Macaws are birds with large beaks and one of the longest bodies of all companion parrots.
Basics: When someone tells you that they own a pet bird, it's difficult not to think of a Macaw. They are large and vibrant. They've got the colors to remember and the size you can't forget. Macaws are social, loud, act like clowns and absolutely love attention. While some folks might be slightly put off by the big scary looking beak, these birds are actually very friendly and companionable pets when socialized correctly when they are young. As stated above, this species of bird has a fairly large body to go along with the fairly large beak. As a matter of fact, the Hyacinth Macaw is the longest of all parrots at approximately 40 inches from beak to tail. They're beautiful birds with each one of the species offering something unique and special to the public at large. When considering the Macaw, remember that these birds are grouped in two categories; the large Macaws and the Mini Macaws. Both groups include many of the most popular birds available today. Here's a list of some of them: Glaucous macaw, Hyacinth macaw, Indigo macaw, Lear's macaw, Little blue macaw, Spix's macaw, Scarlet macaw, Blue-and-yellow macaw, Military macaw, Blue-throated macaw, Blue-and-gold macaw, Great green macaw, Buffon's macaw, Red-and-green macaw, Green-wing macaw, Red-fronted macaw, Chestnut-fronted macaw, Severe macaw, Cuban red macaw, Saint Croix macaw, Red-bellied macaw, Blue-headed macaw, Blue-winged macaw, Illiger's macaw, Golden-collared macaw, Red-shouldered macaw, and Hahn's macaw.
Original and Native Habitat: In general, the original habitat for the entire group of Macaws is the country of Mexico, parts of Central America and parts of South America. Macaws have also inhabited parts of the Carribean, including Cuba and Saint Croix. Macaws primarily enjoy living in rainforests and grassy plains.
How to Feed and Care For: With a bird of this size, you'll surely need to house it in a large cage. When deciding on your Macaw's habitat, be sure you buy a cage that's large enough to contain the bird without it rubbing its feathers on any of the bars. You want your bird to have the freedom and liberty to move around, perch and play as it wishes. If your cage is too small, your Macaw won't be very happy and there's a chance that its feathers may snap and break. When purchasing gear or even deciding on what type of bird you'd like to buy, remember that Macaws are very large, so there will be additional expense related to such a large enclosure. Also, since the cage will be so large, much of your own living space will be consumed by it. When it comes to feeding this species of bird, the following are just fine and actually encouraged: seeds, fresh fruit, vegetables, leaves, figs, flowers, nuts, nectar and believe it or not, riverbank clay. Macaws have been seen eating clay from riverbanks in the wild and it's thought that this clay somehow cleanses the bird of toxins ingested from the variety of wildlife it eats. When comparing the dietary requirements of the Macaw and other species of parrot, it's important to note that the Macaw's diet will be fattier. Just keep that in mind when buying food. A good idea is to pick up some pellet berries, cakes and other types of processed bird berries.
Personality, Behavior and Temperament: If you're a first time bird owner, you may want to avoid the Macaw. Just for a while, until you learn about birds and see what it's like to live with one or more of them. Macaws are huge and their personalities can be huge too. They can be loud, they can have an attitude, and they require lots of attention. For the uninitiated, Macaws can be a lot to handle. For those bird lovers who have been around these types of pets for a good number of years though, you'll recognize Macaws as loving, friendly and very companionable birds. Macaws love to play and to forage for food. They also like lots of toys, so be prepared to pay for them during your visits to the pet store to pick up food.
Do They Talk? What Kids of Sounds Do They Make? Macaws make lots of sounds, from screams to screeches to talking. These birds can be very loud, so take that into consideration if you have neighbors or like to sleep a lot. Macaws are trainable though and some say that you can replace the screaming with talking, which would certainly be preferable. These birds also like to whistle and imitate other sounds they hear in their living environment, so watch what you say.
Health and Disease Awareness: Like many other types of parrots, Macaws are susceptible to feather plucking. Most of the time, this is caused by the bird being bored and its taking this boredom out on itself. To treat this mental condition, you'll need to play with the bird more, offer it more toys and feed it types of food for which it can forage. Climbing is also a lot of fun for Macaws, so it may be beneficial for you to set up some ropes in their cages. On the medical side of things, Macaws are commonly seen contracting the following diseases: proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), psittacosis, beak malocclusion, and aspergillosis.
Life Expectancy: Depending on species, 30-50 years and sometimes 50+.
A few terms and phrases to describe the typical Macaw bird: huge, blustery, companionable, lots of attitude, loud, colorful, raucous, love attention, formidable, loving, sensitive, playful, intelligent, and can be aggressive.