Top 25 Macaw Facts
Most people know the basics, that these birds are breathtakingly vibrant, make excellent pets and can talk but there are many more macaw facts that you may find quite interesting. You probably know that they are related to parrots and extremely intelligent but are you aware that many are on endangered lists and some are already extinct in the wild? Below are the top 25 interesting and unique macaw facts that are known about these curious birds.
1. Macaws typically mate for life and can have a long lifespan together in the wild of 50 years or more.
2. These birds boast powerful, large beaks that are effective at cracking open seeds and nuts while their scaly, dry tongues have a bone that is an effective tool to tap into fruit. They can even a crack a coconut open, one of their favorite fruits in their diet.
3. Macaws have gripping toes that are useful for them to grab hold of things to examine as well as to latch onto branches.
4. These are very social birds, often gathering in flocks of up to 30 individuals.
5. Macaws vocalize with their screams and squawks to communicate with their flocks, identify each other and mark their territory.
6. Couples share food and groom each other.
7. During breeding seasons, the male hunts and brings food back to the nest while the female stays back and incubates the eggs.
8. One of the more tragic macaw facts is that the Spix's macaw and the glaucus macaw are believed to now be extinct in the wild.
9. There are 17 macaw species and several are endangered including the blue-throated macaws and the hyacinth macaws. They are being trapped illegally for pet trade and they are losing their homes in the rainforest at an alarmingly fast rate.
10. Blue-and-gold macaws are excellent at talking but not at mimicking.
11. Many macaws require DNA testing to determine a male from a female because they are so identical.
12. Macaws typically choose their mate and begin breeding when they are three years old.
13. These birds can become aggressive during the mating season, after they reach sexual maturity.
14. Macaws enjoy dipping their food in water to soften it up a bit prior to eating.
15. When kept as a pet, they do best with their cage set in a high traffic area of the home where they can receive plenty of human interaction. It is important to keep their cage away from drafts from windows, doors or air conditioning vents.
16. Macaws use a lot of body language when communicating.
17. Flight feathers should never be clipped on a macaw because they need their exercise to be healthy.
18. Macaws will feather pluck if they are bored, malnourished or not bathed often enough. One of the most important macaw facts is that feather plucking and mutilation is the sign of an unhappy and unhealthy bird.
19. These beautiful birds can be found inhabiting areas from Mexico through South America.
20. Macaws reside in rainforests where their bright colors blend with the canopy colors. While most are found directly in the forest, some will live in mud banks and roost along cliffs.
21. Pet macaws form very strong bonds with their primary caretakers and are an excellent choice for families of any size.
22. In the wild, macaws eat fruits, seeds, nuts, stems and flowers.
23. Macaws are zygodactyl, similar to toucans, parrots and woodpeckers which means that their first toe and fourth toe face backwards.
24. Macaws are specifically streamlined to fly through the rainforest canopy with wings that do not flap.
25. Groups of macaws generally wake up before dawn, preen themselves, communicate and then fly to their feeding grounds which are often long distances to find the ripest fruit.