Larger Than Life Personality
Dynamic - Playful - Intelligent

Macaws always inspire awe when people first see them. Their brilliant colors and distinctly marked faces make them a favorite of many bird fanciers. They are extremely intelligent and like to interact with people.

Some learn to speak quite well and use language appropriately. They have a long life and like to be a part of the family. Their large size matches their personality.

Large Macaws

There are a number of different macaw species. The most common large macaws are the Blue and Gold macaw, which are fun-loving, playful birds, the Scarlet macaw, which tend to be sensitive and prefer their immediate family, but if socialized at an early age, they can become real show-offs, the Greenwinged macaw, which are extremely intelligent and usually very social, but they are much larger than the former two. Military macaws are often underrated, but their personality and talking ability is similar to a blue and gold, Red-fronted macaws are smaller, but are comical and attentive in nature and then there is the majestic Hyacinth macaw, which are nearly 4 feet in length with a wingspan to match, making them the largest of the parrot family. They are specialized feeders, unlike most macaws, and their diet in the wild consists of two different types of palm nuts. As pets, they require a diet high in fat and carbohydrates and low in protein. Some suggested foods are macademia nuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, filberts, almonds, pecans, peanuts and coconuts, supplemented with fruits and vegetables.

Smaller Macaws

If you do not have the space for a large macaw, you might consider one of the miniature macaws, which includes the Severe macaw, the Yellow-collared macaw, the Red-bellied macaw, the Illiger's macaw, the Noble macaw and the smallest, the Hahn's macaw. Intelligent birds with clownish personalities and good talking abilty describe the minis.

All these birds should be provided with a large, safe, comfortable cage. A playgym on top is nice, as your pet bird should have some time outside their cage. They should be supervised, as they can make quick handiwork of any wood furniture or objects. Provide them with a variety of toys, including wooden ones, to satisfy their tremendous need to chew.

If you want your macaw to interact with everyone, you must socialize them early with people or they will tend to bond with their favorite person. However, the size of her beak does intimidate most people, so if someone is not interested in handling your bird, accept that and understand their fear.


A macaw's diet should consist of a high quality seed, supplemented with pellets. Macaws require nuts, because they need more fat in their diet than some birds. Also, supply fresh fruits, such as oranges, bananas, apples and grapes, and fresh vegetables including corn, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes. Never give them avocado, as it is toxic and can be fatal, if eaten.

Hand-feeding versus parent raised can influence them, but it is important to imprint the fact that humans can be trusted at an early age. They need to feel loved and a part of the family, because parrots are flock animals. Naomi has a lot of company in the bird room when I am not there, so she feels like a part of the flock all the time. However, when I do walk in the room, I am always the center of her attention and she cannot get to me fast enough. She pushes aside all the other birds who want my attention , too and let's them know she should be petted first. They always respect her wishes. Overall, she is very friendly and gentle with my other parrots and they all get along well together. They spend time out of their cages during the day, so this is important. Macaws can be quite loud, when they vocalize, but this is primarily in the morning and early hours. This is typical of many parrots.

I think each species is distinct and have different personality traits and in reading books about them, I realized you should not categorize them based on that. Military macaws are said to to be nippy and aggressive in some books I read, but I have found the opposite to be true in many of these birds. On this page is a picture of a friendly military macaw. Parrots are influenced by their environment and particularly by how they are raised as babies. Spend some time around the macaw you are thinking of buying and see how they react to you before purchasing one, because it is such a long term commitment, with many living 50 years or more. If you are looking for a large parrot as a pet and you have had some experience with birds, I would highly recommend a macaw. They are beautiful inside and out with an exhuberant, exciting personality. My macaw is a happy bird that love hugs and enjoys being rocked like a baby upside down in my arms. She really likes her head and under her beak scratched and she closes her eyes when I do. She is very special and I always like walking in the room to a big "hello"!

Not sure about macaws? How about a cockatoo?
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