The largest of all macaw species, hyacinth macaws, also known as blue macaws, make quite the first impression! Because these gorgeous birds are endangered in the wild, they can be very hard to find as pets. In addition, they are not the easiest macaws to keep due to their size, food and habitat needs, and noisiness. While hyacinth macaws can be great companions for an experienced bird owner, you should consider carefully whether you can afford the cost of buying and caring for this bird. In this article, we’ll cover both the one-time and ongoing costs of owning a hyacinth macaw.
Bringing Home a New Hyacinth Macaw: One-Time Costs
Because they are so rare, prices of blue macaws are going to be pricier than those of a more common macaw species. They will also be more difficult to find for sale. In contrast, for example, blue and gold macaw prices are among the lowest of all macaws because they are so widespread.
Besides the cost to purchase a hyacinth macaw, you will need to budget for some other one-time costs to get your bird settled and comfortable in their new home.
Due to their rarity, it’s unlikely you will be able to luck out and get a blue macaw for free. That being said, sometimes owners will underestimate their ability to care for such a large bird and need to rehome them. Even so, you will need to make sure you can afford the ongoing costs of caring for a hyacinth macaw. More on that later!
Hyacinth macaws are only rarely available for adoption. However, if you are patient, it’s possible you could find one through an exotic bird rescue. Because blue macaws live so long, they often outlive their owners and end up in a rescue.
A hyacinth macaw costs between $5,000 and over $12,000, which is going to be the biggest one-time cost you need to plan for. The age of the macaw, as well as how tame they are, will impact their price. Be cautious of blue macaw prices advertised at too-good-to-be-true prices, as scams are unfortunately common.
Another concern when buying a hyacinth macaw is that they are illegal to capture from the wild. Make certain that you are buying a captive-bred bird from a reputable breeder. If not, you could find yourself facing fines for owning an illegal bird.
Initial Setup and Supplies
Besides the cost of buying a blue macaw, you will need to prepare for some other initial costs as well. These include the cost of a cage or habitat for these large birds, vet costs, and sometimes even the cost to ship one of these hard-to-find birds. Be sure you have your macaw’s new living situation all prepared before you bring them home.
List of Hyacinth Macaw Care Supplies and Costs
|Nail/Wing Clipper (optional)||$8|
|Food and Water Bowls||$10|
How Much Does a Hyacinth Macaw Cost Per Month?
$123–$524 per month
After you get your new hyacinth macaw all set up, you will have some ongoing monthly costs to deal with as well. The biggest monthly cost you will have is food, because hyacinth macaws eat a somewhat specialized diet compared to other species. Other monthly costs to consider will be vet care, toys, and keeping your bird’s living space clean and fresh.
$45–$436 per month
Keeping your hyacinth macaw healthy involves more than just taking them to the vet once a year. You also need to feed them the right diet and make sure their beak, nails, and wings are properly trimmed. Unfortunately, like all pets, hyacinth macaws can suffer illnesses, accidents, or other veterinary emergencies that are often expensive. A pet insurance policy can help make it easier to cover these unexpected health care costs.
$40–$60 per month
Hyacinth macaws require a diet with higher fat than other macaw species. In addition to high-quality pellet food, they need to eat a quantity of nuts daily to meet their fat requirements. Macadamia nuts or brazil nuts are two options they could eat. Blue macaws also need a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Because of their size, hyacinth macaws eat a lot, resulting in higher monthly food costs.
$0–$60 per month
Hyacinth macaws generally keep themselves pretty clean if given access to a birdbath or regular misting. However, you will need to keep their nails, beaks, and wings trimmed regularly. It is not recommended to trim your bird’s beak at home, although giving plenty of hard chew toys can help keep it short. If not, you will need to have your veterinarian or groomer do it. You can have your veterinarian trim your macaw’s wings and nails too or ask them to teach you how to do it.
Medications and Vet Visits
$0–$300 per month
At a minimum, your hyacinth macaw should have a yearly checkup with an exotic pet veterinarian. Sometimes, your vet will also recommend blood or stool checks to catch any potential health problems early. As your bird gets older, they may develop health conditions that require regular medications or more frequent visits to the vet. Remember, hyacinth macaws can live a lot longer than a dog or cat, up to 60 years sometimes!
$5–$16 per month
That 60-year lifespan gives a hyacinth macaw a lot of opportunities to get sick or have an accident. While emergency vet care for birds doesn’t always cost as much as for a dog or cat, it can still add up. Pet insurance for your bird can help cover emergency medical costs and, depending on the policy, even some routine preventative care.
$28 per month
Like all birds, hyacinth macaws can be quite messy, even more so due to their size. You will need to budget for keeping their living space clean and tidy each month. Hyacinth macaws also need access to plenty of toys to chew on and keep them entertained. Because their beaks are so strong, they are tough on their toys and you can expect to need replacements often.
$50–$60 per month
Hyacinth macaws need a regular supply of toys to keep them entertained. They love to chew and because their beaks are so powerful, they will go through a lot of toys. A good way to budget for all that destruction is to subscribe to a monthly toy box. That way your hyacinth macaw will always have a fresh set of toys to keep them occupied.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Hyacinth Macaw
$123–$524 per month
Keep in mind that these monthly costs are estimates that can vary based on costs in your particular area. In addition, your costs will be impacted by how old your blue macaw is, as well as how many birds you have. Hyacinth macaws are social birds who enjoy company and you might find that they need another feathered friend.
Additional Costs to Factor In
Budgeting for one-time costs and monthly costs can be done fairly accurately but owning any pet, including a hyacinth macaw, always comes with additional or unexpected costs. For example, who will care for your blue macaw when you go out of town? Boarding or pet-sitting could cost between $15-$65 per day.
You also might want to consider keeping $1,000-$1,500 in an emergency fund to pay for any unexpected medical bills or home repairs caused by a bored blue macaw with a beak strong enough to crack coconuts.
Owning a Hyacinth Macaw On a Budget
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many costs you can cut to own a hyacinth macaw simply because the biggest cost is probably going to be getting the bird itself. Again, you may be fortunate enough to be able to rescue one of these rare birds but it will require a lot of patience. Once you have them home, they will require a high level of commitment and care that unfortunately, is going to cost money. Hyacinth macaws are simply not pets that are easy to own on a budget.
Saving Money on Hyacinth Macaw Care
Besides the high cost of the blue macaw itself, buying a large enough cage or enclosure to house it in can be the next most expensive. If you have space and don’t mind the cleaning, you can save money by giving your hyacinth macaw their own room in your house instead. These birds enjoy having extra space to stretch their wings and fly anyway so this solution can save money and make your bird happier too.
Other options to save money are to buy your macaw’s nuts and pellet food in bulk. Pet insurance, while a monthly expense, can still save money in the long run by helping cover large vet bills.
Bringing home a hyacinth macaw is going to be the largest expense in owning one. Besides costing an average of $10,000 to buy, blue macaws are too big for standard-sized cages and usually require either an aviary or a custom-made large cage, both of which are expensive. Once you have your macaw at home, monthly costs will be similar to other large macaws, with the added expense of a monthly nut budget to meet the blue macaw’s need for a fatty diet.
Besides the cost commitment, you will need to be certain you can meet the time and attention needs of the hyacinth macaw. These birds can live up to 60 years, which means they could very well outlive you depending on how old both of you are when you get one. Make sure you have a plan in place for your blue macaw’s care should that be the case. Blue macaws are also social birds who need a lot of attention and an experienced owner to make sure they are raised and tamed properly. If this will be your first time owning a pet bird, consider another less expensive type that may be easier to care for than the hyacinth macaw.
Featured Image Credit: Erika Kirkpatrick, Shutterstock