Species Profile - The Scarlet Macaw
by Houston (aka "BlazeyBird" on

Ara Macao

Scarlet Macaws are about 33 inches (85 cm) long & weight 900-1100 grams. They have a brighter coloration (compared to their close relatives the green wing macaw) and can be distinguished by the yellow feathers across the wing over the green and blue wing feather their body feathers are a lighter red (compared to the darker red in green wings). Also on their tails, they have several dark blue feathers. The Scarlet macaw is found in Central America, Mexico, Oaxaca, Panama, South America, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Guiana, and Trinidad. They particularly like the humid primary forest and woodlands below 3,300 feet, (altitude).

Their diet may consist of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, pellets, almonds, nuts, occasional seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, and such other such foods. Fresh water is also a must.

Scarlet Macaws need to be housed in as big of a cage as you can afford or an aviary, one thing is for the bird to be able to stretch its wings out as far as possible (which in Scarlet’s happens to be 44-47 inches) and not touch the sides. It also needs to be large enough so he/she will have enough room to be comfortable and still have plenty of toys to play with.

Macaws in general love toys and you should provide your macaw with many different types of toys. Some different types of toys are: wood (for them to chew/ destroy), leather for them to chew on, paper or shredable for them to shred, mental stimulation toys such as puzzles for them to use their brain to get a treat or such, foraging toys for them to learn natural foraging techniques, but these are just some idea’s.

Interaction with your bird is a must, you can’t just stick a bird in a cage with a perch and toy and expect them to be happy. Each day you need to bring the bird out of its cage or aviary and play with it, give it attention and lots of loving. Play games with your bird, like tug of war, or swinging them around which macaws love to do, or teach them new tricks. They just love the interaction they get and will love to be with the ones they own.

Daily Care is of course, feed and water every day, fresh food and water, and plenty of fresh veggies/fruits. Change the litter/liner/paper on the bottom of the cage to maintain your bird’s health. Also, you need to take your bird to an avian vet at least once a year for a yearly check up.

Breeding in captivity started in the 20th century. The ideal breeding age is about 4-8 years of age. The clutch size will be between 2-3 eggs. The incubation is about 26-28 day’s. Weaning is about 10 weeks a few months. It is about 16 weeks for fledging.

Scarlet macaw’s are wonderful and loving birds and deserve a loving home, so please take into account every aspect that the bird needs and make a good decision whether you are ready for a macaw just yet. So please take time to think about these things before you just go out and buy a bird. All we want is for the birds to be happy!

This article was written with the help of the book Macaws, a Barron’s book and the website, Animal World.

This information is provided by the “News from the Nest” newsletter.