Big Parrots

Big parrots have captured the imaginations of people worldwide as popular pets. They can be affectionate and bond strongly with their owners, but on the flip side, they need a lot of space and have the emotional intelligence of a small child. This means that due to their long lifespans, you will take care of the avian equivalent of a big baby for a long time.

When you think of big parrots, you’re probably thinking of macaws in all their multicolored glory. But, even though macaws make up most of the world’s largest parrots, they are not the only ones. 

Big Parrots

List of Big Parrots

1. Kākāpō

The heaviest parrot in the world at over 4 lbs, the Kākāpō is a flightless parrot from New Zealand. It was widespread in the past but was hunted for years to the point that the last few Kākāpōs now live in captivity.

Length: 23-25 inchesWeight: 4.4 lbWingspan: 32 inches

2. Hyacinth Macaw

The Hyacinth Macaw is the world’s largest macaw and most giant flying parrot. This South American bird requires a lot of space and should be only kept by pet owners with a lot of experience.

Length: 3-3.25 inchesWeight: 2.7 – 3.8 lbWingspan: 4 feet

3. Great Green Macaw

A macaw initially from Central and South America, the Great Green Macaw is currently “Critically Endangered.” It is kept in captivity but needs to be around humans from a young age, or it will bite them.

Length: 33.5–35.5 inchesWeight: 2.9 lbsWingspan: 50 inches

4. Red-and-Green Macaw

The Red-and-Green Macaw is the 3rd heaviest flying parrot after the Hyacinth and Great Green Macaws and the 4th heaviest overall after the Kākāpō. Pet owners will need a lot of space to keep this one.

Length: 35-37 inchesWeight: 2.3-2.8 lbsWingspan: 41-49 inches

5. Scarlet Macaw

One of the best-known macaws in the world, the Scarlet Macaw is also one of the earliest to be bred in captivity. Today, it is kept as a pet worldwide, though only people with a lot of space and a bit of experience in handling birds should think of getting one as a pet.

Length: 32 inchesWeight: 2-2.7 lbsWingspan: 44-47 inches

6. Blue-throated Macaw

This Bolivian bird is “Critically endangered” due to its being hunted by the locals for its feathers. However, it has received a second lease on life in captivity, though it remains a bit uncommon as a pet.

Length: 33 inchesWeight: 2-2.5 lbsWingspan: 3 feet

7. Blue-and-Gold Macaw

A South American macaw known for its bright, colorful blue and yellow plumage. Thanks to their large size, they need much space to move about. They also get emotionally attached to their owners, often loudly calling out to them.

Length: 30–34 inchesWeight: 2–3 lbWingspan: 41-45 inches

8. Military Macaw

Originally from Mexico and South America, the Military Macaw is at risk due to its low genetic diversity and specialized diet of seeds. This means that a loss of habitat or food source could seriously dent their population.

Length: 27.5-33.5 inchesWeight: 2–2.5 lbsWingspan: 33–43 inches

9. Palm Cockatoo

Known for its striking black plumage, red cheeks, and black beak, the Palm Cockatoo is a resident of New Guinea and the heaviest cockatoo alive today. It is rare as a pet but can be found in zoos worldwide.

Length: 22-24 inchesWeight: 2–2.7 lbsWingspan: 27-39 inches

Final Thoughts

While not all large parrots can be kept as pets – most notably the Kākāpō, which can only be found on a single island – some make excellent companions due to their affectionate nature and quirky personalities.