Discovering Macaws - Learn Which Ones Make Good Pet Birds

Fun Facts On Why Macaws Make Popular Pet Birds

A playful bird in the parrot family, macaws are highly entertaining.

Loud, colourful and large, macaws have different personalities, making them a characterful lot and naturally draw attention wherever they are.

Due to their large size, macaws need spacious housing, considerable time and attention. Because macaws are long-lived, adding a macaw to the family needs to be thoroughly thought through.

Before you decide to have one as a pet, here are fun facts about this highly social bird.

they are the largest of all parrots

There are more than 370 types of parrots and Macaws are the largest of them all. Large macaws weight between two and four pounds. They have hollow bones in order to facilitate flight. The Hyacinth Macaw is the largest of the macaws, with body length of nearly three and a half feet long, from its beak to the tip of the tail. Additionally, they boast a wingspan of up to 60 inches, a whopping six feet!

they come in varying sizes

While they are the largest parrots, macaws come in a variety of sizes. A mini macaw, the smallest of macaws, can grow up to about 12 inches! With the exception of the Hyacinth Macaw, all macaws share a prominent attribute: the bare rings of skin around their eyes.

they have long lifespans

When properly taken care of, some macaw species, like the Blue and Gold Macaws can live for an average of 60 years, while many have been recorded to live beyond 80 years! As such, potential owners are strongly cautioned to ensure they are willing to commit a large amount of time to caring for their macaw. It is not uncommon for these birds to outlive owners, so provisions must be made for their eventual care in the event of unfortunate events.

they can crack coconut shells

Hyacinth Macaws have enough strength in their massive beaks to crack coconut shells- despite this, they are known as the ‘gentle giants’ of the macaw world due to their affectionate dispositions when raised as handfed babies. Other macaws also have impressively powerful beaks, making them a force to be reckoned with during bouts of aggression or hormonal behaviour. Therefore, macaws are recommended for those with experience keeping large parrots.

they mate for life

Macaws are like old married couples staying close together and taking care of each other. The females lay two or more eggs yearly. While the mother sits on the eggs, the father goes off to hunt. Baby macaws are born a month later, helpless and unable to fly. Both parents bring food to them until they learn to fly at about three months old.

common illnesses

Macaws can be prone to feather-destructive behaviors. Boredom and lack of mental stimulation can trigger a macaw to pluck its feathers. An enriched environment with plenty of opportunities for play and exercise, such as a climbing nets and ropes, coupled with toys can alleviate destructive behaviors.

Macaws are also more susceptible to proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), psittacosis, beak malocclusion, and aspergillosis. Regular health checkups by an avian veterinarian can help diagnose and treat many disease processes early on.

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