There are over twenty species and sub-species of macaws. As well as having their individual characters, there are significant differences between the species. As they are long-lived and can outlive their keeper, prospective keepers should do some research before making their choice.
Some macaws, notably the hyacinth macaw, have become increasingly rare in the wild. Others, such as the scarlet macaw, have been declared endangered, so that a prospective owner would be well-advised to check the local legality of keeping some types before purchasing. Macaws are not ideal for inexperienced birdkeepers. This goes some way to explaining the increasingly popularity of the so-called “mini macaws” or dwarf species of macaw. Popular mini macaws include Hahns macaw, the red-bellied macaw and the severe macaw.
Macaws are intelligent and can be taught tricks and skills. They can be aggressive during the breeding season. If left unsupervised, macaws will amuse themselves. They can be mischievous and possibly destructive in some cases. Time needs to be invested in the care and keeping of macaws. They are best trained from young and need training early to address any aggressive behavior. When trained many species become very loyal and friendly.
The macaw’s beak is especially important as it is often used as another limb, especially when climbing. Red patches in some species, often on the shoulders of the macaw or the tips of its wings, are often part of courtship or aggression displays, so that kind of behavior should not be unanticipated in those species.
Types of Macaw
The hyacinth macaw is the largest parrot in the world at a length of up to forty inches. It is good natured but very strong. As it is now endangered in the wild and popular in captivity, the hyacinth macaw has become more expensive to purchase. Its exotic coloration of a rich purple body and head with yellow around its eyes and lower beak, adds to its attraction. Its beak is very strong, having been said to be able to exert a 300lb pressure. As a result, a macaw cage or macaw aviary for this species has to be strong; the hyacinth macaw is ideally suited to trees and can be fed on nuts, seeds or fruit plus the occasional meat or bone. The hyacinth macaw can and will screech. click here for more infos
The blue and gold macaw or blue and yellow macaw has a striking appearance and is also a large type of macaw at around 36 inches long. Though affectionate and intelligent they can be moody both in adolescence and maturity. They will play with pine cones and like the hyacinth, enjoy trees. As well as conventional parrot food, they can be fed on leaves, seeds, fruit, nuts, greens, and mealworms. A mutation created in recent years is the blue and white macaw, often called the blue macaw.
The greenwing macaw, sometimes also termed the marron macaw, is one of the macaws that seems to be more interested in talking. Again it needs a large cage or aviary. Friendly and intelligent, it is most comfortable when kept warm. It is generally good with children and other pets but can be easily startled and is sometimes noisy. As with many other larger macaws, branches can be given to it so that it is able to exercise its beak. This macaw usually measures between 33 and 36 inches in length, the female being slightly smaller. It can be fed on parrot food, fruit, greens and brazil nuts. With its dark red head and green wings, this macaw’s
apparently bare cheeks seem at first sight to show white skin with red lines, but the pale areas are actually tiny feathers. The face will redden due to blood flow as the macaw becomes more excited.
The scarlet macaw, also known as the red and gold macaw is another macaw that likes to stand on the perch and chew at fresh branches. Though naturally sociable and affectionate and a bird that loves to bathe, it can screech when bored and if regularly left alone for too prolonged a period, can be prone to becoming moody and more likely to nip when approached. It is best housed in an aviary and enjoys a wide variety of food including seed, cuttlefish bone, oranges, bananas, berries, carrots, nuts, tomatoes and in most cases are especially partial to fresh twigs.
Macaws need very strong cages. Ideally they should be housed in an aviary or at least a very large cage as they need to be able to fly and exercise. They often become adept at opening cage latches with their beaks or alternatively the stronger types may simply use their beaks to destroy a weak latch.