Macaws: care, social behaviour, food, housing, breeding

Macaws are possibly the most beautiful, colourful parrot of all. This bird is also full of energy and personality. Read up on this exotic tropical wonder.

Which species: Conures (parrots of Africa and the New World)

What the macaw looks like: bright colors, with combinations of green, red, yellow and blue. The weight can be from 350 g to 1.3 kg depending on the subspecies

Where it comes from: the region that spans Bolivia to Mexico, but mainly the Amazon

How long it lives: 50-60 years in the wild and up to 80 years in captivity

Number of eggs per nest: 2-3 (large species), 5-6 (small species)

Did you know? The buffalo macaw is one of the largest parrot species (90 cm).

The macaw: an eye catcher

Bird lovers everywhere consider the macaw to be the most beautiful parrot there is. The spectacular bird certainly stands out with its bold green, red, blue and yellow feathers. And it’s also full of energy and personality.

Social behaviour and care

Without other birds around, your macaw will see you as one of the flock and can form a strong bond with you. However, to prevent the bird from becoming too attached to one person, you should socialize it with every family member from an early age. With proper training, it becomes a pleasant, friendly bird.

The macaw is curious and is eager to learn tricks. And although its vocabulary is limited to five to ten words, this bird is a chatterbox and can become extremely noisy. Best not to choose it if you live in an apartment. And if you are sensitive to loud noises yourself, it’s better to keep another bird.


Nuts, leaves, berries and seeds from the rainforest make up the bulk of the macaw's diet. Its strong, curved bill is perfect for cracking open nuts and seeds.

In captivity, macaws typically eat a composite, fortified mix containing a variety of seeds, dried fruit and nuts. In addition to this, serve a daily ration of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as kale and spinach. Never offer chocolate or avocados as they are poisonous!

Feed the macaw in the morning upon waking. After an hour, remove all uneaten kibble, fruit and vegetables.


Definitely consider getting an aviary. The macaw is a large parrot that does not thrive if you clip its wings: aka, keep it in a small cage. In addition, macaws can develop behavioural problems if they don’t have enough freedom of movement. They also get bored quickly so provide large swings and other toys to keep it amused. Can you provide them with a real playground? Then all the better!

Are you limited to having it only in a cage? Then make sure they can move freely for two to five hours a day. It’s absolutely necessary for their mental wellbeing as stimulation makes them happy.


The macaw stays with the same partner year after year. The birds do not build their own nests. They usually nest in the cavities of dead trees. The number of eggs varies from two to three for the large macaws to five to six for the smaller species. The breeding period lasts 24 to 30 days.

Young macaws begin to feed on their own as soon as they emerge from the nest, but remain dependent on their parents for several months. Even later, they can stay with their families for a long time, for social reasons.

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