The Complete Profile, History, and Care of the Blue and Gold Macaw

Blue and Gold Macaw

One of the most well-liked giant parrots is the blue and gold macaw, which is stunning, engaging, intellectual, and magnificent. These stunning creatures in vivid colors are much more than simply attractive faces; they are brimming with character and hilarious appeal. They are among the more well-known birds in the world and make wonderful pets for those who are able to care for a big parrot that needs plenty of attention.

Species Overview

Common Names: Blue and gold macaw, blue and yellow macaw

Scientific Name: Ara ararauna

Adult Size: 33 inches from beak to tail feathers, wingspan can reach 40 inches or more, and they typically weigh over 2 pounds

Life Expectancy: Can live 60 or more years, although most live about 30 years; some blue and golds have lived up to 100 or more

Origin and History

In the wild, blue and gold macaws enjoy a wide range from Panama in Central America, extending into almost every country of northern South America. They have also been introduced in Puerto Rico.

Although they can be found on a grassy savannah if it includes towering trees, blue and golds mainly reside in woods near rivers and marshes. The macaw prefers to fly in pairs, although it occasionally travels in huge flocks at specific periods of the year or congregates in the morning and evening to look for food.

Blue and golds in the wild are a threatened species. The degradation of habitat, hunting, and trapping have all contributed significantly to their population fall in the wild. Sadly, these young birds were frequently removed from their nests and sold for the pet trade prior to captive breeding initiatives. Many parrot infants did not survive, and many protective parents lost their lives defending their young.

The blue and golds have been successfully bred in the United States since 1935. One of the more economical giant parrots because to their widespread availability of breeders.

Temperament

Their sociability and even, sweet disposition makes blue and gold macaws a great pet. Their intelligence, willingness to learn, and talking ability are a plus.

Blue and gold finches are excellent at acclimating to various humans and other birds when given the opportunity to mingle with a range of individuals. The blue and gold bird is great for stunts. They frequently steal the show at bird exhibitions, and many owners may even take them for errand runs using car seats and bird leashes.

Around the house, these macaws may act like friendly dogs. They enjoy being near their owners and seek out attention. They are also content on their perch, watching the activity around them.

Speech and Vocalizations

The ear-shattering cries of blue and gold macaws are sometimes disregarded by nearby residents. They are not the ideal option if you have young children who are easily frightened by noise or if you live in an apartment or condominium.

This bird can learn new things rapidly, is a terrific talker, and seeks to please. As long as you are consistent, training is rather straightforward. They have a vocabulary of around 20 words and phrases that they can learn. Many people think they are one of the greatest talking parrots because of how clear their voice is.

Blue and Gold Macaw Colors and Markings

The two most noticeable feather colors of blue and gold macaws are the source of their popular name. Their normal coloration is green on the forehead, fading to on the back, tail, and wings. Bright golden yellow may be seen on the breast, bottom of the wings, and belly.

These birds have broad black beaks and a black feather patch directly under their beaks. Their eyes are surrounded by little black feather rings, and the majority of their face is covered in white patches of skin.

As a monotypic species, blue and gold macaws consist of just one type of bird. However, according to experts in birds, there are actually two variants or subspecies. These include the blue-throated macaw, which has a teal blue neck instead of a black throat, and the bolivian blue and gold macaw, a bigger bird with more of a true blue coloration than the common turquoise.

The males and females of this species of bird are hardly identifiable from one another since they are monomorphic. Many people held the belief that the female had a smaller beak and the male has a flatter head, and that surgical or genetic sexing was the only way to determine the gender of this macaw.

Caring for a Blue and Gold Macaw

The blue and gold macaw thrives on human attention, as do the most of them, and will develop close bonds with members of its family. If you don't take the time to socialize these birds correctly and provide them enough cerebral stimulation, they can start screaming out of boredom.

These noisy birds need a that is at least 5-feet tall, 3- or 4-feet wide, and at least 4-feet long. The bird requires a lot of space to spread its wings, move about, hop and climb, and keep itself busy.

Some owners even have a dedicated, bird-safe room. Since these birds gnaw on almost anything, remove electrical wires, jewelry, and wooden furniture.

The cost of ownership should also be taken into account before making a decision to purchase this bird. Consider the cost of the bird itself as well as the fees for the avian vet, premium food, and additional expenses for a cage, a play stand, and toys.

Common Health Problems

Macaws may be long-lived birds, but, like all parrots, they are prone to a viral infection called macaw wasting syndrome and overgrown beaks.

If they feel ignored or bored, blue and gold parrots, like other parrots, may turn to self-mutilation through feather plucking.

Maintaining pet bird health requires a balanced diet and enough activity. This bird is prone to gaining weight, having fatty liver disease, and getting fat tumors.

Diet and Nutrition

In the wild, most macaws, including blue-and-gold macaws, eat a variety of seeds, plant material, fruits, and nuts.

A diversified diet made up of as many different varieties of as possible should be provided to captive blue and gold macaws. Additionally, the bird should consume a high-quality pelleted meal that includes some beneficial seeds like flax, hemp, and chia. Avoid many nut snacks because they contain a lot of fat.

Depending on its size, each macaw will consume between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of parrot mix and between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of fruits and vegetables each day. You can feed it twice a day: once when it wakes up in the morning and once before bed. Before going to bed, throw away all leftovers.

Apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangos, papayas, and berries are among the fruits that macaws like eating. Carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and leafy greens are examples of healthy veggies. Never give birds avocado, chocolate, or rhubarb since they are poisonous to them. Offer nuts like macadamia, walnut, pecan, almonds, and hazelnuts as an occasional reward while exercise.

Exercise

Birds that are active are blue and gold macaws. They like chewing, swinging, bouncing, and climbing. For the bird to stretch and use its muscles, owners should allow it to play outside of the cage for at least 2 to 3 hours each day.

These birds' jaw muscles are strong. To maintain their jaws strong and healthy, they must chew and gnaw. Since the blue and gold's beak is reputed to be corrosive, sturdy toys are a need. Provide leather chew toys that are suitable for birds to use, and keep additional on hand in case any are damaged.

Exploratory toys with nooks and crannies provide mental enrichment. The bird uses its big beak to investigate items. A bird gets satisfaction upon breaking things open or pulling them apart.

Pros
  • Intelligent, can learn to speak and perform tricks

  • Gets along well with others (birds and humans)

  • More affordable macaw species

Cons
  • Can be noisy, not well-suited for apartments

  • Requires at least 2 to 4 hours of supervised out-of-cage time

  • Large bird that requires a sizeable cage

Where to Adopt or Buy a Blue and Gold Macaw

A trustworthy breeder or adoption center should be used to purchase a blue and gold macaw. Ask breeders if you can visit them and their birds for a while. Before deciding if you should raise these birds, consult someone who has expertise doing so. They cost between $1,000 and $2,000 each.

Some online sources where you can find blue and gold macaws include:

  • Birds Breeders
  • Petfinder
  • Birds of Paradise

Check to see if the bird you wish to bring home is awake, engaged, and has all the characteristics of a healthy bird, including bright eyes, tidy feathers, and full crops.

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

Parrots similar to the blue and gold macaw include: 

Otherwise, check out other kinds of .

CITATION

"Proventricular Dilatation in Birds. VCA Animal Hospitals.", "Feather Problems in Birds. VCA Animal Hospitals.", "Nutritional Disorders of Pet Birds. Merck Veterinary Manual.", "Fruits and Vegetables in Birds' Diets. VCA Animal Hospitals." ;

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