Macaws are attractive and beautifully colored members of the family of parrots. They are the largest species among all the parrots. However, there are different varieties of macaws with varying sizes. Regardless of your choice, it is worth saying that macaws’ lifespan is pretty long, an average of 50 years or more.
It is said that the size of the macaw is linked to its longevity. The larger the bird is, the longer its lifespan, too. Of course, there are other factors that affect a macaws’ lifespan such as where it lives and the amount of care it receives. Let us now discover the different varieties of the macaw and how long they live in their natural habitat and captivity.
Macaws’ Lifespan in the Wild
Macaws’ lifespan in the wild is shorter than the ones living in captivity. It’s a challenging situation for macaw parrots in the wild. This is because these big birds are prey to bigger birds and other animals in the wild.
Secondly, the macaws can be victims of deforestation. Many of them have to flee from their natural habitat because humanity is ‘invading’ their sanctuaries. As a result, they are forced to relocate to smaller areas where food is not enough for them, limited space to spread their wings, and the absence of ideal ground for reproduction and nesting.
Lastly, because of their popularity as house pets, macaws’ lifespan is shortened as a result of malpractice in capturing these colorful birds for commercial purposes.
Macaws’ Lifespan in Captivity
If a macaw is well-cared for while in captivity, its longevity is affected in a good way. For as long as you provide your avian pet with appropriate housing, correct proportion of food for nourishment, and time for social interaction, you’d be able to spend long and colorful years with a macaw parrot.
It is not uncommon to see some macaw parrots that live longer than their human families. For this reason, it is only ethical to plan when adopting a macaw. Just in case an emergency happens to you, it is better that you have a back-up plan as to whom you would delegate the task of caring for your macaw parrot.
List of Macaw Species and Their Lifespan
1. Scarlet Macaw
Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful macaw parrots, Scarlets are bursting with vivid colors of red, yellow, and blue feathers. It is an intelligent bird that is energetic and is one of the loudest among the macaw family.
Though it is an affectionate bird, it is not ideal for a family with young kids because it tends to bite when provoked.
In the wild, the Scarlets can live up to 40 years. If in captivity, a colorful Scarlet macaw’s lifespan can be up to 50 years. Some may even reach up to 75 to 90 years in captivity.
If you plan on adopting Scarlet, place it in a cage that is not smaller than 36 inches in width and 60 inches in height. It also requires a lot of time outside the cage, lest, it will develop some behavioral issues.
2. Blue-and-Yellow Macaw
This macaw species is fairly common because it breeds well in captivity. That said, the blue-and-yellow macaws are not as expensive.
Parrot lovers like this macaw species because of its playful and affectionate disposition. But, being a large bird, it requires a big home and a commitment from its owners, which sadly, some just do not provide the bird with.
If adopted by committed bird lovers, it can be a loving and awesome pet. But, if its needs are not provided for, be prepared to hear a lot of loud screams, feather plucking, and even biting behavior.
In the wild, it can live an average of 30 years. But, in captivity, a blue-and-yellow macaw’s lifespan can be between 50 and 60 years.
3. Hyacinth Macaw
This is the largest species in the macaw family. A beautiful bird with cobalt blue feathers and bright yellow feathers around its eyes and the corners of its beak. It measures 1 meter long from the head up to the tip of its tail and can weigh between 2.6 and 3.7 pounds.
In its natural habitat, it can live up to 50 years but if under the care of a loving family, a hyacinth macaw’s lifespan can be up to 60 years or more. However, we do not recommend that you care for a hyacinth macaw for a pet.
FYI, the hyacinth macaw’s conservation status is vulnerable, meaning there are only a few of them live in the wild. The decline in numbers is due to loss of habitat, indiscriminate hunting, commercial sale of the feathers, and pet trade. There are only around 65,000 hyacinth macaws that exist in the wild today.
4. Military Macaw
A medium-sized macaw parrot that is covered with mostly olive-green feathers, thus, it is named after a military parade uniform.
Although they are not as impressive in terms of looks, they certainly are fun-loving. And, with consistent training, the military macaw can become excellent talkers. At times, they can get cranky and tend to nip their owners if their needs are not met.
In the wild, the military macaw’s lifespan can reach to 50 up to 60 years. How long do military macaws live in captivity? It is between 56 and 70 years.
Yes, they are long-living birds, but it does not mean they are not prone to catching a viral infection named macaw wasting syndrome. This medical condition affects both the nervous system and the digestive tract of the infected birds. If not addressed immediately, your macaws’ lifespan can be shortened.
The conservation status of this macaw species is vulnerable.
5. Red-and-Green Macaw
Also known as the green-winged macaw, this species is one of the largest. Yes, its large beak may frighten you but it is a gentle giant. It is not a biter nor as a bird that suffers from mood swings.
If it is treated well by its human family, the red-and-green macaw’s lifespan in captivity can reach up to 70 years or longer. It lives shorter in the wild, an average of 30 years.
6. Hahn’s Macaw
Being the smallest in the macaw family, this beautiful bird responds to training and can form a close bond with its human family.
The Hahn’s macaw is the perfect choice for those who want to adopt a macaw but is not ready yet to care for a large bird.
Small it may be, the Hahn’s macaw’s lifespan in captivity can be up to 30 years.
7. Severe Macaw
Although classified as a mini-macaw, this bird is still quite big, measuring 18 to 19 inches in length. It is predominantly green with red and blue patches on the wings.
It is a good family pet because it can be funny and affectionate to its owners. Severe Macaws do not enjoy isolation, so if you are planning on adopting a severe macaw, be sure to integrate it into your life by providing it with its emotional and cognitive needs.
If a severe macaw is having proper care, its lifespan in captivity can be between 30 and 80 years.
8. Yellow-Collared Macaw
An attractive medium-sized macaw, its length can reach up to 15 inches and can weigh up to 400 grams. The feathers are mostly green with a necklace band of striking yellow. It has a long maroon-colored tail that has a hue color of blue on the tip.
It’s not classified as an endangered species so it is an awesome avian pet for first-time macaw owners.
A Yellow-collared macaw is affectionate but at the same time mischievous. It loves being the center of its owner’s attention, thus, expect a lot of vocal greetings and affection if you choose to bring home this extraordinary family pet.
If well-cared for, a Yellow-collared macaw’s lifespan can reach up to 50 years. In the natural habitat, its lifespan is shorter which is about 20 to 30 years.
Who Is the Longest Living Macaw?
Charlie is a blue-and-yellow macaw believed to have been hatched in 1899 and used to be the pet of Winston Churchill. Charlie celebrated her 120th birthday at the garden center in Reigate, Surrey, England in 2019.
What Are the Secrets to Macaws’ Longevity?
Different issues that can affect macaws’ lifespan. Aside from feeding the macaws with appropriate food, providing them with correct sunlight requirements, ideal cage size, health care is as important for macaw’s longevity.
In captivity, if they are under good care, the macaws seldom get sick. But, they do get sick and some may be due to the environment. A macaw’s lifespan can be prolonged if you become aware of common illnesses such as the following:
- Feather picking
- Bacterial, viral, and fungal infections
- Macaw wasting disease
- Parrot fever
- Heavy metal poisoning
The signs to watch out for are:
- Drooping wings
- Loss of appetite
- Ruffled plumage
- Bulges in feathering
- Swelling of the eyelids and watery eyes
- Excessive salivation
- Sagging body
If your macaw is ailing, take it to an avian vet for immediate diagnosis of the illness. A macaw’s lifespan could be short if you fail to notice any of the signs of a sick macaw parrot.
Bird and non-bird enthusiasts love the exceptional appearance of the macaws. They are colorful, beautiful, and are interesting to watch and listen to. The macaws come in 17 species, some of them are pulled-out from their natural habitat for commercial trade. Sadly, some are even considered as having either vulnerable or endangered conservation status.
If you are serious about adopting a macaw, it is your responsibility to learn more about the bird’s natural behavior in the wild. Since macaws thrive well in flocks, therefore, as a macaw owner, you must devote your time to be part of its flock in your household. Remember that a macaw’s lifespan is pretty long so make all the necessary adjustments for your avian pet’s life in captivity with you.