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Species:

There are several species of macaws. The ones most commonly seen in the pet trade are large colorful macaws such as scarlet macaws, blue and gold macaws, military macaws, and hyacinth macaws. Mini macaws are harder to find but include species such as Hahn's, noble, and yellow collared macaws.

Size:

The larger species range from about 20 inches (military macaws) up to 42 inches (hyacinth macaws), including the long tail. Mini macaws are more manageable at 10-20 inches in length.

Life Span:

Ranges from 30-50 years and over. Mini macaws have a life span at the lower end of this range, while a healthy large macaw can be expected to live 50 years or more with good nutrition and care.

Temperament:

Macaws are playful and active, and have an exuberant peronality to go along with their size. This makes them a very challenging pet. They are also very affectionate, and in turn require a good deal of time and attention from their owners to be happy.

Speech and Vocalizations:

Macaws are noisy. Their vocalizations can be loud and they can screech extrememly loudly! They do have a fairly good capability to mimic speech, although probably not as clearly as Amazons and African greys.

Cage:

Macaws need a large, strong cage so be prepared to make a significant investment. Mini macaws can be kept in a cage sized for Amazons (24"x36"x48"). However, the larger macaws need a cage at least 36"x48"x60" and the cage must be strong enough to withstand their significant beak strength of macaws. A stainless steel cage is a good investment. See "Before You Buy a Bird Cage" for more advice on choosing a cage.

Toys:

A wide variety of wooden toys or plain untreated chunks of wood to chew on should be provided. Toys meant to be taken apart to get at a treat are also a good choice, as are hanging toys and toys to climb on as long as they are safe -- see "Bird Toy Safety" for tips on choosing appropriate toys.

Feeding :

Start with a pelleted food as the basis for the diet, and supplement with a wide range of healthy fresh foods (grains, vegetables, fruits, etc.). Pellets can make up 25-50 percent of the diet, but seeds should be no more than 10 percent of the diet as they are too high in fat. Nuts are a good treat, in moderation. See "Parrot Nutrition 101" for more on proper diets for parrots.

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