dramatic size, long, graceful
tail, and bold colors draws many would-be parrot owners to the macaw.
However, this bird's powerful lungs, beak and need for attention can
make it a challenging parrot to keep. The best-known are the
blue-and-gold (ara ararauna) macaw and the rarer scarlet (Ara macao)
macaw, often displayed in zoos, animal parks and tropical-themed hotels
and other establishments. But there are over 15 species of macaws in
all, ranging from the pint-size green Hahn's (Ara nobilis) and severe
(Ara severa) "mini-macaws" to the hyacinth (Anodorhynchus
hyacinthinus), the largest parrot in the world. Lear's (Anodorhynchus
leari) and blue-throated (Ara glaucogularis) macaws are rare, but the
Spix's (Cyanopsitta spixii) macaw is closest to extinction. The last
wild Spix vanished last year, leaving a few dozen left in
of origin: Mostly South America. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua,
Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Trinidad, Venezuela.
Size: All macaws have long tails and a distinctive bald face patch. The
smallest species, the Hahn's, measures no longer than a cockatiel at 12
inches, but weighs almost twice as much at up to 165 grams. The severe,
the other most commonly kept small macaw, is next in size at 18 inches
and 360 grams. The blue-and-gold macaw, scarlet and green-winged (Ara
chloroptera) macaws are among the largest parrots, at around 34 inches
and up to 1100 grams. However, the king of macaws and all parrots is
the beautiful cobalt-blue hyacinth, which measures up to 40 inches long
and weighs up to 1450 grams, or over three pounds.
Playful, highly intelligent, voracious chewers can be very destructive.
Beak is capable of inflicting deep and painful bites. Among the most
raucous of parrots, capable of ear-splitting screeches, but generally
does not scream habitually. Scarlet’s are reputed to behave the least
predictably; blue-and-gold’s and hyacinths are considered the gentlest.
Mini-macaws are the easiest to train and handle.
ability: Moderate to good.
lifespan: 80 years or more.