing balancing acts.


 - Macaw behaviors  Importance of Adolescence Training :


As macaws grow into and through adolescence they become more boisterous, mischievous, and difficult to handle. They must be handled with confidence during this time to keep their respect. Never allow bad behavior to develop. Otherwise they can become untrustworthy as a pet. This is often non-reversible and they will then need to be reserved for breeding rather than as a pet.


Pet Macaw Activities:


Exercise and play are important activities for the physical well being and psychological health of your parrot. These activities help deter distress and prevent the problems of screeching and feather picking.


Although they are quite affectionate and cuddly, macaws are also very boisterous and need a large area to exercise. Outdoors is ideal as most indoor spaces are too small. Great climbers, they will explore all over their enclosure, sometimes hanging by their toes from the top.


Macaws are vigorous chewers and will chew on anything within reach. They can be quite destructive to household items and woodwork, so if you keep them on a playpen make sure nothing valuable is within reach. Provide lots of fresh non-toxic tree branches for them to chew up. Also make sure to give your macaw lots of toys and activities in the form of large link chains, bird ladders, parrot swings, ropes, wood toys for gnawing and chewing, and rotate new bird toys on a regular basis.










A Macaw diet consisting of a good parrot mix which includes formulated foods, a variety of seeds, dried fruits, and nuts is generally regarded as a suitable base to provide nutrition and variety. Along with this, provide a daily supplement of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Macaw Care/Feeding :


Proper bird care for Macaws involves more than just the Macaw diet. The lists below cover Macaw foods and supplements as well as details about feather maintenance with bathing and grooming.


Macaws are a very high energy bird and for good health they will need plenty of good foods rich in oils and calories. In the wild the larger Macaws eat a variety of palm nuts while the smaller Macaws eat seeds, nuts and fruit. Each macaw, depending on its size, will eat about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of parrot mix and about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of fruit and vegetables.


Bird Food
Foods available for Macaws include formulated diets, either pelleted or extruded, seed only diets, and parrot mixes which offer a mixture of both. There are pros and cons to feeding only a formulated diet as well as feeding only a seed diet.

  • Formulated DietA formulated diet provides a good nutritional base so does not require the addition of vitamins, however it does not contain the phytonutrients (antioxidant pigments) that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds. Phytonutrients are believed to boost the immune system, help a body to heal itself, and to prevent some diseases.Also, parrots can become bored with it due to the lack of variety.

  • Seed DietA seed only diet offers much more variety but requires additional vitamin and calcium supplements. Macaws need not only nutritional requirements met but also variety for psychological enrichment.

Macaws (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)

Paperback – 2005


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Supplements :


  • Fruits and vegetablesSupplemental foods include all types of fruits such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangos, papayas, and even berries such as strawberries and blueberries are enjoyed. Many vegetables including carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, dark green leafy veggies, many garden vegetables, and even dandelions and chickweed are good. Do not feed avocado as it may be toxic to birds!

  • TreatsOffer nuts for treats, such as macadamias, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and filberts.

  • ProteinsAdditional proteins can be offered such as sprouted legumes and cooked chicken or meat.

  • GritGrit is not considered essential as macaws will shell their seed before eating it.

Give your macaw fresh drinking water every day. 


Bird Baths
The personal hygiene of your Macaw includes a regular bath or shower for good plumage and skin condition. One way to accomplish this is with either a hand held shower sprayer or a hose with a fine spray head and lukewarm water

- Housing Maintenance :

The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Weekly wash all the perches and dirty toys. The floor should be wased about every other week. A total hosing down and disinfecting of an aviary should be done yearly. Replace anything that needs to be freshened such as old dishes, toys, and perches.

Bird Grooming :


  • WingsThe wings should be kept trim if you want to discourage flight and to prevent the loss of your pet through an open window or door. Clip most of the primaries (10 feathers closest to the wing tip) and only enough so the bird can glide to the floor.

  • BeakThe beak needs to be trimmed if it becomes overgrown or deformed. There are many mineral blocks, lava blocks, and other beak grooming items available at your pet store to help your bird keep its beak in shape.

  • NailsA variety of concrete type perches are also available to help the keep nails trim, but they should be trimmed if they become overgrown

Complete selection of Bird Supplies, get Macaw food, bird cages, bird toys, and everything you need for your pet,


Macaw Habitat :


-  Bird Cages:

A Macaw cage must accommodate a very large parrot. Provide the largest bird cage possible. A macaw must be able to fully extend its wings without touching the sides of the cage. The largest macaw, the Hyacinth Macaw, has a wing span of 3 - 3 1/2 feet. Macaws must also be able to move freely between two perches or muscular dystrophy can occur which will render it unable to fly.


Another very important consideration is that macaw cages be very durable. These birds are very strong chewers. Macaws are also very good at opening cage doors, so be sure the cage has locks or escape-proof latches.


- Bird Perch :

Provide perches that are fresh fruit tree branches, they are great as your bird will love to chew on them, of course they will have to be replaced regularly. The branches need to have some areas that are about 3/4" in diameter, and even bigger diameter areas for larger macaws.

- Bird Food, treat, and Water Dishes :

It works best to have the dishes hanging from the side for feed and water. Try to place the perches away from dishes so the food and water dish do not become soiled with bird droppings. Do not use plastic because your bird will chew and break the plastic and it can become hazardous. 


- Macaw Playpen :

A playpen is ideal for playtime outside of the cage. It is a basically a large, free-standing perch with food and water bowls, and places to hang toys from. Commercially made Macaw playpens usually have a tray under them as well, to catch anything dropped to the floor.


- Macaw Bird Toys:

Playthings can be such things as climbing ropes, chains, bells, parrot swings and wooden or other bird toys. Destructable toys are good because they are "interactive" so help relieve boredom, yet non-destructable toys will last longer. Macaw toys can be expensive.


- Where to Place a Macaw Cage:

Because macaws are very loud, the amount of noise and the closeness of neighbors should be considered when determining where to keep you bird. Macaws are very social and inquisitive, so the room you house your pet in can be a room that gets visited frequently by the family. Place the cage at eye level in a quiet sunny area away from drafts.

- Aviary:

Outdoor Aviaries: 

An outdoor or breeding aviary needs to have a protected shelter that can be heated and cooled where necessary, be well lit and ventilated, and have an attached flight cage. The flight should be long with a hardwood perch at each end. A climbing branch and a bird bath are nice additions too. Macaws are quite strong chewers, so the aviary needs to be of sturdy construction. Framework is generally constructed of brick or metal.

Indoor Bird Rooms: 

A room dedicated to house a Macaw is not necessary, but can be nice. It is especially nice if you have two or more large parrots that are compatible. It needs to have perches for standing and climbing, places for toys, and mounted food, water and treat dishes. Make sure the room is "bird proof". Macaws will chew on anything they can get their beaks around. If there is molding, trim, or window sills, they will all get destroyed. Carefully scrutinize the room to make sure anything the Macaw can chew on is safe, like no electrical cords, painted surfaces need to be lead free, and make sure any trees or plants are not toxic.

Macaws - Endangered Birds


  • All Macaws are endangered, some threatened with extinction

  • Successful breeding is helping to preserve Macaw species

  • Captive breeding is reducing the number of wild caught birds

  • Macaws in Captivity:All Macaws are bred in captivity in the United States,with the exception of the Lear's Macaw and the Spix's Macaw.

  • All Macaw Species are Listed on CITES:Most captive bred macaw species are either:- Listed on appendix I of CITES as threatened with extinction.- Listed on appendix II of CITES as potentially threatened with extinction.Lear's Macaw and Spix's Macaws are- Listed as critically endangered with extinction.

  • Regulation for Macaw Breeders:There are no breeding regulations in the United States or Canada.or in the United Kingdom. Other countries might have restrictions.**You should consult with the authorities in your countrybefore undertaking breeding.










Macaw Breeding :


It was not until the early 20th century that reports of macaws breeding in captivity were released. Even still, very few birds were successfully bred at that time. This is probably because they are hard to sex and because most imported birds were kept individually as pets.


Today the number of macaws being bred in captivity is radically changing. This is due to a decrease in imports and because of the increase in demand for these wonderful birds. Today most of the birds sold as pets are captive bred. Several Macaw species are readily available in the pet industry as handfed babies, and more are becoming increasingly available.


Sexing Macaws :


All macaws are sexually monomorphic. This means the sex of macaws cannot be reliably determined by physical characteristics, though the males are usually larger with larger heads. 
Their sex must be determined by either a surgical probe called endoscopy, which can be done by many veterinarians; by DNA testing, usually a blood sample or a few plucked feathers sent to be diagnosed in a lab; or a chromosonal analysis.


Pairing Macaws :


Macaws breed readily but the sexes must be confirmed and the pair must be harmonious, bonded with each other.
It is best to let them macaws select their own mates. This is best done done in the winter a couple of months before breeding season.
The ideal breeding ages are 4 - 8 years, with a maximum breeding age of 30 - 35 years for the largest macaws.


Breeding Environment :


Macaw breeders will need a nest box. The macaws nestbox needs to be about three times the macaws body length in height and one body length in width and depth. The hole needs to be just large enough for an adult to enter.


There needs to be some blocks secured inside the box for the birds to climb out and also several blocks of wood on the inside walls for chewing. Provide 4" - 8" of wood shavings in the bottom of the nest box. Mount the next box high up in a corner facing outwards, a place that provides seclusion and safety.


Egg Laying and HatchlingsMost macaw species lay clutches of 2 - 3 eggs. The larger macaws will lay an egg every other day and the smaller macaws will lay every third day. The incubation period is 26-28 days. Once the hatchlings are born the parents will need a ready supply of food and especially like corn on the cob, fresh fruits, milk soaked bread and cuttlebones. The weaning ranges from 10 weeks to 8 months, depending on the species. It takes 16 or more weeks for the young to fledge.


Hand feeding baby Macaws is not recommended for a novice. They are difficult, and a more problematic bird to hand-feed from an early age. They are also somewhat more difficult to wean.





NATURE "The Real Macaw" | This Bird's Got Talent | PBS

Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve

Macaws are particularly susceptible to the following diseases / health problems:


  • Proventricular Dilation Disease (Macaw wasting disease)

  • Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, PBFD, Beak and Feather

  • Psittacosis (chlamydiosis or parrot fever)

  • Respiratory Signs, Chronic Depression, WeightlossAspergillosis (fungal disease), bacterial infections / pneumonia, nutritional deficiencies (Hypovitaminosis A), Psittacosis / Parrot Fever, and inhaled toxins

  • Chronic Sinus Infections: increasing humidity and using air filters may help minimize the problem.

  • Sunken-Eye Syndrome: Caused by sinus infections. The eye sinks into the socket.

  • Herpes Infections: May cause proliferative lesions, but more commonly exemplify itself by depigmentation (loss of color).

  • Feather picking (various behavioral as well as physical reasons can be the cause - boredom, but also heavy metal toxicity, giardia, bacterial / viral diseases)

  • Toxicity - heavy metal poisoning

  • Allergies

  • Coacal Papillomas: Thought to be a viral condition. Contagious to other birds (thought to be sexually transmitted). Affected birds should not be used for breeding.

  • Kidney disease (gout) - May be caused by excessive supplementation of Vitamin A.

  • Lipomas (tumors) in older birds

  • Macaw "Acne": Small swellings on face caused by small, ingrown feathers on face and eyelids, simple surgery to release trapped feathers; antibiotic injections, cortico-steroids needed if bird rubs and scratches affected sites. (Ref: Jeannine Miesle, MA, Allied Member, Association of Avian Veterinarians)

  • Beak malformations in chicks (improper feeding technique?)

  • Annular Toe Lesions: Seen in chicks, may result in loss of toes.

Miscellaneous Infections: Bacterial, viral or fungal

If you notice any sign of illness, it is important to provide supportive care until a pet can be taken to a veterinarian for assessment and treatment.

Please refer below for recommended tests.


Basic Breeding Requirements :


courtesy to : 


Breeding Stock :


It is imperative that the would be breeder find the best possible birds for his breeding facility. The selections does not include the unsuccessful discards of other breeding facilities salvaged, poor quality birds or drastically reduced birds (which usually means problems). What it does mean is finding the best quality, healthy birds of the species you are interested in breeding.


Searching for these birds will take some time and diligent effort as all birds are not created equal. If at all possible, go and see the birds you are interested in buying. Especially if the person selling them is someone unfamiliar to you. Unfortunately this is not always possible. If you are unable to go to the birds, ask for references and contact those people to determine if these are the type of people that might be good to do business with.


Common Terminology :


Don't be in a rush. More mistakes are made by people that are anxious that they found the male or female they have been looking for. This is especially true with the "proven pair" syndrome. For newcomers that might not be familiar with all the terms here are some you might encounter. "Proven Pair" means that the pair of birds produced eggs or young at sometime in their life. "Producing pair" implies that the birds have recently produced either eggs or young. "Bonded pair" just means that the birds appear to be compatible with each other (this does not assure that they will necessarily breed or are of the opposite sex). Proven or producing pairs normally cost far more than two separate birds of the opposite sex as it is assumed that these birds will breed faster than, lets say, a bonded pair.


Choosing a Seller :


Ask questions of the seller to determine as much information as to what housing conditions the birds are in, the environment (indoors or outdoors), their diet, and overall feather and health condition. If the seller seems uncomfortable answering your questions before the sale, it is unlikely that they will get any better after you have the bird. For some experienced buyers this might not be so important, however, newcomers might need more information or at least be guided to where they can find answers to their questions. We have answered so many questions from our own clients and others over the years that five years ago I put together "The Macaw Care Guide" for our clients which answers the more common questions. Most owners will write out the diet fed to the bird if asked along with some helpful hints.


Determining Health Status :


Whether you are interested in just a pet bird or a breeder, it is advisable to request some type of health check prior to your receiving the bird. We recommend a complete physical, blood work, cultures from the throat and vent and a chlamydia screen done by an avian veterinarian. In addition, you might wish some of the new viral screens to be done on your bird for PBFD and Papovavirus. This will add a couple of weeks on to your receiving the bird, but might be a worthwhile investment. Each breeder or seller has their own policies regarding how they sell their birds. Some automatically include health testing in the price of the bird. For the buyer this has a great advantage in that an initial screening was done. Should you wish to still have a follow up exam by your own veterinarian when the bird arrives, then the bird has two chances to discover any potential problems.


Not all bird owners are willing to have the bird veterinarian checked for you. In those cases it might be advisable for you to have some type of contract that allows you a specified amount of time for your own avian veterinarian to examine the new bird, with the stipulation that the bird can be returned if the bird has an incurable problem or a major anatomical defect. An example would be if you had purchased a bird for breeding only to discover it had a viral disease, was the wrong sex or perhaps was ancient and likely unbreedable. The time frame for return should be short to protect both the buyer and the seller, commonly 48-72 hours is suitable to most people.


Quarantine :


It is always wise to separate you new bird from any other birds you might have for a period of thirty to forty five days. You should discuss this with your veterinarian prior to getting your bird. Make sure a special area has been set aside for your new bird. Switching homes is stressful for even the most hardy, even tempered of birds. Careful attention should be paid to them during this quarantine period to insure that they are eating and adjusting to their new environment. It is helpful to know if there were any special food that the bird enjoyed at its old home and provide them for them now. Stress from the move might bring latent diseases that might not have shown themselves before. Despite your being anxious to introduce the new bird to a new mate, fight the urge to break this quarantine period.


Housing :


Due to their large size and powerful mandibles, macaws require special housing. The larger the structure the better. For breeding purposes we house each pair of our macaws in an outdoor aviary eight foot wide by twelve foot long by eight feet high. This allows them room to fly and play. A shelter area four foot wide by eight foot high by four foot deep provides shelter from the heat or cold. The nest box and their feed bowls are inside this shelter. Larger flights of twenty or more feet have been used successfully by some breeders. Larger housing also minimizes their interest in destroying their aviary. Small cages where they are bored can lead to their destroying the wire and their possible escape. The concept that if too much space is provided the birds will not breed is false. More room encourages a healthy, well exercised pair and long term breeding success.


In a home situation, macaws are best housed in the largest space available. Their powerful mandible can eventually break all but the most sturdy cage welds. Specially designed cages should ideally be large enough for them to open their wings and have ample room for their tail or head without hitting any cage surface. Their feeding and water trays need to be quite large in order to accommodate their large mandible and head. Bowls that are eight to ten inches in diameter are ideal as the birds can see the variety of food available and access it easily. Because of their immense size, proper housing is sometimes difficult to find.


In addition to commercially available housing, some owners have built beautiful environments for their macaws. They may incorporate enclosing a porch, building a backyard aviary or remodeling a room in their home to properly house the bird. Some have even incorporated waterfalls, rope swings, and wooden jungle gyms as play items. This type of environment is not only more stimulating and healthy for the bird, but more enjoyable for their owners. Watching them swinging from a cotton rope, bathing in a small pool under a waterfall, or climbing all over a wooden structure is much more enjoyable then seeing them in a small cage.


Diet :


Throughout the birds growing process and prior to breeding the bird should have a well balanced diet. An ideal diet would include, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables and possibly some form of pellet diet as a supplement. They must be on a good diet long before you see the first egg to insure optimal fertility. Extra calcium is often needed in the hen's diet and a good natural source for calcium is almonds. Nuts are readily eaten by macaws.

Breeding :


The decision to breed any animal should be made with great care. Breeding requires a great deal of commitment, time and expense. Blue and Golds, Scarlets, Militarys and Greenwings would likely produce young faster and more reliably than Buffon's or Hyacinth Macaws. I would suggest that a beginner start with some of the easier species first to determine whether this is really what they want to do. Many macaws are produced that are not good breeding potential. You want to find healthy, full sized birds that have been raised by long time breeders that will stand behind their birds.


Our most consistent breeding success from macaws has come from captive bred stock. Some of these birds we raise ourselves and some were raise by other aviculturists. When we were initially putting together our breeding stock in the mid 1970's there was only wild caught stock available. Thankfully, by the early eighties, some breeding success had been achieved in the United States and we were able to acquire some captive bred stock. Many of the older wild caught pairs took far longer (as much as four years longer) to breed as did the captive bred birds. The captive bred birds were also much calmer and more adaptable to new situations. In the long run it may be better for aviculturists to acquire young captive bred macaws and wait the three to four years necessary for them to breed. The initial cost is less and the long term breeding may be more advantageous.




Buyers should look for captive bred closed banded birds as these will undoubtedly be the cornerstone for future and long term captive breeding programs. As previously mentioned, these captive bred birds are the best way to acquire pet or breeding stock. Potential buyers should be warned that low prices are rarely a bargain and high prices do not necessarily insure a healthy bird. Ask for references and contact them. Require a successful health check as part of the purchase of the bird. If at all possible, see the bird before you purchase it. And lastly, buy from people that you can trust. If they are unwilling to help you before you get the bird, it is unlikely that they will help you after you have it. It is a big investment, take your time in finding the right bird.





Another important article for the Macaws breeding :

Macaw Health :


Common Macaw Diseases :


courtesy to : 




Macaw´s Breeding season 2013 Part. #3

Macaw´s Breeding season 2013 Part. #2

Macaw´s Breeding season 2013 Part. #1

Visible signs of illness to be aware of are:


  • Weight loss / lack of appetite

  • Partially closed or watery eyes, closed eyes or swelling of the eyelids

  • Respiratory symptoms, such as rasping noises, difficulty breathing

  • Ruffled plumage (feeling unwell, cold)

  • Drooping wings, sagging body, falling off perches (weakness)

  • Bulges in feathering (tumors?)

  • Excessive saliva (toxicity?)

  • Dirty vent (indicative of diarrhea)

  • Any change in the feces not apparently diet related

  • Behavioral: Listlessness or extreme mood changes

Young Macaws:


Adult Macaws:

Macaw Health Care :


A macaw that is well cared for will seldom become ill. But there are some diseases they can contract and there are some environmental things that can cause illness. There are also behavioral problems that they can develop. Though it is often difficult to determine illness, some visible signs of illness to be aware. Here is a list of things to be problems to be aware of, a list of signs that indicate a sick macaw, and what to do if your macaw becomes sick of has behavior problems.


Some of the more common illnesses seen in Macaws:


  • Proventricular Dilation disease (Macaw wasting disease)

  • Psittacosis (chlamydiosis or parrot fever)

  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections

  • Feather picking - results of boredom, poor diet, sexual frustration, and lack of bathing

  • Allergies

  • Chewing flight and tail feathers by juveniles

  • Beak malformations in chicks

  • Papillomas

  • Kidney disease (gout)

  • Toxicity - heavy metal poisoning

  • Lipomas in older birds

Visible signs of a sick Macaw :


  • Ruffled plumage

  • Listlessness

  • Drooping wings

  • Sagging body

  • Extreme mood changes

  • Having no appetite

  • Bulges in feathering

  • Partially closed or watery eyes

  • Swelling of the eyelids

  • Rasping

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Excessive saliva

  • Dirty vent

  • Any change in the feces not apparently diet related

What to do if you have a sick Macaw:


  • If you see any signs that make you think you have a sick macaw, Immediately place it in a warm, draft free, secure environment.

  • Keep it at about 86°F (30°C).

  • Place food and water close to the perch where it is easily accessible.

  • An ailing parrot should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

  • Behavour problems usually stem from something missing in the bird's environment. Boredom, lack of trust, lack of interaction with other birds or people can lead to problems like biting, feather plucking, and screaming. Try to develop a bond of trust and spend time with your bird to help avoid these problems. We have also had good success with Chet Womach's Parrot Training Course. He offers free 3-day introductory course so you can try it out before you buy anything.

Macaw Behavior Problems :


  • Behavour problems usually stem from something missing in the bird's environment.

  • Boredom, lack of trust, lack of interaction with other birds or people can lead to problems like biting, feather plucking, and screaming.

  • Try to develop a bond of trust and spend time with your bird to help avoid these problems.

We have also had good success with Chet Womach's Parrot Training Course. He offers free 3-day introductory course so you can try it out before you buy anything.




  • Animal-World References: Pet Birds - Exotic Birds

  • Joseph M. Forshaw, Parrots of the World, Hancock House Pub Ltd. 2000

  • J. Abramson, B.L. Speer, J.B. Thompson, The Large Macaws: Their Care, Breeding, and Conservation, Raintree Publications, 1996

  • Dr. David Alderton, The Atlas of Parrots of the World, T.F.H. Publications, Inc. 1991.

  • David Alderton,, A Bird Keeper's Guide to Parrots and Macaws, Salamander Books, 1989

  • Roger G. Sweeney,  Macaws a Complete Owners Manual, Barron's, 1992

  • Arthur Freud, All About The Parrots, Howell Book House, 1986

  • BirdLife International, A global Partnership of conservation organizations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.

  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™

  • Horst Schmidt,  Macaws as a Hobby, T.F.H Publications, Inc.

  • Werner Lantermann,  Encyclopedia of Macaws, T.F.H Publications, Inc.

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