Blue & Gold Macaw smiling and sitting on tree branch in the wild

BLUE & GOLD MACAW

Scientific Name: Ara ararauna

Other Common Names: Blue and Yellow Macaw

Native Country: Central and South America – Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Colombia

Habitat:  Woodland and Tropical Savanna

Height (Head to Tail): 75-90cm, Large Size

Lifespan: up to 50 years

Weight: 0.9 – 1.2 kg

Blue & Gold Macaw – Appearance:

It’s hard to miss the beautiful blue covering their tail, head and top side wing feathers (lesser, median, greater and primary coverts) . In contrast the abdomen, cheeks and underside of the wings are a golden yellow. If you look closely at their profile image above, a tinge of green is visible on the forehead. Similar to other macaws, the Blue Gold Macaw has bare white cheeks, white eye rings and large grey beak. I can guarantee this vibrant bird will brighten up anyone’s day!

Pair of Blue Gold Macaw parrots playing and fighting

Blue & Gold Macaw – Diet:

The Blue-Gold Macaw has a very similar diet to other large macaws in captivity, consisting of pellets, fruit, vegetables and nuts.

60% Pellets – Specialized pellets formulated for large macaws. Popular brands include: Kaytee Fiesta Macaw Food, Lafeber Premium Daily Macaw, ZuPreem Smart Selects Food and Vetafarm Nutriblend Pellets Large

20% Fresh Fruit and Vegetables – Apples, Cantaloupe/Rockmelon, Pomegranate, Berries, Grapes, Watermelon, Oranges, Pears, Plums, Carrots, Broccoli, Peas, Corn, Mango

20% Nuts – Palm Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Macadamias, Coconut, Pistachios, Cashews, Pecans, Hazelnuts and Brazil Nuts

Tip: Hide nuts within toys to keep your bird entertained and foraging for hours.

lafeber nutriberries tropical fruit LAFEBER’S Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries 3lb
Kaytee Complete Nutrition large parrot FoodKaytee Exact Rainbow Large Parrot 4lb
Vetafarm Nutriblend Large PelletsVetafarm Nutriblend Pellets Large 1.6kg

Blue & Gold Macaw – Essentials:

When bringing your little birdie home for the first time, you will need to ensure you have the basics sorted beforehand.

  • Bird Cage – Blue-Gold Macaw’s are one of the largest parrots so it’s best to buy the largest cage you can afford and fit within your space. As a guide, the cage size should be at least 200cm x 800cm x 300cm (W x L x H). It’s best to line the cage with newspaper to easily clean their droppings/mess.
  • Cage Cover – any cloth that covers 90% of the cage so the bird can sleep in darkness e.g. light blanket or sheet
  • Perch – at least 4 perches, preferably sturdy natural bark branches to keep their nails naturally trimmed. It’s a great idea to have an external perch i.e. on top of the cage so your bird can explore out of the cage.
  • Toys – at least 4 toys to begin with for mental stimulation/entertainment; highly recommend foraging toys or those that can be chewed e.g. large rope knots, wooden blocks or swings
  • Bowls – 3x bowls (one for pellets/nuts, one for fresh fruit/vegetables and the other for water)
  • Bath – your macaw will need keep clean, so spray bottle or outdoor hose spray will do. If your bird is comfortable with the idea, you can keep a perch in the shower.

Note: Do not keep the perch directly under the shower head, let the bird make its move towards the water first and adapt to the water pressure.

Still not sure? Click here to download our 100% FREE bird care checklist here.

Blue & Gold Macaw Behavior:

Blue & Gold Macaw sitting on tree branch next to Green Winged Macaw
  • Socialization: Blue-Gold Macaws are sociable parrots meaning they can be housed with other large macaws such as Hyacinth’s, Scarlets or Green Winged Macaws. If youre a sucker for endless cuddles and scratches their affectionate behavior will complement you. However be aware, just like any other parrot, they are prone to bad habits like nipping or plucking when stressed, bored or scared.

  • Vocalization: These parrots have loud calls that resemble a “kraaa” screech. They can be very noisy so caution your neighbors. Talking/mimicking ability is achievable and an added bonus for keeping these birds as pets.

Blue & Gold Macaw Breeding:

On average the Blue & Gold Macaw reaches sexual maturity at 3 – 6 years of age. They are considered monomorphic breeds meaning female and males look alike. Therefore if you plan to breed a pair, make sure you get a DNA test beforehand. I recommend breeding only for experienced professionals, as these birds are notorious for displaying aggressive behavior during breeding season.

Requirements:

  • Horizontal rectangle shaped nest box made from strong untreated wood (min. dimensions 60x60x100cm – HxWxL) – these birds have strong beaks, so ensure the wood is thick so it cannot be chipped away in the first breeding season
  • Nest box filling – non-toxic wood shavings or saw dust

Other facts for breeding are mentioned below:

  • Mating Partner: monogamous – one partner for life
  • Breeding Season: January – July (in the wild)
  • Clutch Frequency: 1 clutch every 1 – 2 years
  • Clutch Quantity: 2 – 3 eggs per clutch
  • Incubation Period: 26 – 29 days
  • Weaning: 7 months
Zoomed in face shot of Blue & Gold Macaw Headshot

Blue & Gold Macaw Health:

Common IssueSymptoms Causes
Psittacosis Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, vomiting, nasal/ocular discharge, diarrhea or pale green feces, breathing difficulties, conjunctivitis, minimal physical movement, tremorsBacteria: Chlamydia psittaci contracted via infected dried saliva, feathers, mucous and feces
Proventricular Dilatation Syndrome “Macaw Wasting SyndromeLoss of appetite, vomiting, passing of undigested food in feces, weight loss, overall body weakness, head tremors seizuresAvian Bornavirus (ABV) contracted through feces, saliva and other bodily secretions from birds – causes nerve inflammation
Feather PluckingForm of self mutilation by plucking their own feathers, leaving bald patches of skinBoredom, lack of mental stimulation, poor diet, illness, stress
Psittacine Beak & Feather DiseaseSharp, clubbed or abnormally short feathers, pigment loss in colored feathers, bloody feather shafts Beak & Feather Disease Virus (BFDV) contracted from other infected birds e.g. oral – parent feeding young or ingestion of virus particles in dust feces
AspergillosisWeight loss, lethargy, constantly fluffed feathers, difficulty breathing, cloudy eyes, droopy wingsAspergillus fungus: exposure to spores found in dust, mold, soil – mainly affects malnourished or immunocompromised birds
MalnutritionNasal discharge, sneezing, wheezing conjunctivitis, poor feather quality, weakness, egg binding, embryonic death Vitamin A or Calcium deficiency
WormsDiarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, malnutrition or blood in fecesAscaris roundworm or flatworms – eggs passed in droppings

Did You Know?

1. Macaws ingest seeds which are then excreted in feces. On the forest floor, seeds then grow into plants and flower again. Therefore macaws are integral to forest regeneration.

2. The tiny black markings on the Blue-Gold Macaws white cheeks are unique to each individual. Useful for identification.

3. In the wild, Blue-Gold Macaw’s create nests in dead palm trees, most commonly the Mauritia flexuosa palm tree.


Other Species of Interest: