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Macaws are often described as people’s “dream bird;” that is, the companion parrot they would have if only they owned a home, had a spouse who was as into birds or had the resources to afford the extra-large cage and unending supply of destructible toys macaws need.

For the most part, they are correct in holding off on these giants of the parrot world. The macaw’s larger size means a louder vocal volume, and its large beak can be downright intimidating, especially to nonbird people. Their size not only warrants shopping for a cage at the far end of the size scale, but their long tail feathers require a cage that is tall as well. Simply put, you must have the space for this big bird.

Before you start thinking that anyone wanting a macaw must be crazy, consider what typically draws people to them. A well-socialized macaw can be affectionate, yet ready to rumble if in a playful mood. You’ll get satisfaction in knowing that the toys you buy for your macaw will not be ignored, especially those incorporating wood elements. Blue & gold, scarlet, green wing, military and hyacinth, to a lesser degree, are the macaw species you’re most likely to encounter as pets, and all are native to South America.

Macaws seem to take advantage of their immense size and can learn to intimidate people by lunging at them, which seems to be a game to them, as they appear to enjoy people’s startled reaction.

The hybrid macaws — which include the miligold macaw, the ruby macaw, the shamrock macaw, the bluffon's macaw, the calico macaw, the catalina macaw, the camelot macaw and the harlequin macaw — are offspring of the crossing of two macaw species (e.g., is the catalina macaw is the result of a scarlet macaw paired with a blue-and-gold macaw). First-generation hybrid macaws are crossings between two naturally occurring macaw species. There are also second-and-third generation hybrid macaws. Second-generation hybrid macaws have one parent that is a naturally occurring macaw species and one parent that is a first-generation hybrid macaw. A few third-generation hybrid macaws are the result of crossing hybrid macaws.

Some aviculturists are against hybridization. When a naturally occurring macaw species population is threatened, the primary effort is to breed the species to help it survive and, in such cases hybridization could potentially undermine this effort.

Whether you get a naturally occurring macaw species or a hybrid macaw, you’ll need a lot of space and time to keep your macaw happy, but you will be rewarded with a comical, friendly and affectionate pet.

Want to learn more about macaws? Check out these articles!

Top 10 Pet Macaw Parrot Questions Answered
Macaws: 8 Things You Should Know
Pet Macaws: The Good, The Bad & The Wildly Funny
Build A Macaw’s Confidencey
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