Macaws, known as the giants of the parrots, are extravagant with beautiful colors, intelligent and charismatic. They belong to the Parrots family and their scientific name is Psittacidae. Their large body and long, brightly colored tail make the Macaw Parrot one of the most spectacular birds in the world. Their origin and nature belong to the rainforests of all America, from the north to the south. They are best known in southern and central American countries. Despite their striking appearance, these birds are also attractive because of their intelligence, they can be domesticated, and learn to do many things.
CHARACTERISTICS & MACAW SPECIES
This exotic bird is known for being a large parrot, its body and tail can measure from 11.8 to 40 inches, and can weigh from 4.5 ounces to 3.75 pounds. It has a life expectancy of about 60 years. Because of the bird’s size, its beak is also large and strong, has a curved shape like a hook, designed to crack open hard-shelled nuts and seeds, its tongue is rough and dry, and muscular which helps them eat fruit as well. Their plumage is varied in color, their head according to the species varies in color but mostly they have a white base on their face, and the rest of their body and tail feathers vary in colors such as green, red, white, blue, yellow, purple and brown, these colors help them in their natural environment to blend in with the trees and flowers around them. Its legs are of regular size, and it has 2 toes forward and 2 toes backward, which helps it to manipulate tools better and give it more stability.
Macaw parrots are very vocal, tend to shout, make sounds to communicate with their groups, mark territory, or identify themselves. Due to their intelligence and ability to socialize some species can imitate the voices of humans and learn many words, as well as imitate many sounds that are outside or inside the house. This is a fact that you should take into consideration if you choose to keep them as pets since they are very noisy and can get tired and at the same time can make your neighbors uncomfortable.
This pet bird has 18 living species of macaws and one could say that they can be divided into large Macaws and small/mini Macaw. Although there is a great variety of this type of parrots, not all of them are meant to be kept as pet birds, the most known ones to be kept at home are:
- Blue and Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna)
- Green Winged Macaw (Ara chloropterus)
- Hahn’s Macaw (Diopsittaca Nobilis Nobilis)
- Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)
- Military Macaw (Ara militaris)
- Severe Macaw (Ara Severus)
There is also a group of this species called Blue Macaws, which includes Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), Lear’s Macaw, and Spix’s Macaw, and these last two are critically endangered.
CARE & FEEDING
If you decide to have a Macaw bird as a pet, you have to be aware of the care this bird takes since its size is something you have to take into consideration and also that it is advisable to have a partner. Its bird cage should be big enough and high enough so that its long tail feathers do not touch the bottom and thus prevent any feather from bending or hurting and it can stretch its wings completely, and it can have a separate space where it can easily move around for playing, take an aviary as a good example to give it the space it needs. You should always keep the cage safe, durable, and not made of toxic materials that could endanger his health, and the bars should be strong because this bird has a lot of strength and can withstand bites. Cleanliness is something that should be fundamental to the care of the Macaw cage, so you can prevent the accumulation of bacteria and prevent disease, you can also disinfect the cage with a good product and that is not toxic.
You should make sure that he stays entertained and you can put toys that are suitable for birds, ropes with knots, hangers, or wooden sticks of various sizes and textures, some large stones that can help him to keep his toenails in good shape. Just try to keep the perches away from food and water dishes to avoid contamination or dirt. You should always keep them in their cages with access to natural light and as any bird likes to fly, so take them out of their cage daily and let them fly indoors, in a safe environment so that they can get some exercise and at least have them out of their cage for 3 hours to burn off the excess calories.
Macaws by their instinct are birds that like to fly, to have their space, to spend their energies that way, so think about this before you have them as a pet and keep them in a cage.
Its diet is based mainly on seeds, fruits, flowers, leaves, palm nuts, figs, nectar, small insects, worms, among others. You must take into account that some of these foods are high in fat and if your pet Macaw lives indoors and does not exercise, it is not good for its health, so you must provide a balanced diet for the lifestyle it has. You should always leave him clean and freshwater within his reach, and you should change it every day. Also, your bird needs minerals and calcium so you should make sure it has a calcium stone to peck or you could also put them oyster shells mix, red stone, charcoal, and fine gravel.
Macaws are monogamous birds, meaning they spend the rest of their lives with the same partner. They reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age, which will allow them to reproduce and form a family. Their partner is not only to breed with but also to share food, clean each other, and share their time together. When it is the breeding season, the mother is in charge of protecting and incubating the eggs and the father is in charge of hunting and bringing food to the nest and also once the chicks are born, he is in charge of feeding them.
Unfortunately, most Macaw species are in the process of becoming endangered birds or extinct, due to the destruction of their natural habitat or the illegal pet trade, and if this continues, they could disappear completely in the next few years.
Normally Macaws can be obtained in avian-specialty stores or by bird breeders, but make sure that it is a reputable breeder and that it has all its legal documentation up to date. It is also possible that some may be in adoption from avian rescue organizations.
One of the cases that macaws are prone to present is the destructive attitude to their plumage that is known to as “feather plucking” if a check is made and the veterinarian discards a physical cause, this may be caused by the stress that the bird must have because of boredom or the lifestyle it has, due to the lack of mental stimulation. This can be avoided if you give them a good lifestyle that allows them to exercise, move around or climb nets, or simply enjoy playing and enjoying their toys.
Macaws can develop diseases such as salmonellosis, mycoplasmosis, and even tuberculosis. They are also susceptible to developing proventricular dilatation disease, a condition that affects the digestive tract and prevents it from doing its job and does not allow food to pass through the tract, drowsiness, weight loss, and fatigue, if you see that your parrot is presenting any of these effects, take him immediately to your vet as it can be very dangerous and can cause death. Other diseases that Macaws can have are psittacine beak disease, beak malocclusion, or parasitic diseases such as aspergillosis or giardiasis.
I hope that all this information helps you to know about the Macaws, if you would like to have it as a pet or not, it is a great responsibility and more in the world situation in which they are. If you want to have a new member in your family, you must take into account it’s a large bird that is part of the parrot species, give it its true space and dedicate time to it to keep it from being a noisy, unmanageable pet, besides they are birds that live for a long time and you must give them a good lifestyle. Of course, you will spend a good time with him, they are intelligent and sociable, will repeat many sounds and learns many tricks so you will not be bored. If you have any questions or if you think I’ve missed anything please let me know on the comment section down below.