Macaws are the largest of parrot breeds in existence, but with multiple species in existence, these birds range in size when compared to one another. These are popular birds, but many people do not know much about them. This makes sense because they are not common pets like cats and dogs are. They are rarely seen in public, and they tend to get overlooked in pet shops when it comes to adopting animals. However, everyone should know at least a little bit about these fascinating parrots. Here are six fun facts that you likely never knew about macaws.
The 6 Facts About Macaws
1. They Mate for Life
Macaws are known to find a partner of the opposite sex and then stick with that partner for life, especially after conceiving for the first time. These partnered macaws support each other and help each other raise their young to optimize the chance that the offspring will make it to adulthood.
Macaw mates typically enjoy activities such as eating together and grooming each other, both in the wild and while living in captivity. The males tend to hunt for food and bring it back for their female companions and babies, while the females “tend house” and incubate eggs when necessary.
2. They Are Loud and Boisterous
Macaws are known for talking, but many do not know just how loud and boisterous these birds can be! Some macaws spend all day chatting, squawking, mimicking people, yelling, screaming, ad even fake crying if they are allowed to. These birds are highly interactive and will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are not ignored, which includes purposefully annoying their human companions until attention is brought upon them. When macaws make noise, they are extremely loud, so their calls and interactions are considered impossible to ignore.
3. They Live a Long Time
Believe it or not, these birds can live up to 80 years of age! Most live to be between 50 and 60 years old before passing away, but some make it to a ripe old age that rivals or even outlasts their human counterparts. Their long lives require a serious, long-term commitment from anyone who considers caring for one of these birds. Prospective owners should make alternative care arrangements for their macaws, especially if they are acquiring a bird during middle age.
4. Their Plumes Are Used by Human Tribes
Many human tribes around the world, especially in tropical areas, use the discarded plumes of macaws and other types of parrots to create headdresses. The macaw’s plumes were traded between tribes because they were thought to bring good luck and encourage healing through color. Therefore, the feathers ended up all over the world as time went on. The average macaw plume offers color, vibrance, and unique style to headdresses, which is why they are still used by tribes today (especially in the Amazon rainforests) to create headpieces.
5. Their Beaks Are Extremely Strong
Macaws are designed to eat nuts and seeds in the wild, which is why their beaks are so strong. These birds have been known to crack through thick, tough coconuts! No shell, whether from a macadamia nut or a sunflower seed, is an effective deterrent for macaws.
Therefore, pet macaws can be dangerous to children and strangers who do not know how to properly interact with them. A macaw can break a person’s finger if it clamps down with its beak hard enough. The biting power of a macaw should always be kept in mind when handling this animal. Gentleness, patience, and respect are always necessary during interactions.
6. Some Are Critically Endangered
According to many resources, such as the Macaw Recovery Network, some macaws are critically endangered, while others are quickly becoming endangered throughout their natural habitats. Only about 300 macaws are living in the wild throughout Costa Rica, and just about 4,000 scarlet macaws are located in Central America. Endangerment is typically caused by the destruction of natural habitat, the encroachment of human farmlands and dwellings, and poaching.
Macaws are gorgeous, interesting birds that deserve attention from humans around the world. Their majestic behavior and interactive personalities make them great pets, but they can also be admired from afar in the wild where they thrive. Now that you know a little more about macaws, what is your favorite aspect of this bird? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Featured Image Credit by AKKHARAT JARUSILAWON, Shutterstock