Full Information, History, and Care for the Green-Wing Macaw

Green-wing macaw

The green-wing macaw, which is the second-largest parrot species in terms of size behind the hyacinth macaw, is sometimes referred to as a gentle giant because of its placid nature. For those who have the space and leisure to take care of such a huge bird, its beautiful color and temperament make it a great family pet.

Species Overview

Common Names: Green-wing macaw, red and green macaw

Scientific Name: Ara chloroptera

Adult Size: 40 inches long with a 49-inch wingspan, weighing 3 3/4 pounds

Life expectancy is 50 years, however some green-wing macaws have been known to live into their 80s.

Origin and History

Numerous tropical lowland forests in Central and South America, including those in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Peru, Suriname, French Guiana, Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia, are home to the green-wing macaw. It inhabits a region that is almost entirely shared with the blue-and-gold macaw.

Since the 17th century, green-wing macaws have been maintained in captivity. During the 19th century, captive breeding efforts took off and were quite effective. Nowadays, it is not difficult to locate green-wing macaws that have been reared in captivity. The native habitat of this macaw, like that of many other tropical species, has been severely diminished, and many of them continue to be seized for the illegal parrot trade.

Temperament

Green-wing macaws are often even-tempered, friendly, and docile. They are amiable and need to talk to you for a few hours each day. These birds are intelligent; they can pick up language and do tricks.

They are one of the biggest parrot species and have very strong beaks. Despite being one of the friendliest parrot species, a green-wing macaw with behavioral issues might pose a bite risk to households with young children (and little fingers). If you or the other humans in their flock do not provide them enough attention, the majority of parrot species will exhibit behavioral problems.

Speech and Vocalizations

Although it can be trained to say roughly 15 words, the green-wing macaw is not well renowned for its speaking prowess. For instance, this bird will shriek and cry when it is agitated, feels threatened, or needs attention. This bird has a booming voice. People who live in apartments or other confined spaces shouldn't have a pet of this type.

Green-Wing Macaw Colors and Markings

One of the most recognizable parrot species is the green-wing macaw. The head, shoulders, and breast of these colorful birds are a rich, brilliant red, while the band beneath the shoulders and wings is greenish. On the wings, the green band changes to a dark blue hue, while the rump and the tail feathers are light blue.

The lengthy tail feathers have blue tips and are colored crimson. The lower jaw is black, and the beak is horn-colored with dark legs and feet. The bird's face is covered in eye patches. The only difference between men and females is that males are somewhat bigger. It will require DNA testing or surgical sexing to determine the gender of the bird.

Caring for Green-Wing Macaws

Green-wing macaws are very gregarious birds that dwell in groups of six to eight birds in the wild. Due to their sociable natures, green-wing macaws require appropriate attention and bonding time and are extremely sensitive to instruction. A bored macaw will wreak havoc.

Plan to spend plenty of time socializing with your bird. When you take a green-wing macaw into your home, you effectively become its "flock" and must include it in family activities.

A huge cage, at least 2 1/2 feet by 3 feet, is required for a giant macaw like a green-wing. The green-wing macaw is a boisterous species despite being a little bit quieter than some of the other giant macaws.

Install a reliable perch in the cage, and be ready to swap it out sometimes when it wears out. On the cage's side, install food, drink, and treat bowls above the perch. The bird will be able to practice climbing on the branches inside the enclosure. Different toys should be available for chewing and playing. It makes sense to build a playpen structure on top of the cage.

The green-wing macaw will also do well if kept in an outdoor aviary during warm weather. It can also adapt well to an entire room dedicated as an indoor "bird room." 

The cost of keeping a large green-wing macaw is high, and it needs continual care. Be aware that you will need to invest a lot of time, feed, equipment, money for veterinary care, and potentially money for house repairs before taking this bird home.

Common Health Problems

Green-wing macaws, like other macaw species, are susceptible to some diseases, including:

  • Proventricular dilation disease (also called macaw wasting disease): This viral disease causes intestinal problems as well as neurological symptoms. It is usually fatal, and the best preventive measures are to keep the birds isolated from other birds that might carry the virus. 
  • Psittacine beak-and-feather disease: A disease caused by a circovirus, it kills the cells of the feather and beak and also compromises the immune system. It is usually fatal and is best prevented by making sure your bird has been properly quarantined before you buy it. 
  • Psittacosis: This bacterial disease causes respiratory symptoms and eye discharge. Stressed birds are most susceptible, and prompt treatment with antibiotics can often cure the disease.

Other problems that are less serious include allergies and behavior problems, such as feather plucking, which usually occurs in parrots that are bored or frustrated.

Diet and Nutrition

In the wild, green-wing macaws eat fruit, seeds, berries, and nuts. They also congregate at clay cliffs. Clay contains minerals and salts that the birds consume to neutralize toxins.

Pet green-wing macaws, like all other parrots, should eat daily portions of fruits and healthy for birds in addition to a high-quality commercial seed and pellet mix. The majority of green-wings like to be hand-fed during mealtimes with the family. In the wild, green-wing macaws are known to consume some protein, and in captivity, they will consume fried chicken parts.

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.

As with all parrots, avocado, chocolate, rhubarb, and coffee beans are toxic. 

Exercise

Green-wing macaws still require a lot of activity for both mental and physical stimulation even if they are not as active as other big parrots. A daily 2 to 3 hour period of supervised outside play is required. For periods of activity, provide a separate playpen structure apart from the cage.

While your birds are outside of their cage, be careful to keep an eye on them. The notoriously voracious chewers known as green-wing macaws may quickly consume costly molding or door frames. These are throwaway objects for macaws, so you should get some high-quality and be prepared to continually repurchasing them.

Pros
  • Friendly, affectionate, tame disposition

  • Intelligent, can learn to speak up to 15 words and trained to perform tricks

  • Long-lived species

Cons
  • Can be loud, so not well-suited for apartments

  • One of the largest parrots, requires a large cage

  • Strong, powerful beak is a biting hazard around young children

Where to Adopt or Buy a Green-Wing Macaw

In order to get a green-wing macaw, you will need to locate a breeder because this bird is not frequently offered in pet stores. Make sure you get a green-wing macaw from a who can vouch for the bird's health if you decide to do so. It can cost between $3,000 and $4,000.

The green-wing macaw requires a lot of upkeep. Unfortunately, it is routinely turned over to animal rescue groups and adoption centers. You may find green-wing macaws online from breeders, adoption agencies, and rescues like:

  • Birds Now
  • Bird Breeders
  • Petfinder

Look for a bright, alert, and energetic bird. Avoid a bird with puffed feathers that is resting still since it might be sick. The foot should have smooth scales. Make sure its beak is smooth and well-shaped, and that its nails are in good form. It should have clean, clear nostrils.

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

Other pet bird species similar to the green-wing macaw include: 

Otherwise, check out all of our other .

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