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How Old Do Scarlet Macaws Get? (Min & Max Lifespan)

Nicole Cosgrove

The Scarlett Macaw is a beautiful parrot with gorgeous red and green plumage. They are one of the most popular pet parrots in the world. These large birds are typically 32–40 inches tall, with characteristic white circles surrounding their eyes and large, tough beaks. They have a large natural habitat that extends throughout central and southern South America, preferring the humid evergreen forests. Unfortunately, they are under threat in their natural habitat due to the pet trade and deforestation, but efforts are being made to increase their population.

If you are thinking about bringing home one of these exotic birds, you may be wondering how long they live for on average. In this article, we look at the lifespans of Scarlett Macaws, both in the wild and in captivity, along with a few of the factors that can affect their lifespans and how you can help extend them. Let’s dive in!

divider-birdsScarlet Macaw’s Lifespan in the Wild

Scarlet Macaws are hardy, healthy birds, and in the wild, they typically live for up to 50 years, barring any injuries or illnesses. Since Scarlett Macaws are so large, they are not viewed as prey by many animals and are most vulnerable to predators while still in their nests. Hatchlings can easily fall prey to snakes, birds, and even monkeys. Adults are sometimes preyed upon by large cats or eagles, although this is somewhat rare. Of course, poaching and smuggling are constant threats for these birds, but in general, they live long, peaceful lives in the wild.

two scarlet macaws in the wild
Image Credit: Julssxx, Pixabay

Scarlet Macaw’s Lifespan in Captivity

Without the threat to their habitat or from predators, Scarlett Macaws have much longer lifespans in captivity. On average, they can live for a minimum of 40–50 years, but some often live to 75 years and beyond with immaculate care.

Their lifespan in captivity depends on many factors, and feeding your Macaw a healthy, balanced diet and keeping them in a stress-free environment with plenty of space and regular interaction will go a long way in extending their lifespan. A well-cared-for Macaw in captivity will likely outlive their owner or certainly any other pets in the home. This is why owning one of these birds is such a massive responsibility, and you should plan accordingly in case something should happen to you.

What Factors Affect a Scarlet Macaw’s Lifespan?

One of the most important factors affecting your Macaw’s lifespan is their diet. Just like any other pet, a poor diet leads to obesity, malnutrition, and a weakened immune system, along with many other health problems. It will leave your bird susceptible to disease and poor overall health. Feed your Macaw primarily specially formulated parrot pellets and seed mixes, with occasional parrot-safe fruits and vegetables to be sure they are getting a balanced diet. Avoid giving them any human foods, no matter how strong the temptation!

Another important factor is genetics, so you should make sure to purchase your Macaw from a reputable breeder to ensure that your bird is free from any genetic problems. Backyard breeders do not adhere to proper breeding methods and may breed the same birds over and over again purely to make money, resulting in weakened genetics. Also, this is simply an industry that you do not want to support.

Stress also has a huge part to play in the lifespan of your Macaw. High levels of stress can severely affect the health and thus, the lifespan of your parrot. Small, cramped cages with not enough time outside of them will cause massive stress to your bird because they cannot exercise themselves. A lack of regular interaction and stimulation can also cause them stress because they are inherently social animals that need regular interaction, either with other birds or their owner. Finally, hearing too many loud noises or feeling threatened by other pets or even people can also cause a ton of stress for these birds. They need to live in a calm, relaxed environment.

Of course, even with all these factors taken care of, disease and illness can strike suddenly. It’s highly recommended to take your Macaw to an avian vet every 6 months or so to make sure they are healthy and disease-free. Any issues can then be dealt with early, before they get too bad.

scarlet macaw
Image Credit: Angie Toh, Pixabay

 

divider-birdsFinal Thoughts

Macaws have incredibly long lifespans, even in the wild, and as pets, they often outlive their owners. That said, a healthy diet, a stress-free environment, and plenty of exercise and interaction all have massive parts to play in the longevity of your Macaw. With all these factors taken care of, your Scarlett Macaw can easily live up to 50 years and beyond!


Featured Image Credit: ejbartennl, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.