Macaws are not a single species; instead, they are a group of 17 species within the true parrot Psittacidae family. Macaws are beautiful, exotic-looking birds with large beaks, bright feathers, long tails, and light or white facial patches. Most of these species are big, friendly, and extraordinarily noisy, although there are a handful of miniature species. They require a lot of space to live healthy, active lives. It is common to deed pet macaws in wills and end of life plans as these birds may outlive their owners, though disease and poor nutrition can shorten their lifespan.

Origin and History
Macaws are large, colorful South American parrots. Europeans learned about these “New World” parrots from Christopher Columbus’ journey logs in the 15th century. Most species of macaws are endangered (hyacinth, red-fronted and blue-throated), and a few (the Spix’s macaw and glaucous macaw) are almost certainly extinct. Their dwindling numbers are a result of the loss of their habitat through deforestation and illegal trapping for the pet trade.

Macaws are playful and active, and they have exuberant personalities that match their size. A well-cared-for macaw that receives appropriate nutrition, mental stimulation, enrichment, attention, and plenty of space for exercise makes a unique, long-lived companion that is affectionate and loyal.

However, their size and personalities can also make them challenging pets. Macaws that are not regularly handled or have hormonal imbalances, drastic environmental changes, or lack of mental stimulation can become aggressive, territorial, destructive, and problematic.

It is best to start training these intelligent birds from birth. Early training should focus on hand-feeding, not nipping or biting, no screaming, and eventually, teaching your bird to talk or sing. As you develop a rapport with your bird, you may even share jokes and enjoy various types of interactive play.

Blue-Yellow macaw