Scarlet macaws (Scientific Name: Ara macao) are probably the most vibrantly colored of all macaws. They have a wide distribution and their population numbers, although on a decline, are still relatively high. Their appearance makes them hard to resist as pets, but they can prove to be a handful for first-time pet owners. In the hands of an experienced pet bird owner, they can be a friendly and social bird.
|Also known as||Red and yellow macaw|
|Color||Red, blue, and yellow with a white patch around the eye|
|Size||32 in (81 cm)|
|Weight||2.2 lbs (1 kg)|
|Wingspan||More than 3 ft (1 m)|
|Distribution||Southern Mexico, Central America through to South America south down to Northeastern Argentina|
|Habitat||Woodlands, savannahs, subtropical rain forests, and river edges|
|Diet||Fruits, seeds, and nuts|
|Breeding age||3-4 years|
|Clutch size||2-4 eggs|
|Incubation period||24-25 days|
|Lifespan||Wild: 40-50 years; Captivity: Up to 75 years|
|IUCN conservation status||Least Concern|
|Temperament as pets||Inquisitive and intelligent|
Scarlet macaws are large birds and accordingly, will need large cages to live in. Dimensions should be 3’x3’x6’. You should consider it in a sound-proofed room if you reside in an apartment or have neighbors around. Put in a perch and branches that bird can chew. There should be toys for your pet’s enrichment as well. As an alternative to a cage, if you have space, you might consider getting an outdoor aviary.
Let your bird out of the cage for at least 2-3 hours a day.
Your pet will appreciate it if you place the cage in a draft-free sunny area.
These birds are jovial, gregarious and will long for interaction with the owner. They will tend to get rather vociferous out of excitement just before they receive attention from their caregiver. They also tend to reflect their owner’s mood; they’ll be as happy as you are in from them, and will be agitated if you seem worked up.
Socialize your bird from a young age. Otherwise, it can become attached to a single person and be aggressive towards others. Beware of its bite when it gets cranky as those strong beaks can easily sever a finger or two.
There are macaw-specific seed and pellet mixes that you can feed your bird. Additionally, any nutritious food that is good enough for you is good enough for them. Chicken can be a good source of protein for your pet scarlet. Never feed them avocado and chocolate as both these foods are toxic for all members of the parrot family.
Replace the food and water dishes with fresh, clean ones every day. Clean the toys, perches and the cage floor at least once every week. Disinfect the cage once yearly. Bathe your bird daily with a mist spray or simply a bird bath and let it dry out in the sun.
Clip the nails, beaks, and feathers regularly. The nails can easily stay in shape if the bird’s perch is of that quality. Chewing the branches can also help keep the beaks from growing too pointy.
Take your scarlet macaw on regular visits to a veterinarian to keep illnesses like proventricular dilation disease, infections (bacterial, viral or fungal), psittacosis, allergies, papillomas, gout, feather picking habits, heavy metal poisoning, and lipomas (older individuals) at bay.
They are a pricey bird because of their colors, coming with a price tag of between $1,200 and $1,600.
- Scarlet macaws are regularly mistaken for the similar-looking and sized green-winged macaw, one of the biggest differentiating factors is, however, that the scarlet has a yellow band of feathers across its back while those across the green-winged macaw’s back are green.
- The scarlet macaw is the national bird of Honduras.
Scarlet Macaw Video