Green winged macaw birds has, not surprisingly, a band of forest-green at the centre of its wings; below the green is a bright turquoise and above is a cherry red that extends up and over the whole of the macaw bird's body and head, the flights are dark blue and the tail is very long and is comprised of blue and red feathers. The beak has a black lower mandible and a horn coloured upper mandible and is formidable in size, able to crack difficult nuts with ease.
Macaws’ big size and vibrant colours make them hard to overlook. These social birds can create a racket when they feel so inclined, and their clownish ways are sure to draw attention.
That great big beak can look intimidating, but the green-winged macaw is actually the gentler of the large macaws, not known for biting and massive mood swings. A well-raised green winged, one that’s healthy and well-treated, is a pleasant companion and long-time friend, with a life span of more than 70 years.
Macaws are known as the giants of the parrot world. The hyacinth macaw is the longest parrot, with a head to tail length of nearly 1016mm & the green wing macaw is second in size at 950mm. Macaws have long tail feathers as well as big beaks. Macaw adaptations include large, curved, powerful beaks designed to crack open hard nuts and seeds. These parrots have a long, streamlined physique and colourful feathering, ranging from the hyacinth macaw’s hyacinth blue to the scarlet macaw’s scarlet red colouring.
Native Region / Natural Habitat
Macaws are native to the southern portion of North America (Mexico) plus Central America and South America. Evidence shows that the Caribbean also had native macaw species, which are now extinct, such as the Cuban macaw (Ara tricolor) and the Saint Croix macaw (Ara autochthones). They inhabit rainforests, as well as grasslands and grassy woodland-type areas.
Macaws, and other parrot species, native to the Amazon basin, such as Peru, have been observed eating from clay licks (clay at exposed river bank), which researchers believe is a way for the parrots to neutralize toxins found in some of the foods they consume in the wild.
Some species of macaw are endangered or at risk of extinction, according to the IUCN Red List. Nine species are currently at the most risk.
Three macaws are critically endangered: glaucous macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus), blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis), and Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii).
Three macaws are endangered: Lear’s macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), great green macaw (Ara ambiguus), and red-fronted macaw (Ara rubrogenys).
Three macaws are vulnerable: hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), military macaw (Ara militaris), and blue-headed macaw (Primolius couloni).
Care & Feeding
Macaws are known for their long tails, which means they need a large tall cage.
A macaw needs a cage tall enough to prevent its tail feathers from hitting the cage bottom, which can cause the tail feathers to bend or break. Overall, a macaw needs a much larger cage and play stand than other parrot species, so a potential owner should take space considerations into account.
The green winged macaw bird size alone is a deterrent for many bird owners and breeders, who don’t have the room for such a large animal. The green-winged macaw bird needs a very large cage. Stainless-steel cages are now becoming popular and more affordable, and are a good material for green-wing housing; this bird can easily bend or break the bars of a cheaply made cage. Powder-coated cages are fine, too, if they’re well-made, and the bird will greatly appreciate a cage with a play top.
In their natural habitat, macaws feed on native seeds, fruits, flowers, leaves, palm nuts, figs, nectar, and in some regions clay from exposed river banks. The dietary needs of some macaw species differ from that of other parrots because they need more fat in their diet. The wild macaw’s diet tends to be high in fat, which is acceptable for a bird that spends its day flying through the rainforest finding food, nesting, and rearing chicks.
Companion macaws tend to have a much easier life than their wild counterparts, but they miss out on the ability to forage for their food, a behaviour that comes naturally.
Personality & Behaviour
Macaws are a force to be reckoned with. Everything about them is big, from their voices to their attitudes. Even the mini macaws are big — on the inside! Colourful and often raucous, they call attention to themselves even when quiet. Although, to the uninitiated, Macaws seem formidable and may bluster and carry on, those who share their lives with these magnificent friends know that they contain surprisingly loving hearts and sensitive natures.
Macaws can be quite playful and love toys they can chew up, especially items made of wood. A pet Macaw will need a consistent supply of appropriate toys and other safe items to destroy. The cost of a stable supply of toys should be factored in to the monthly pet budget, but I find a supply of fresh Australian native branches just as good as toys,...if not better!
Macaws are intelligent birds that also thrive on activities designed to challenge them, such as foraging activities. Foraging involves searching for food or time spent enjoying food.
A bare patch around the eyes of some Macaw species can change colour when the parrot is excited.
A Macaw might make a game out of spooking people by leaning forward and lunging toward them. This is not done as an aggressive gesture but more for the reaction it causes. In general, a well socialized, positively interacted with macaw can be a gentle pet. Macaws from the Ara genus, such as green-winged, scarlet, and blue-and-gold macaws, have a bare facial patch, which turns flush when the bird is overly excited.
Speech & Sound
Large macaws have equally large vocalizations, and their squawks and screeches can be quite loud and ear piercing. A potential macaw owner needs to take a macaw’s large sound into consideration, especially if he or she lives in an apartment and/or has nearby neighbours.
Macaws can be taught to talk and they might also be inclined to whistle or to imitate sounds and noises they hear inside and outside the home.
Health & Common Conditions
Macaws can be prone to feather-destructive behaviours. If a complete veterinary exam rules out medical causes of feather plucking, boredom and/or lack of appropriate mental stimulation can be a cause. Offer your macaw an enriched environment with plenty of opportunities for play and exercise, such as a climbing nets and ropes, in addition to toys.
Macaws are also more susceptible to proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), psittacosis, beak malocclusion, and aspergillosis. Regular health check ups by an avian veterinarian can help diagnose and treat many disease processes early on.
It is normal for a macaw to sneeze a few times a day to clear out dust or dander from its nares, which might be accompanied by a clear discharge. If the sneezing is persistent and/or the discharge is not a clear colour, contact your avian veterinarian.
Get a Macaw
Would a macaw be a good pet? That depends on you. Adding a macaw to your family means considering if you have the room, the time, the personality, and other factors that make a macaw a good companion for you. Because macaws need spacious accommodations and are long-lived, adding a macaw to the family needs to be thoroughly thought through.
The green-winged macaw is a large parrot covered with mostly red plumage. The wing and tail feathers are blue and green, hence its name. This macaw has a white, naked face, striped with small red feathers. The beak is strongly hooked and the feet are zygodactylous (2 toes that point forward and 2 toes that point backward).
Size Approximately 65 to 92.5 cm wingspan 102 to 122.5 cm
Weight Approximately 1250 to 1700 g
Diet Feeds on seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, leaves, salts, and minerals of riverbanks
Incubation Approximately 28 days
Clutch Size Up to 3 eggs
Fledging Duration 90 to 100 days
Sexual Maturity 3 to 4 years
Life Span Up to 60 to 80 years
Range Widely distributed throughout South America
Habitat Found in tropical rainforests, savannas, and mangroves
IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Appendix II
USFWS: Not listed