With its bright, colorful plumage and intelligent, fun-loving disposition, the macaw is an excellent family pet. Of course, these large-sized birds have their own unique personality and behavior traits that owners should be aware of.
Macaws are finicky creatures that require special care and attention to ensure they happy and healthy. Here, we're going to reveal some fun facts about the macaw and then tell you what it takes to raise a healthy macaw.
1. Macaws Eat Clay
Wild macaws regularly feed on clay licks for valuable minerals and nutrients, particularly sodium and vitamin B12. Most macaws in the Amazon Basin consume clay every day when it is not raining!
In fact, several studies have even linked the use of clay licks to the Macaw's breeding season. When a female is preparing to breed, she may consume a greater amount of nutrients to help raise her young. This strengthens both the mother and chick's health.
Of course, it's probably best to avoid feeding your macaw clay licks. While they frequently consume them in the wild, clay licks often contain toxins as well as beneficial nutrients.
2. They Live 100 Years
Lifespan varies depending on a number of different factors, but macaws in captivity -- when properly cared for -- can live up to 100 years! There are even reports of macaws living over 100 years, though most tend to live to be 30-35 years old. This is quite longer than your typical feline or canine household pet!
If you're thinking about raising a macaw, make sure you are willing to commit the time to raising it. Far too many people make the decision to adopt and raise a macaw without realizing just how long these magnificent birds can live. They are on our list as one of the top companion birds that you can raise.
3. Macaws Have Gripping Toes
Just like other parrots and species of birds, the first and fourth toes of a macaw point backward! This is known as zygodactyly since two toes point forward and the other two point backward. This nifty feature provides the macaw with strong gripping toes that it uses to easily catch hold of branches and forage for food.
In the wild, macaws use their toes to uncover brush and debris while searching for food. This allows the macaw to search in dense areas that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Macaws eat a wide variety of food in the wild, including seeds, nuts, fruit, leaves, steams, flowers, and insects. In captivity, it's typically best to feed a macaw a premium pellet diet with occasional fresh vegetables and fruits.
Some owners assume seed mixes are the best choice, but unfortunately seeds often lack vital nutrients required for healthy growth and development.
4. They Have Long Tail Feathers!
In addition to its bright plumage, the macaw is also well known for its exceptionally long tail feathers. Its tail feathers protrude several inches out, making the macaw appear larger and more prominent.
Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of the macaw. This stunningly beautiful and equally smart bird is a favorite among parrot owners and researchers alike.
How Do You Raise A Healthy Macaw?
Macaws are colorful medium-sized parrots that make wonderful family pets. In addition to their strikingly beautiful appearance, macaws are also friendly, affectionate, intelligent and eager to please their owner.
These are just a few of the many reasons why so many people choose large and mini macaws over other pet birds after learning the differences, as detailed here.
Here we'll take a closer look at how to raise a healthy macaw.
Macaw Life Expectancy
As mentioned above, macaws have the highest life expectancy of any parrot since they can live 100 years! While there are many different subspecies and varieties of macaws, most of them live around 35 years in captivity.
If you intend on getting a macaw, you need to be fully dedicated and committed to raising them.
As an owner, you'll be responsible for providing them with a safe, healthy environment along with meeting their dietary needs.
Far too many people make a spur-of-the-moment decision to own a macaw without realizing just how much work goes into raising one.
The fact is that some macaws will outlive their owners, so raising one is a lifelong commitment you need to dedicate yourself to.
Dietary and Nutritional Needs
Macaws must be given a balanced diet that offers a variety of different foods. Simply giving your macaw a basic pellet or seed mix will likely result in nutritional deficiency.
In the wild, macaws feast on a wide variety of foods, some of which include insects, fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers and vegetation; therefore, you'll want to incorporate some of these items into your macaw's diet.
A good rule of thumb is to mix your macaw's diet up with about 70-80% pellet and/or seed mix and the remaining 20-30% being fresh fruits and vegetables. A high-quality brand of pellet food will provide your macaw with proteins, vitamins and other beneficial nutrients to help promote better health.
Like most parrots, macaws love the occasional fruit or vegetable slice, so be sure to include these in their diet as well.
Macaws are considered a medium-to-large sized parrot. One of the first things you'll likely notice after seeing a macaw is their beak. Macaws have a significantly larger beak than other parrots since they use it for cracking open thick nuts and shells in the rainforests.
Providing your macaw with a proper living environment is critical to their overall health and well-being. Their cage must be large enough for them to move around, play and eat without feeling too crammed.
You Are Now a Macaw Expert!
After reading these 4 facts and our tips for raising a healthy macaw above, you are now a certified macaw expert! This information puts you in the top 0.01% in the world in macaw knowledge.
Doesn't it feel great?
Let us know what you think or love about macaws in the comments below! Did you learn something new? Do you have any more fun facts for us?
© 2009 Photo by Flickr user LancerRevolution (https://www.flickr.com/photos/lancerrevolution/) and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
© 2009 Photo by Frank Wouters (https://www.flickr.com/photos/frank-wouters/) and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0