All About Macaw Parrots

Macaws are intelligent and strong-willed friends

The Macaw is the largest of the pet birds and is a very popular pet.

These birds are very intelligent and can learn to talk and learn tricks very easily. You can teach them to wave, play dead, dance, and even somersault. They also love to chew, so you will need to provide them with a lot of toys.

Many bird owners are intimidated by the larger species’ strong wills and large beaks. Their beaks are very strong–one bite can lead you to the emergency room. These birds are not good for first-time bird owners. You need to be very experienced with birds in order to keep one of these, somewhat difficult, creatures.

You need to establish stiff boundaries with the larger species right when you bring this bird home. Otherwise, they will learn to scream, bite, or manipulate you in order to suit their needs. These are not meant to be shoulder birds–never let your large Macaw sit on your shoulder! They can become very dominantly aggressive and you do not want those strong beaks so close to your face.

The smaller species are a bit easier to handle, but they still like to challenge you and keep you on your toes.

If you are an experienced bird owner and are prepared to handle bites from large beaks, sometimes replacing toys every week, spending a lot of time with your bird, training your bird to keep his mind active, and spending a lot of time setting clear boundaries, then these might be the right birds for you.

Macaw Species



Fast Facts

Name Macaw (Ara)
Origin Central and South America
Size 12-36 in., depending on subspecies
Size 12-36 in., depending on subspecies
Color Differences They can range in color, from green, to red and green, red and yellow, blue, and blue and gold.
Average Cost $900-4,000+
Lifespan 50 years on average
Noise Loud–some can scream as loud as 105 decibels.
Living Arrangements Because of their vocal abilities, size, and the size needed for their cages and other accessories, these birds are best kept in a house.
Qualities Intelligence of a 3-8 year old child, emotional range of a 2 year old child, may throw tantrums to get attention, great sense of humor, can tease you and other members of your family (including other pets), require a lot of attention, can be very demanding, need to be kept busy with attention, toys, and training, love to chew, love showers, some species are good family birds, some are prone to becoming one-person birds, some are described as clownish, energetic, playful, like to roughhouse, some can be nippy and aggressive, some love to cuddle.
Abilities Excellent–they can learn to talk and learn tricks.
Interaction/Time Requirements High–These birds do need a lot of attention and will scream and become very aggressive if they don’t get the attention and time from you that they need.
Diet Mini species need a diet for large birds and large species need a diet for x-large birds.
Supplies Needed Mini species need supplies for large birds and large species need supplies for x-large birds.
See How Macaws Compare to Other Types of Pet Birds!

Macaw Videos

“Georgie the Hahn’s Macaw Chatting Away”

This is a great video of a Hahn’s Macaw that shows just how much personality the Mini-Macaws can have. They really are a lot of fun.

“Kona and Rio : take 2”

This is a great video of a Blue-and-Gold and Greenwing Macaw. It shows just how fun, comical, and playful Macaws can be.

“Cuddly Hyacinth Macaw”

This is a great video that shows that Macaws can be affectionate and cuddly too.

Macaw Training

Macaws can be very aggressive at times, so it is important to train them correctly right from the beginning. They need to be taught clear boundaries so they will learn not to bite. Macaws can be fantastic companions. They are caring, loving, and they can become very attached. However, if not properly trained, they can become biters very quickly.

For this reason, we highly recommend that you find an effective training program for your Macaw. Whether your parrot is new to your home or you’ve had him for years, a training program will always come in handy. We personally recommend the Bird Tricks Parrot Training Course by Dave and Jamieleigh Womach. You can see many of their videos for free to get an idea of how much they know about parrots and how they can help you train yours.

Below is one of Dave’s videos about stopping your Macaw’s biting. This video is a great example of how effective the training courses can be and how they are filled with a wealth of useful information for any bird owner.

This video is only the first step in getting your Macaw hand tamed. We highly recommend checking out the BirdTricks Training Course for taming your parrot even further.

For more information about Dave and Jamieleigh’s courses, you can visit the Bird Tricks website HERE.

Macaw Education

To learn more about your pet Macaw, we recommend these books:

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Macaw Gifts

Have a friend of family member who loves Macaws? Gift them something that will truly spark joy!

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Have A Great Story About Your Macaw?

Share your experience with others! There’s no better way to learn about a pet bird than from an owner.

Some helpful information for potential owners can be: What is the species of your bird? Is he/she friendly? Loving? Cuddly? Talented? Messy? Loud? You get the idea!

Your comment may just help someone decide whether or not this pet bird is for them.

12 replies
  1. Macaw Parrot Lover
    Macaw Parrot Lover says:

    Hi everyone, i love to take care of this macaw parrot. Please let me know how to find these macaw parrots. Thank you.

  2. Antoine Damond
    Antoine Damond says:

    I think this is a heart touching story. I would hate to have something like this to happen to anyone.but the ending was very touching. im so happy for you. im look for me and my family a bird to love

    • Sheryl Johns
      Sheryl Johns says:

      I would not be giving a macaw caffeine. Not in the least bit good for him. Fresh veggies, a little fruit, a decent pellet and tree nuts. Stick with that and you will have a friend for life.

    • Sheryl Johns
      Sheryl Johns says:

      Sorry, if you can’t afford to pay for one, you probably can’t afford to have one. One emergency visit to an avian vet can cost double the price of a baby macaw, and that is just for the original emergency visit. I’m not saying that to be disrespectful or rude, it’s just the reality. Do a little more research and know what you are getting into. Macaws are wonderful pets but they are LOUD, messy, demanding, and you will get bit. It makes no difference how bonded you are with it, you will get bit. They are expensive to feed and their toys cost a fortune. I am lucky enough to be able to make my birds their toys. My Green Wing goes through a 2×4 a week. My 3 Blue and Golds go through one as well. I spend $60 a month on tree nuts. Now add in the cost to make a good healthful veggie chop($75 minimum) and Zupreem pellets. You also have to take them to get their beaks and toes trimmed. Cha Ching! Then there is the dreaded emergency vet visit….CHA CHING!

  3. Tom McGraf (Canberra)
    Tom McGraf (Canberra) says:

    Runaway bird
    That’s him and his brother North.
    This story started on 25 May 2015 my big green-winged macaw (South) was sitting with me on my back porch. But suddenly there was a big crash next door and he jumped out of my lap and flew away. As quick smart I rang the rspca and local areas to see if they had found him. But alas no one had so I was beginning to become very depressed that I had lost my little macaw. I have had him since he was a baby. So I rang into work calling in sick, not eating and become very sick. I was very sad. But just when I had given up all hope there was a big squawk at the back door and sure enough it was South. I was so happy that my baby had come back. So I took him to the vet to make sure he was ok and he was a little sick but he is back a full health now. I am just celebrating his 3 birthday now. Thank you.

    • Rudolph.A.Furtado
      Rudolph.A.Furtado says:

      Absolutely lucky to get back your prized Macaw pet.Get its wings trimmed to avoid flying long distances.

    • Pratha
      Pratha says:

      Greeting to you all friend of bird, Please do not give to your bird or pet a Punjab Cricket food. This cause problem of gas. My woman friend Smupa give the Punjab Cricket food to her macaw and it have bad smell gas for 4.5 days. This make Smupa not happy and she not have fun time with me for this period. Not good for me or macaw my friend. So you not give the Punjab Cricket food to any pet animal.


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