Macaws Suitable As Pets

Hahn's macaw is often touted as the species of macaw most suitable for a pet. Because they are so much smaller than their larger relatives, they are sometimes known as mini-macaws. The scientific name is Diopsittaca noblis although it was formerly known as Ara nobilis nobilis. Its other common name is the red-shouldered macaw. There are three subspecies.

Hahn's Macaw(53608)Credit: Wikimedia

Hahn's macaw
is endemic to the South American areas of eastern Venezuela and northern Brazil.

In the wild, its preferred habitats include areas surrounding lowland open forests and palm groves. It may also forage in plantations.

In colour, they are predominantly green. There is a red patch on each shoulder hence the common name 'red-shouldered macaw'. The feathers on the forehead are a darker greenish-blue. The feet and beak are black. Mature adults have eyes of a burnt orange colour. The typical macaw bare eye ring surrounds each eye. Hahn's macaw ranges from 280 to 300mm in length and weighs around 225 to 350 grams.

Hahn's macaw needs plenty of fresh branches to chew on to keep them occupied and to help keep their beak trim. Their aviary should be 3 or 4 metres long. They can be housed and bred in s suspended cage but should have access to an aviary of over 3 metres during the non-breeding season. This will give them room to fly. In the wild, they fly long distances and these birds will be happier if they have plenty of room to exercise and play. Like most macaws, this species enjoys bathing in a bowl or running around under a sprinkler.

In the wild, Hahn's eat a variety of fruits and vegetables including flowers, berries, leaf buds and nuts. They also eat insects and insect larvae.

Hahn's Macaw(53609)Credit: Wikimedia

While hollow logs are commandeered as nest boxes in the wild, an aviary nest-box or log should have a length/depth of some 450 to 500mm and an internal diameter of about 225mm. An entrance hole (diameter 75 to 80mm) should lead to a chew-proof ladder on the inside of the nest box. This is essential if the box is placed vertically or near-vertically and allows easy access to the nest without the bird having to jump down on top of the eggs. The hen incubates the eggs. There should be a perch close to the nest and about the same height as the opening to the nest. This allows the male to defend his home and his mate even if he doesn't really need to. During the breeding season, these birds can become aggressive and any inspection holes are best accessed from outside the cage.

One to three clutches a year may be laid with 3 to 4 white eggs being laid each time. Incubation varies from 24 to 26 days and the chicks stay in the nest for 9 to 12 weeks and are independent in about another month.

By the time the young birds leave the nest, they have attained their adult plumage. By the age of 3, they are sexually mature and the lifespan is approximately 25 years or so.

These birds are easy going and friendly. They are social and intelligent, responding quickly and well to training. They make good talkers and are quick to learn new tricks. However they can scream quite loudly. These birds make charming pets and have all the personality of the big boys.

As A Pet
Their size makes them ideal as pets provided they are trained and managed properly. They are not as colourful as some of their larger relatives. One bird kept on his own will require a lot of interaction with his owner as they are social birds and will become destructive and noisy if their social needs are not met. Being smaller they are more easily accommodated.

This species can be fed most fruit and vegetables. They will enjoy nuts, sprouted seeds, leafy green vegetables and seeds. Grubs, mealworm larvae and beetles can also be offered. Your veterinary surgeon may suggest supplementing your bird's diet with additives such as calcium and vitamins and minerals. A commercial parrot pellet mix can form part of their diet. Fix feed bowls in place to prevent the bird playing with them.

Don't forget that these birds have a long lifespan. Try to consider where you will be in 20 years or so before committing yourself to owning one of these beautiful macaws.

Other articles on aviary birds that you might enjoy:
Pacheco's Disease in Parrots
Princess Parrot - Characteristics
Psittacine Disease in Parrots, Cockatoos and Lorikeets
Pink and Grey Galah - Characteristics
Major Mitchell Cockatoo - Characteristics
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Characteristics
Alexandrine Parakeet - Characteristics
Long-billed Corella - Characteristics
Hypovitaminosis in Aviary Birds
Indian Ringneck Parrot - Characteristics
Eclectus Parrot - Characteristics
Blue and Gold Macaws - Possible Health Issues
Breeding Eclectus Parrots in Captivity

Image Source