Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Birds > How Long Do Scarlet Macaws Live? Vet Reviewed Average Lifespan, Data & Care

How Long Do Scarlet Macaws Live? Vet Reviewed Average Lifespan, Data & Care

scarlet macaw

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) are large, colorful neotropical parrots native to the Americas. They are found in the wild and in captivity where they make long-lived and highly intelligent pets. These large parrots can grow up to 32 inches long and stand out with their striking red, blue, yellow, and orange plumage.

As with most parrots, the Scarlet Macaw has a lengthy lifespan that makes them a lifelong pet to commit to care for. This article will discuss the Scarlet Macaws’ average lifespan and how you can ensure they receive the proper care to meet or exceed it.


Scarlet Macaws Average Lifespan

The average lifespan of Scarlet Macaws is about 50 to 80 years. However, they can potentially live for 100 years with proper care and veterinary treatment when necessary. Scarlet Macaws are one of the longest-living species of parrot in the world. Their lengthy lifespan should be thoroughly considered if you plan to keep one as a pet.

Most people are not ready to care for a pet possibly for the rest of their life. A Scarlet Macaw’s lifespan easily surpasses the average lifespan of other popular pet parrots such as Senegal parrots and Parakeets.

Many Scarlet Macaw owners are encouraged to include these parrots in their wills, as they have the potential to outlive us. It is important that someone can willingly care for your Scarlet Macaw if you were to pass away.

scarlet macaw close up
Image Credit: Angie Toh, Pixabay

How Long Do Scarlet Macaws Live in the Wild?

There are about 50,000 Scarlet Macaws in the wild inhabiting savannas and deciduous forests of South and Central America1. The lifespan of wild Scarlet Macaws is slightly shorter than in captivity at about 40 to 65 years. Wild Scarlet Macaws face predators, diseases, habitat destruction, and invasive species that could reduce their lifespan.

Most well-cared-for Scarlet Macaws do not have the same threats in captivity.


How to Care for Your Scarlet Macaw for a Long Lifespan?

Let’s take a look below at how you can care for your Scarlet Macaw properly to help them live a long and healthy life.

Feeding & Diet

A proper diet is the key to keeping your Scarlet Macaw healthy. Scarlet Macaws are herbivores, so their wild diet consists of vegetation, nuts, seeds, berries, and fruits. Replicating their wild diet in captivity is a great way to ensure your Scarlet Macaw receives all the nutrients they need. You should opt to feed a diet that an avian veterinarian has approved.

Generally, Scarlet Macaws will eat a mixture of pelleted foods, supplements, vegetables, and fresh fruits. You want to limit or exclude human foods from their diet, such as popcorn, chips, breads, and porridges high in sugar. Any toxic foods such as avocados and chocolates should not be fed at all.

scarlet macaw eating
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay


The environment can play a major role in how long your Scarlet Macaw lives. Scarlet Macaws are large birds, with most adults exceeding a length of 30 inches. Therefore, these parrots require very big cages with plenty of space to stretch their wings and move around comfortably without being cramped.

Their cage should be secure and safe to prevent your Scarlet Macaw from escaping or injuring themselves. Ideally, you should include plenty of toys and accessories in their cage to keep them entertained.

Other than their cage, you should pay attention to their surrounding environment. Their cage should be placed in a quiet room with a stable, comfortable temperature. No scented candles, sprays, essential oils, or incense should be used in the same room as these parrots because they are dangerous to them.


Caring for a Scarlet Macaw properly is essential if you want to maintain a healthy lifespan. Here’s what their care entails.

  • Scarlet Macaws require a healthy and balanced diet that meets their nutritional requirements.
  • They need to be kept in a well-maintained and spacious cage with toys and accessories for enrichment.
  • Their cage should be regularly cleaned using non-toxic solutions.
  • Scarlet Macaws should be taken to an avian veterinarian when necessary or for a health evaluation.
  • They need plenty of mental stimulation and time outside their cage to prevent boredom.


A clean cage is essential for your Scarlet Macaw’s health and well-being. You will need to dedicate a few minutes of your day to cleaning their cage. You can do regular spot cleans daily, and a major clean-up a few times a month. Spot cleaning their cage involves removing uneaten food, cleaning poop off of surfaces in the cage, and replacing soiled cage liners. A deeper cage cleaner would be wiping and washing surfaces and accessories in the cage using non-toxic cleaning solutions.

scarlet macaw looking down
Image Credit: ejbartennl, Pixabay


Scarlet Macaws are monogamous parrots that can bond for life. They are often observed in small flocks in the wild. In captivity, it is recommended to avoid keeping these parrots alone and to house them in pairs or small groups. A lonely Scarlet Macaw might become stressed and unhappy. Keep in mind that the more Scarlet Macaws you keep together, the larger the cage needs to be.


Once you commit to owning a Scarlet Macaw, you also commit to providing them with veterinary treatment when necessary. You will need to take your Scarlet Macaw to an avian veterinarian when they are sick, injured, or require a routine health evaluation. Experts at VCA Animal Hospitals recommend owners take their birds for an annual health examination. This is a routine visit that allows the veterinarian to check up on your parrot’s health.

Your Scarlet Macaw’s health is a top priority, and veterinary treatment is a necessity and not optional.


The 7 Life Stages of a Scarlet Macaw

The general life stages of birds are summarized below:

  • Neonatal stage: Scarlet Macaws hatch blind because their eyelids are shut. They do not have any feathers and rely on their parents for basic survival for the first few weeks of life.
  • Nestling stage: Scarlet Macaws will open their eyes about 2 weeks after hatching. Their bodies have likely started developing feathers during this stage.
  • Fledgling stage: By the time the Scarlet Macaws are a few months old, they will begin learning to fly. They would have already developed most of their adult feathers.
  • Weanling stage: Scarlet Macaws are considered weanlings at about 2 to 3 months old. They can fly quite well and begin foraging for food on their own.
  • Juvenile stage: Scarlet Macaws are juveniles when they become independent and no longer rely on their parents for survival.
  • Mature stage: At 3 to 4 years old, most Scarlet Macaws are mature.
  • Geriatric stage: Scarlet Macaws are considered old once they stop breeding. You might begin to notice signs of their old age by the time they are 50 years old, though many will stop breeding earlier.


How to Tell Your Scarlet Macaw’s Age

Once a Scarlet Macaw is fully grown, there is no accurate way to tell, just by looking at them, how old they are. Most reputable Scarlet Macaw breeders will be able to tell you how old their parrots are. If you get your Scarlet Macaw from a rescue center or rehoming site, you will have to request the approximate age of the bird.

The easiest way to determine the age of a Scarlet Macaw is by looking for a date on the identification band on their leg. If the date is not on the band, you could try looking up the registry code to find a date of birth. If you suspect you have an older Scarlet Macaw that can no longer breed, then they are likely over 35 years old.

two scarlet macaws
Image Credit: Angie Toh, Pixabay



Scarlet Macaws are large parrots that can live for up to 100 years. However, most Scarlet Macaws only live for about 50 to 80 years in captivity. Their lifespan is significantly shorter in the wild at only 40 to 65 years long. You can help prolong your Scarlet Macaws’ lifespan by ensuring they are cared for properly and get veterinary treatment when they are sick or injured.

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit: Angie Toh, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets