A bird owner's guide to macaw parrots

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The macaw is a type of parrot native to the Americas. Famous for their vibrant plumage, these animals are considered to be among the world's most beautiful birds. The scarlet macaw, blue and gold macaw and hyacinth macaw are particularly prized.

Origins and Natural Habitat

In the wild, macaws prefer forests or savannas. They are native to southern North America and northern South America, including Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Appearance and Characteristics

Size: The macaw is a large bird; the scarlet macaw is known to reach lengths of up to 36 inches and weights of up to 2½ pounds.

Plumage: Colors range considerably from macaw variant to macaw variant; the feathers can be mainly of a solid color, usually blue or scarlet, or the crest can be a different color than the rest of the body. An orange or gold crest with purple or blue wings is a common configuration. Their faces are often flecked with white patches, and the feathers of their tails and lower wings often display color variations compared to the predominant hue of the body plumage.

Song/Chirp: In their natural habitats, macaw parrots use screams and squawks to communicate and identify one another. Captive pet macaws retain this vocabulary, and some species can also be trained to mimic the human voice.


Intelligent and social, every variant of this parrot, from the mini macaw to the blue and gold macaw, is a flock bird by nature. They enjoy the company of other macaw birds as well as humans. Being intelligent, they also need plenty of attention and a good selection of bird toys to amuse themselves.

Health and Care

Feeding: You must replicate the type of diet these birds would eat in the wild to give your pet optimal health. Fruits and seeds comprise a large portion of their diet, especially hard seeds that deliver high levels of protein. Choose a high-quality bird feed and dietary supplements with the input of pet store staff or an avian veterinarian.

Grooming: As with most birds, the grooming needs of the macaw are limited. Provide your bird with clean water to bathe in, and trim its nails when they get too long. Macaw parrots also need their beaks culled when they get too long, a task which should be performed by a professional since vital blood vessels lurk nearby. You can help keep their beaks in shape by providing wooden toys, which will naturally keep beak growth in check.

Health Concerns: Young birds can suffer from fungal, bacterial and yeast infections. Ward off potential sinus problems by moderating humidity levels in your home, and keep in mind that excessive amounts of Vitamin A can lead to liver problems or failure. Breeding macaws should be thoroughly inspected by a vet for any diseases before mating begins; sick birds should not be used for breeding.

Life Expectancy: These birds live an average of about 50 years, though some have been known to survive to be as old as 80.

Finding Macaws for Sale

You'll find that most mature macaws for sale cost quite a bit of money. These exotic birds, given their large size, are also relatively expensive to maintain, requiring large cages, a high volume of food and specialized toys to play with. Expect to pay anywhere from about $500 to $900 for a healthy macaw pet, though prices may vary according to the age of the bird, its plumage, its intelligence and its pedigree.

Posted by YiYi on October 12,2015 at 06:34 PM
Thanks for posting about mixed flokcs. I actually was the one who asked the question earlier. I have a Senegal, Quaker, English Budgie, Indian Ringneck and a Blue Headed Pionus. You are right about not forcing them the Ringneck does not like to interact with the others at all and the Budgie only likes the Pionus. He constantly preens her. The real pals are the Pionus and the Quaker though. They always manage to get to one another's play tops and share food and hang out. The Pionus will put her head down and approach the Quaker so he can scratch her neck. The Senegal is fairly new, he is just getting used to having a play top. But he seems to like being around the others and is very curious about them. I know I will need to watch them all very carefully. Any more advice from anyone here would be appreciated. Thanks again, Rebecca. [url=]mexlgzepyu[/url] [link=]ucboqrwn[/link]
Posted by Sufia on October 12,2015 at 12:08 PM
With my two (BG macaw/af.grey) . with time comes respect the two. In the beginning cages were set on different sides of the room. 4 years later they are on the same wall.My african grey won't hesitate to waddle down get back up on the Macaw's cage and eat his food. and my mac puts up with it. On the other hand if my mac gets on the greys cage? i see fluffed feathers and agitation from the grey.They both do that depending on their moods. but i can safely say my grey is the alpha in this house. And my mac is the more tolerant of the two.But they do play off each other now, they are siblings. I wouldn't say pals. but they live happily together, chat together. Squawk together. I even see my macaw trying to talk lately. which is new. I have since put my cockatiel (flew in last year) in another room. He doesn't find either of the two bigger ones funny or interesting. he would rather be alone. Both the larger ones seemed to just ignore him. i guess she needs more time I have to respect that.
Posted by Alok on October 10,2015 at 11:23 PM
A parrot can and even sholud have a bite or two of well-cooked meat now and then. A few times per week is fine but be sure it is well cooked, rare meat can make a parrot ill. For a real treat for your new Blue and Gold, offer him a chicken leg bone or any other bone from well-done meat and let him crack it and eat the marrow from it. Marrow is high in fat, so it must be limited to only a couple of times per month, but it is rich in nutrients and parrots love it. Your new large parrot will be able to crack bones himself, but small and medium parrots have to have bones cracked for them. They still love the marrow and it is a great treat in limited quantities.
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Posted by hellinsmacaw on October 21,2014 at 02:20 AM
Affectionate Blue Hyacinth Macaw Parrots for sale Text us at 3129714763 for details regarding this Beautiful male and female parrots for sale. They are 1 year 8 months old and will come with huge cage, parrot play stand, food and water dishes, food, and toys. I just want them to go to a good home experienced with large birds.They are very tame, easy to handle. Good in talks, whistles, mimics people, sounds and now bark like our dogs. Very sweet and entertaining. Have no bad habits, no plucking, biting, or anything.
Posted by Amy Williams on December 28,2010 at 09:09 PM
I live in south Alabama and am interested in purchasing a Hahn's Macaw. I would like to purchase directly from a breeder in the Alabama, Georgia. or North Florida area
Posted by Tiffany on November 07,2010 at 08:59 AM
I have a female macaw who has been laying dud eggs for about a year or so now. There is no male bird in the house. Is it safe for her to keep laying these eggs? And why is she laying them if there is no male around?
Posted by Tadd on September 07,2010 at 03:03 AM
I have a 20 yr old blue and gold Macaw, let me tell ya they can be a hand full. As to answer your ? about throwing up. I know with Rascal he will throw up in a sign that he is wanting to share his food with me. He started this when he became more and more as he aged. It is natural action. But as always all birds are different so if you are that concerned with this action, be on the safe side and take your bird to the vet. Good luck with your bird, They are the best pets to have and the most loving if handled properly.
Posted by wendy on August 12,2010 at 03:46 PM
could a macaw die frome stress being moved in a bin for 4 hours
Posted by sheila on March 20,2010 at 12:39 PM
I need to know is it normal for my yellow collar macaw to throw up a little it happened twice he did continue to eat a red grape i just haven't ever seen him do that before can you help with any answers please let me know if you can help. My # is 802-855-8711 very importain thanxs, sheila
Posted by Jacky O on July 08,2010 at 12:33 PM
Does your macaw bob his head before he throws up? If so, do not worry, it's a natural behaviour. They will immitate feeding young sometimes. It sounds like he's quite young if you've never seen him do this before and don't be surprised if he does it to you-it's a bonding thing (they will feed their mates in the wild). If he's older and you're still concerned take him to an avian vet for a check up to make sure it's not something else.
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Posted by Emily on January 29,2010 at 03:34 PM
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