A Macaw is a parrot type that is native to the tropics of the Americas. The smallest Macaws are about the size of pigeons while the largest reach 3 feet or more in length. Macaws are typically brightly colored with large beaks and long tails. They are often referred to as winged rainbows.
Macaws as Pets
History says that Macaws have been kept in captivity since 1100AD. This has been attributed to their great beauty and engaging personalities. There are about seventeen species of Macaws that can be found in the wild today.
Macaws live longer than most dogs and birds. With a healthy diet, good training, frequent opportunities for freedom from their cage and lots of attention, its owner is assured of a life long companion. Taking care of Macaws is far from easy but the close bond that can develop when Macaw owners take pains to understand them would be worth it.
The right Macaw diet consists of daily servings of fruits, vegetables and warm meals. Dietary supplements such as vitamins are essential for its well being. The diet of Macaws found in the wild consists of the yellow-orange flesh between the brown skin and the chunky sized nut of the palm fruits. This particular food has the consistency of a raw potato. Additional food choices include portions of pasta, cooked chicken, turkey or chicken thigh bones, fruit salad and cooked legumes.
Pet Macaws thrive best on frequent interaction, handling and love. Mental and physical suffering would result if this type of human contact is lacking. Other sub-bondings are taking place thus most Macaws that are subject to non-aggressive behavior are able to trust humans more and consequently allow handling even by strangers as long as there is someone familiar to them nearby.
Macaws have the tendency to be extremely loud with voices that carry over long distances. As such, macaws are generally very demanding birds. This is why decisions regarding having a Macaw as a household pet should be given extra and careful thought. They exhibit a high intelligence level through their behavior and require constant intellectual stimulation to satisfy their innate curiosity. Boredom sometimes drives then to gnaw and chew on various objects.
Macaws are divided into several groups by genus. The first one is in the Genus Anodorhynchus. Macaw species included in this genus are fairly big with a tail more than its body length.
The Genus Ara represents the greatest group of Macaws. Macaw species in this group are colorful and impressive Neotropical parrots whose tails are longer than the body. The Genus Cyanopsitta is represented only by the Spix Macaw while the Genus Diopsittaca is closely related to the Ara. The remaining genera are Propyrrhura and Orthopsittaca.
Specific Macaw species examples are the Blue and the Gold Macaws which make wonderful pets particularly if they are well-trained. However, this species has a tendency to become aggressive or pluck. A Scarlet macaw is one of the noble looking among the Macaws although it has a loud voice and can be quite vocal at times. The Hahn’s Macaw is playful, talkative and a great pet. Smartness and inquisitiveness characterizes a Hyacinth Macaw. The Gentle Giant – the Green-wing Macaw has a very sensitive, responsive and affectionate disposition. Whatever macaw species a bird enthusiast would choose as a pet, this colorful spectacle of a bird will live to an average of 50 years, sometimes even outliving its owners.