The Macaw Parrot
The Macaw parrot has approximately 17 species and several of them are on the endangered species list. The Macaw comes in a variety colors on their feathers each will be discussed in more detail later. The approximate size of the Macaw parrots range anywhere from 11.8 inches to 39.5 inches. Macaw parrots are a very social bird and they usually live in flocks anywhere from 10 to 30 birds in each flock. Some of the species can mimic human speaking and or learning words and tricks.
The different types of Macaw parrots include: scarlet macaws, greenwing macaws, blue and gold macaws, yellow collared macaw, severe macaws, red bellied macaws and the shoulder red macaw. Unless otherwise noted by a separate section the same material applies to all macaw parrots.
Sometimes the parrots no matter the species should not be bought by certain people. You should exercise caution when buying a macaw parrot if you tend to live by others in close proximity to yourself such as an apartment or close condos. They all have a tendency to get loud and can become even louder when they are not kept active and socialized with their families. These parrots once properly socialized and played with have a great temperament as any parrot does but all parrots require a lot of attention from their owners even more than a dog requires from them.
If you are considering a Macaw parrot for a pet you might to know that some of them are illegally trapped from the wild for the trade on the birds. You could consider asking for a veterinarian reference from the store or person you are buying as to verify the identity of the bird as being bred by humans versus being captured and sold into the pet stores.
General Care and Maintenance of All parrot Species:
You will have to have a large enough cage that lets them exercise their beaks, claws and wings while you are not home. So keep in mind the largest bird can get up to 35 inches in height and has a wingspan of a few feet. You should have a few perches and ladders in the cages for exercise and several toys for their active minds and beaks. In order to keep your parrot healthy no matter the species you will need beak toys for their beaks as it is necessary for them to exercise their sharp beaks and keep active.
Exercise of Parrots: Each parrot will vary and the same can be said for the different species. The average rule is a bare minimum of two-three hours outside of the cage for exercise of the wings and socialization of the birds to humans. This should be followed to keep both you and your bird happy it will also tend to lessen the destructiveness of some of the species, especially the scarlet macaw.
The diet is generally the same with a few exceptions depending on the species. It consists mainly of fresh fruit, nuts, vegetables and other bird safe treats each day. The fruit can be of just about any type that they will eat. You can supplement their diets with bird seeds and a bird mixed variety; some species even require that you supplement their diet which will be discussed in their individual sections.
The Scarlet Macaw colors come in red, gold and blue on their feathers hence the name Scarlet. They are the birds that most are familiar with as they are the parrots that are seen on pirate shows and movies.
Suitability of the Scarlet Macaw as a pet:
The Scarlett Macaw can make great pets for humans. Prospective pet owners of the Scarlet Macaw need to consider that the birds can live up to 80 years in age. So they will need to plan ahead if they are older or if the bird may outlive them. Some things you need to consider are who will take the parrot in when you die? Who knows about birds and who can properly care for them that they know? Those are the main questions that you have to consider when buying or adopting a Scarlet Macaw.
The Scarlet Macaw will require quite a bit of socialization in the day so they are not suitable for people who will not be home often after working hours. They will require plenty of toys to keep them from getting bored and many owners like the fact that they can learn tricks.
These birds can also tend to be on the noisier side but are extremely affectionate to their owners. Research on the scarlet macaw has shown that they really are only suitable for experienced people who can teach them to socialize properly so they won’t become destructive towards property and other people that visit them. However, they are a great addition if you have had previous birds and or someone who is willing to work with you or teach you about the birds and their habits and needs.
The Blue and Gold Macaw:
The Blue and Gold Macaw can live up to 60 years in age. So they would be ideal for someone who is in their teens to thirties and can live with them for life. If you are older that is okay as long as you planned ahead as was the case for the scarlet macaw too. They also can tend to be quite noisy and would do well in a home that has experienced owners or someone who is dedicated and responsible enough to care for them.
The main difference between the feeding of the blue and gold macaws is that they need to have supplements daily with high quality pellets and a fortified seed blend. You can give them treats but you should avoid the ones that are higher in fat.
The Greenwing Macaw:
The greenwing macaw is one of the largest macaws that you can buy from a breeder. They have a wingspan of almost 50 inches so you will need to have them out of the cage quite a bit or a large enough space to keep an extra-large cage.
Their demeanor is quite different from other parrots due to their size. So much like owning a dog or puppy you will have to set strong and clear limits for your pet if you choose this bird. You will also have to be willing to enforce them until they learn to follow the commands without question. Once the limits are enforced and they are willing to listen without yelling or chasing etc. they can become very sweet natured and an ideal lifelong companion.
The difference in feeding of the greenwing macaw is that they require a top quality feed formulated specifically for the Macaw. You can also feed them people food.
The yellow collared macaw:
This species of the parrot is considered a mini macaw as it only reaches about 15 inches and they typically live to the most to be 50. Their diet consists mainly of high quality extruded pellet, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables daily. You should supplement it with seeds and nuts to keep the bird healthy and happy.
The severe macaw- Life span of this species is about 40 years.
The diet is pretty much the same with a few exceptions to it than other macaws. They enjoy the following foods with limits on how much to avoid being overweight: pasta, beans, seeds, fruit, and nuts as an occasional treat. This species is also prone to getting papillomas, proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), polyomavirus, psittacosis and vitamin-A sensitivity. So their diet will need to be monitored and their weight watched closely for obesity and other issues. Other than that they make great pets after their original socialization and training.
The Red-Shouldered Macaw:
This bird is usually around 20 inches just slightly over the size of a cockatiel. Their diet usually consists of various seeds, fruits, nuts and plant matter, as well as the occasional insect or small reptile.
Side note: This species while not endangered yet is on the watch list or close to it so it may be hard to find one at a pet store or breeder due to this reason.
Raising babies Parrots:
You will have to keep any bird baby or not quarantined 30-60 days from other birds in your home to prevent bird diseases that they may have from spreading to your other birds. You will need to consider the age of the baby chic if it is 6 weeks or older it usually can keep warm enough on its own. If it is under that age you might have to get a thermostat and control the temperature for the bird until it reaches that age. The temperature for a comfortable level of the little chic should be around 70-75 degrees F. The baby should have enough room to move in and away from the heat or coldness to get comfortable. You will also need a good handing feeding formula for your chic and you should look to make sure that it meets with the species that you are raising. You should not rush through the feeding as the food can get stuck in their throats at times so you should plan for a little bit of time for their feedings.