Tiki, Gizmo, and Pauly are Blue-and-gold macaws (Ara ararauna), Andy and Gadget are Catalina macaws (Ara ararauna x Ara macao), Sergeant is a Military macaw (Ara militaris), and Elmo is a Scarlet macaw (Ara macao). Elmo is one of our special need residents. Elmo joined the Kirshner family because he was plucking out his feathers. He has transitioned well and no longer plucks his feathers but he did permanent damage to the feathers and is missing most of his chest feathers.
The Scarlet, Blue-and-gold and Military macaw are all naturally occurring macaw species. Catalina macaws are a hybrid cross between the blue-and-gold and the scarlet macaw. The Catalina macaw does occasionally occur naturally in the wild but is much more common in captivity. Catalina macaws tend to inherit personality traits from both parents like many other hybrid species.
Macaws are famous for their bright bold colors, long tails, and large curved beaks which are designed to crush nuts and seeds. The feathers on a macaw’s face are as unique to the macaw as a fingerprint is to a human. Similar to other parrots, the first and fourth toes point backwards. Macaws are native to the rain forests and wooded grasslands of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Macaws are very intelligent and curious birds that enjoy exploring and playing with interesting new objects. As social birds, macaws spend a large portion of time with their mate or family group. When an adult macaw chooses a mate, they usually stay with the same mate, known as a pair bond, until one of them dies. As a pair, the macaws will preen each other’s feathers, share food and roost together.
Most macaws breed twice a year and the females lay their eggs in nests inside trees or on cliffs. Only the mother incubates the egg and the father is in charge of bringing her food. Once the egg has hatched, both parents bring food to the young, helpless hatchlings. The hatchlings require a large amount of care by their parents for the first 10 weeks before they learn to fly and are able to forage for their own food.
The macaw’s natural call is a scream which can be earsplitting to humans. They will use this call to make contact with one another, define their territory and as a part of play. They also have the ability to imitate human words or “talk.”
In the wild, macaws enjoy a diet of fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, and sources of protein like insects and snails. At Kirshner, the macaws eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, greens, seeds, nuts, and crackers.
Several macaw species are considered endangered and some species are extinct altogether or extinct in the wild. The major factors in the decline of the macaw population is the pet trade and habitat destruction.
|Body Length||30 – 34 inches|
|Weight||2 – 3 lbs|
|Incubation Period||23 – 30 days|
|Clutch Size||1 – 4 eggs|
|Life Span||Up to 75 years|
|Location||Mexico, Central America, and South America|
|Habitat||Rainforests and Grasslands|