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Macaws
General Information

by Sharlan Toby

Greenwing Macaws
Macaws are often thought of as large birds, and most of them are very large. The different breeds of macaws range in size from the smallest macaw, the Hahn's, at 11 - 12 inches in length, to the largest macaw, the Hyacinth, at 39 to 42 inches in length, and everything in between. Here is a listing of common macaws from smallest to the largest:

Hahn's, 11" - 12"
Hahn's, 11" - 12"
Yellow-Collared, 14" - 15"
Illiger's, 16" - 17"
Severe, 18" - 19"
Red Bellied, 19" - 20"

Red Fronted, 24" - 25"
Military, 32" - 33"
Blue and Gold, 32" - 34"
Greenwing, 35"
Scarlet, 35" - 36"
Hyacinth, 39" - 40"
 

The colors of macaws cover as wide of a range as their size. There are the bright yellows and blues in the Blue and Gold macaws, the radiant reds in the scarlet and deep reds in the Greenwing. A variety of greens in the Military, Hahn's, Red Fronted, Severe and Noble. The brilliant blue of the Hyacinth with their yellow skin of the eye ring and around their beak. And the wonderful orange coloring of the Harlequin (Blue & Gold and Greenwing) and Catalina (Blue & Gold and Scarlet) which are hybrids.

The overall temperament of macaws is generally good and loveable. They tend to be very intelligent animals who are curious, fun, and playful. From the materials I read, the Scarlet tends to be the most nippy of the macaws.

The price of Macaws can range from as low as $400 for some of the mini-macaws to as high as $12,000 for the Hyacinth. Prices vary depending on where and from whom you purchase the bird and availability of the species.

Macaws need a well-balanced diet of pellets and a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables and other foods such as pastas, rice, and beans. The Hyacinth's diet is a little different than that of the other macaws. They need the high fat of the nuts they normally eat in the wild. This food requirement does increase the cost of actually owning a Hyacinth macaw.

Cage sizes vary with the kind of macaw you have. For the smallest macaw, a 20" x 20" x 30" is the smallest cage that should be used. The average sized macaw cage should minimally be 36" x 24" x 60". One rule of thumb to use for cage size is 1.5 times the wing span of the bird.

There are a couple of projects that include the study and preservation of Macaws. These include the Macaw Claylick and the Macaw Research Project in Tambopata, Peru, and Macaw Monitoring through the Manu Wildlife Center in Amazonia, Peru. There is also the Parrot Preservation Society in Arizona that has an extensive breeding program of rare macaws to help keep the species from becoming extinct. Additional information on how you can participate in these projects can be found on the Internet.

For additional information on Macaws, there are several good books and web sites you can checkout.

Books:
The Complete Book of Macaws, by Rosemary Low
The Handbook of Macaws, by Dr. A E Decoteau
Macaws, by Loren Spiotta
Taming and Training Macaws, by Risa Teitler
The World of Macaws, by Dieter Hoppe

Bird Talk Articles:
"The Large Macaws," by Gloria Allen, July 1997:28-35
"The Macaws of Tambopata," by Judith M. Riley, July 1997:36-41
"The Miniature Macaws," by John Tyson, September 1998:46-50

Internet Sites:
Birds N Ways


Projects:
Parrot Preservation Society, Psittacine Breeding Research Facility

8711 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd. #299
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255
(605) 585-4701

Macaw Monitoring Manu Wildlife Center - www.ecovolunteer.org (go to projects). If you don't have access to the Internet and would like further information, please call me at (847) 895-2615 and I can send you the information in the mail.

The Macaw Clay Lick & The Macaw Research Project at Tambopata, Peru www.perunature.com/pre1-0.htm. For additional information call Rainforest Expeditions in Peru at 011-(51-1)421-8347 or in the USA call Mario Corvetto at (303) 838-9412.

Macaw Bird Clubs:

Macaw Society of America
for information, send a self-addressed stamped business-size envelope to:

Macaw Society of America
P.O. Box 90037
Burton, MI 48509-0037

     

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