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How Much Does a Scarlet Macaw Cost? (2021 Price Guide)

Nicole Cosgrove

Owning a Scarlet Macaw is not cheap. These species are a large bird that has red, yellow, and blue colors. Because of their size, they are high maintenance, therefore incurring more expenses.

So, how much does it cost to own a Scarlet Macaw? Let’s break down the estimated costs and expenses to guide you on how much you are likely to spend on these colorful birds.

Brief Overview

These birds are indigenous to the rainforest areas of South and Central America and like to live in humid environments at elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 feet. In the wild, Scarlet Macaws thrive in the canopy and topmost layers of the trees.

Their distinctively vivid colors and rarity have made these birds high in demand, making them more expensive than most birds. They are also very hardy and can live up to 75 years in captivity. Scarlet Macaws are highly intelligent and face-paced, making them popular pet birds.

If you are considering getting this bird as a pet, be prepared to spend some money on the purchase price and take care of the pet throughout its lifespan. These needs include food, grooming, exercise, and health care expenses.

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Bringing Home a New Scarlet Macaw: One-Time Costs

scarlet macaw looking down
Image Credit: ejbartennl, Pixabay

The one-time expenses for getting this Macaw include the purchase costs from the breeder or the adoption center. You’ll also need to plan for items such as a cage, toys, perches, and other accessories that the pet bird needs to live comfortably.

As a large bird, this species requires a sizeable cage that can hold it and allow the bird to flap its wings and fly around comfortably. Compared to smaller birds, you’ll spend more on this breed since they need larger toys and accessories.

When shopping for your Scarlet Macaw, here are some of the one-time costs you will incur.

Free

Because this is a large breed, it needs a lot of maintenance. Therefore, you may find people giving out their birds and accessories once they can’t handle all the expenses. To get these kinds of offers, it’s best to check online groups and platforms with other Macaw owners.

As you get the bird for free, you should be well equipped with other accessories and needs that your pet requires so that you can provide them a comfortable home.

Even though this bird is very expensive, you’ll find some owners giving it out for free.

Adoption

  • $600-$1,000+

Adoption is a better alternative if you want to get a Scarlet Macaw at a lower price and provide a better home. The costs at adoption centers are much lower than at the breeders, making it a good choice.

To identify the best place to adopt a Scarlet Macaw, you can research the local classified and adoption centers around your city or town. There are plenty of reputable organizations that you can contact to get a bird of your choice.

When adopting, you’ll only need to pay the fee that the organization has incurred while taking care of this bird. It’s usually a significantly lower fee than what you will get at the breeder.

In addition, you should only go to reputable organizations. You have a better chance at getting a bird that’s well taken care of and has no medical conditions.

Breeder

  • $2,000-$4,000+

Scarlet Macaws are pretty costly at the breeder. The price range depends on the breeder, its vibrancy, and if it was hand-raised, but you should expect a Scarlet Macaw to cost from $2,000 to over $4,000.

This breed is among the cheaper Macaws. Other species such as Hyacinth Macaws can go for up to $ 40,000. Therefore, purchasing a Scarlet is a much affordable venture.

The physical attributes of these birds play a significant role in influencing the price. The more colorful, intelligent, or rare the bird is, the more expensive it gets. Therefore, before committing to any of these vibrant birds, consider whether they are within your budget.

When getting this pet from the breeder; also, its critical to do your due diligence. You can tour the facility to confirm how the birds are being raised.

You can also ask for records that show the health and background of the Scarlet. This will ensure you don’t take home a sick bird which will incur you extra expenses.

two scarlet macaws
Image Credit: Angie Toh, Pixabay

Initial Setup and Supplies

  • $200-$850+

After purchasing or adopting the bird, the expenses don’t stop there. You need to buy some initial supplies that the bird needs to survive. It might be easier if you have other birds because you already know the basic supplies that a pet bird needs.

However, since the Scarlet Macaw is a large breed, you might not use the old supplies you had. They need larger cages, toys, and accessories, which you have to source afresh.

The prices of these initial supplies will depend on where you shop and your preferences. If you want to treat your bird to an expensive lifestyle, the expenses will be higher.

However, if you are on a budget, it’s much easier to source supplies from online stores or get second-hand ones that serve the same purpose. No matter which route you take, ensure that the items are high-quality. Poor quality products will last for a short time, and you’ll be forced to incur extra expenses to replace them.

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List of Scarlet Macaw Care Supplies and Costs

Bird Cage $400-$1,000
Cage Accessories $50-$150
Grooming Supplies $70
Toys $70
Food $20-$100
Nail Clipper (optional) $10-$12
Food Bowls and Water $20-$50
Cleaning Supplies $10-$25
Wing Scissors (optional) $10
Initial Vet Check-Up $50-$150
Swing $15-$40

How Much Does a Scarlet Macaw Cost Per Month?

  • $20-$800+ per month

Once you add the costs of food, vet care, and insurance, the monthly fee becomes huge, especially for large birds like Macaws. The expenses pile up, especially if your bird has a longer average lifespan. A well-taken care of Scarlet Macaw can survive more than 50 years, meaning your bird becomes an added expense for this entire time.

However, the expenses tend to decrease as the bird becomes older. The one-time costs are significantly higher because of the supplies. But as you continue keeping the bird, you’ll incur fewer costs.

After getting these initial supplies, owners need to budget for recurrent expenditure and emergency costs.

scarlet macaw on tree branch
Image Credit: 9954313, Pixabay

Health Care and Medications

  • $150-$1,000+ per month

Like other Macaws, this bird species is prone to plucking. To avoid this, you’ll need to buy more toys as a distraction. However, if this doesn’t work, you’ll have to occasionally take your bird to the avian vet for a check-up.

Avian veterinarians are well equipped to deal with exotic birds such as the Scarlet Macaw. Therefore, you should schedule a regular check-up with one to confirm that your bird is in good health.

They’ll also advise and recommend medications when your bird is sick. To avoid incurring a lot of expenses, set up an emergency fund for medical emergencies.

An annual check-up is essential because birds tend to hide their illnesses. If they are constantly checked, it becomes easier to detect medical issues before they become severe.

If your Scarlet Macaw is older, you can take them to the avian vet after every six months. As the birds grow older, they become prone to more health conditions.

In addition, you should consult with your vet whether your pet bird needs any vaccinations. Pet birds get some vaccinations to boost their immune system; therefore, it would be best if your bird also got the protection.

Like other birds, these Macaws are also prone to parasitic infections. Your vet will provide the necessary medication to keep the parasites at bay.

Food

  • $50-$100+ per month

Feeding your Scarlet Macaw the proper food is very important. A nutritious diet keeps your pet healthy and strong.

If they are healthy, you incur fewer expenses on health care. Macaws have more expensive bird food than other parrots. They require a variety of foods to keep a healthy diet.

Your local stores and online stores have various high-quality seed diets, whole foods, and pelleted foods that you can choose from. The costs you incur will depend on the brand, quantity, and nutritional value of the food.

For a properly balanced diet, a Scarlet Macaw needs fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Seed mixes should make up between 5-10% of the total diet. A good quality bag of seed mix goes for $15-$50. It’s better to shop brands specifically meant for Macaws to get the best combination of nutrients.

The pellet mix should make up at least 75% of the diet. A quality bag will cost you around $20-$60 each time.

Finally, fruits and vegetables should be 10-20% of the daily dietary intake. These products will cost you $5-$15 at the grocery store. Ensure that your Scarlet Macaw is getting a proper balance of all these nutrients.

Suppose you are not sure how much your bird should consume daily; consult an avian vet to guide you on the dietary requirements. The amount of food sometimes differs according to the age and health of your pet bird.

scarlet macaw eating
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Grooming

  • $10-$20+ per month

The grooming budget for a Scarlet Macaw is not very huge. You need to have some bath water for the bird to shower occasionally.

You also need to keep the nails trimmed as well as the beak and wings. The items required for these grooming sessions need to be bought once and replaced only when they get damaged. Therefore, it’s cost-effective.

You also don’t need new grooming products every month. However, you’ll need to include items such as bird soap and shampoo in your monthly budget.

Pet Insurance

  • $30-$100+ per month

The frequent visits to the avian vet are costly. If your pet bird is sick, you’ll need to also get medication that increases the healthcare budget. These costs are expensive enough without including emergence expenses and accidents.

To make it easier to cover medical costs for your Scarlet Macaw, you can sign up for pet insurance. Getting on a plan will make it easier for you to cater to any unexpected expenses that involve a vet visit.

Environmental Maintenance

  • $20-$50+ per month

Macaws can be high maintenance due to their size; therefore, the costs may be steep. Once you get a bird like this, you need to make the cage as comfortable as possible. The cage will require cage liners and perches to protect the bird from getting feet sores.

Unlike other pets such as dogs and cats, environmental maintenance doesn’t require many items, which makes it easier for the owners.

Chew Toys $20-$50 annually
Cage Liners $30
Trash Can $25
Miscellaneous $50-$100

Entertainment

  • $100-$200+ per month

Macaws love to chew on things, especially toys! You’ll need to get bigger toys, which means they’ll cost more.

The other downside is that Macaws love destroying their toys and may damage them in the shortest time possible. When this happens, you have to replace the toys and incur more expenses; therefore, you need to have a side budget.

Like other parrots, they require lots of stimulation to keep their intelligent and curious minds entertained. Chew toys are one of the ways to make this happen. Otherwise, they’ll become destructive to items in your house if they can’t access these toys.

The cage will also need accessories such as perches, lights, stands, and harnesses for your Scarlet Macaw. These accessories can be pretty expensive depending on the brand you get, the size, and the quality. You can check online stores for quality and more affordable accessories to save cash.

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

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Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Scarlet Macaw

  • $20-$1,000+ per month

A Scarlet Macaw will cost you more than $500 per month, depending on the needs and where you source items. The monthly costs include the food, vet visits, entertainment, environmental maintenance, and grooming needs.

Compared to other parrots, these large birds will cost you more. Therefore, if you plan to get one, it’s best to budget for emergencies.

Additional Costs to Factor In

On top of the monthly costs, you need to set some money aside for occasional additional expenses such as cage repairs, replacing toys, extra food, and medication.

Apart from these typical expenses, there are miscellaneous expenses that you’ll incur if you need a pet sitter when you go to work or on vacation. You have to pay them an hourly rate which is an added expense. The bird needs to be fed and taken care of; therefore, you can’t avoid the cost.

Scarlet Macaws go through toys very fast. To keep them entertained, you’ll need to restock new toys occasionally.

Owning a Scarlet Macaw on a Budget

Taking care of a large bird such as Scarlet Macaw is pretty expensive. But if you research well, there are ways to bring the costs down.

Instead of going to the breeders or pet stores to source the bird, you can opt to adopt one or search the local classified for anyone giving out a bird for free. This will save you substantial initial costs.

Also, when sourcing for pet supplies, you can choose to purchase second-hand items or check out discounted products online. This tactic allows you to maintain your Macaw at a reasonable and affordable price.

scarlet macaw close up
Image Credit: Angie Toh, Pixabay

Saving Money on Scarlet Macaw Care

These birds have an average long life expectancy. Since you already know their diet and nutritional requirements, you can save money by buying food in bulk. This tip allows you to avoid spending money every month to restock.

Your cage must also have perches, ladders, and stands. To save money, you can make some homemade toys and accessories for your bird. These items are pretty easy to make and significantly reduce the amount of money you’ll spend while buying accessories for your Macaw.

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Scarlet Macaws are expensive pet birds to own. Their stunning colors and rarity increase the demand among bird lovers.

They are a large bird; therefore, require a lot more maintenance than smaller parrots. If you want to keep this species, you can either source one at the breeders or adoption centers.

You’ll need a proper budget to own one of these birds. They need a nutritious diet, lots of exercise, toys, frequent vet visits, and grooming. All these items require cash. To save on the amount of money you spend, you can easily seek cheaper but quality alternatives.

Scarlet Macaws might be expensive, but they make an excellent pet choice. They are intelligent, affectionate, and easy-going. If you research cheaper alternatives, this bird is an easy bird to take care of.


Featured Image Credit: Angie Toh, 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.