Blue-and-Gold Macaw (Characteristics, Appearance, Diet, and Caring)

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Ali Shahid

The blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna), also known as the blue-and-yellow macaw, is an attractive, captivating, intelligent, and majestic macaw. This bird measures between 85 and 90 centimeters in length with a wingspan ranging from 102 to 112.5 centimeters. Its distinctive feature is its 1-2 foot long pointed tail, aiding it gracefully while in flight. The vibrant blue hue of its body, coupled with a yellow crest, bestows upon it the fitting name of the “Blue-and-Gold Macaw.” Originating primarily from tropical South American regions like varzea, these birds also inhabit woodlands and savannahs.

They exhibit endearing traits, making them cherished companions. Their intelligence shines through as they are keen learners, displaying affection while also possessing the ability to articulate words. However, it’s crucial to note that without proper upbringing and care, these majestic birds can manifest aggressive tendencies, hence making them more suitable for seasoned bird enthusiasts.

Their allure in aviculture is multifaceted. Their vivid coloration, articulate nature, and widespread availability contribute to their desirability. Remarkably, while these birds can live up to 50 years in their natural habitat, they can reach a similar lifespan in captivity.

In their natural habitat, the Blue-and-Gold Macaws feed on an array of seeds, fruits, and nuts, maintaining a diet rich in fats essential for their energetic lifestyle. Conversely, when housed in captivity, it is recommended to provide them with a diet comprising 40-70% premium parrot pellets, 10-35% vegetables, and 10-40% fruits.

Although various macaw species grace households in the United States, the Blue-and-Gold Macaw remains a prevalent choice due to successful breeding in captivity, making them relatively more accessible and affordable.

However, the heightened demand for these birds has had detrimental repercussions. In some instances, their removal from natural habitats has led to tragic outcomes, with parent birds meeting unfortunate ends while attempting to safeguard their young. You can buy a blue-and-gold macaw for $700 to $2500 from reputable online sources such as Omarsexoticbirds, Birdbreeders, BirdsNow, and Terryparrotfarm.

Scientific NameAra ararauna
Common NamesBlue-and-Gold Macaw, Blue-and-Yellow Macaw
OriginTropical regions of South America
Size85-90 cm in length; wingspan 102-112.5 cm
ColoringVibrant blue body with a yellow crest
PersonalityIntelligent, affectionate, can be loud
Talking AbilityCapable of mimicking words and phrases
LoudnessCan produce loud, ear-piercing sounds
Beginner FriendlyNot recommended for novice bird owners
Care LevelHigh maintenance; requires proper upbringing
Lifespan30-35 years in the wild; up to 50 years in captivity
Price Range$700 to $2500
Places to BuyOmar’s Exotic Birds, Birdbreeders, BirdsNow, Terry’s Parrot Farm
IUCN StatusLeast Concern (LC)

Origin and History of Blue and Gold Macaw

The blue and gold macaw has a wide range in the wild, extending from Panama in Central America throughout most of northern South America. The species has been introduced into Puerto Rico as well.

In their natural habitat, blue and gold are commonly found in forests close to rivers and swamps, but they can also be found in a grassy savannah if the trees are tall.

Most macaws travel in pairs, but at certain times of the year, they may gather in large flocks or will gather to forage for food during morning and evening hours. There are only a few wild blues and golds left.

Wild population declines have been largely caused by habitat destruction, hunting, and trapping. Sadly, these young birds used to be taken directly from the nests and sold as pets before captive breeding programs.

In the course of protecting their babies, many protective parents died, leaving many young parrots without a chance of survival. The blue and gold parrot has been successfully bred in the United States since 1935.

These parrots are readily available from breeders, making them a very affordable choice for large parrot owners. 


In terms of size, they can attain lengths of 76–86 cm (30–34 in) and weigh 0.900–1.5 kg (2–3 lb), which places them among their larger relatives.

Generally, the feathers on top of their bodies are aqua blue, except those on the top of their heads, which are lime green. It is, however, dominated by a rich yellow/light orange color at the bottom.

They have black beaks and black feathers under their chins. Except for its black talons, its feet are gray in color. Besides a few black feathers around the eyes, the bird has white skin and nearly no feathers on its face.

There is a pale yellow color to the iris. They exhibit little variation in plumage from one region to another. In some species, the underside of the bird is orange or tan, particularly on the breast. Trinidad birds and other birds from the Caribbean region frequently displayed this behavior.

This bird belongs to a monomorphic species, indicating that it’s challenging to differentiate between males and females based on physical appearance. While some speculate that males might possess a flatter head and females a narrower beak, the most reliable methods to determine the sex of this macaw involve either surgical procedures or genetic testing.

Personality & Behavior

Wild parrots are usually found in pairs or small groups, high in the trees. The birds join large flocks of birds to feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

They usually fly in pairs (probably bonded) and their wings are known to touch when they are flying close together. The Blue-and-Gold Macaw has an enormous personality that complements its bright colors.

Their love for humans can be quite sweet and affectionate, but they can also be very loud and boisterous. They are very social, sweet, and even-tempered birds who want attention a lot. But, they are not recommended for novice bird owners.

Their playfulness and inquisitive nature also make them very playful, but they can also be very sensitive. A Blue-and-Gold Macaw is an intelligent bird capable of learning tricks if it is given the chance. They are not shy about expressing their feelings to you.

When they do not wish to be approached, they will fluff out their feathers and may even scream. However, they will also kiss you when they are in an affectionate mood.

Pros of Blue-and-Gold MacawCons of Blue-and-Gold Macaw
Demonstrates intelligence, making them capable of learning speech and tricks.Exhibits loud vocalizations, which can be disruptive.
Has a sociable nature, fostering good relationships with both birds and humans.Necessitates comprehensive care and attentive management.
Considered a more budget-friendly macaw species.Tends to become destructive when feeling bored or isolated.

Speech & Sound

It is common for blue-and-gold macaws to produce loud, ear-piercing sounds and to scream at times. If you are renting an apartment, you will not be able to hide this pet from your landlord, so you should familiarize yourself with its vocal capabilities before you take it home.

Screaming macaws cannot be silenced, particularly at dusk, when parrots tend to be most vocal. The blue-and-gold macaw is an adept talker, capable of repeating simple words and phrases.

Blue-and-Gold Macaw Caring

Aside from the macaw itself, the cage is one of the most expensive things you’ll buy. The parrot should be able to flap its wings without hitting anything while stretching out its wings.

Blue-and-gold macaws require a large enclosure due to their 40-inch wingspan. Ideally, it should measure approximately 3′ wide by 4′ long by 5′ high, but larger is always better. It is recommended that the bars be spaced 1 to 1.5 inches apart.

It is also possible to create a bird-safe room in your home. A variety of chewable items will need to be provided to your macaw, including pine cones, branches of fir, and wood specifically designed for birds.

Breaking or pulling apart objects is one of their favorite things to do. Furthermore, large perches can be purchased that are specifically designed for large Macaws. It is not necessary to force your macaw to take a bath if he or she does not appear to enjoy them.

If not, just make sure your Macaw has water. As a companion for your Macaw, you do not need to bring another bird into the house. For most Macaws, spending a considerable amount of time with you will be sufficient.

The more you socialize your Blue-and-Gold as he grows up, the more comfortable he will be around different species of people, birds, and pets. However, a Macaw should not be left alone with a smaller bird outside of its cage without supervision.

Breeding Blue and Gold Macaw

There is a monogamous bond between blue-and-yellow macaws that lasts for life. A blue-and-yellow macaw reaches sexual maturity between the ages of 3 and 4. In general, they breed between one and two times a year during the first half of the year.

Typically, nests are placed high in tall trees, usually in cavities already inhabited by other animals. There are normally two to three eggs laid by the female, and they are incubated for 24 to 28 days. Following hatching, the young are blind and without feathers.

The development of feathers begins after 10 days for the young. A fledgling becomes independent within three months of its birth. Male and female blue-and-yellow macaws need to provide for and protect their young.

Within the first week of hatching, only the female will feed the young through regurgitation, then the male will be able to do so as well. first week. To protect their young, the parents display an extreme degree of aggression towards intruders.

Common Health Problems

Macaws indeed live long lives, but they’re susceptible to viral infections like macaw wasting syndrome and overgrown beaks. Blue and gold parrots are also prone to self-mutilation through feather plucking in the event of neglect or boredom.

To maintain the health of your pet bird, it is imperative that you provide it with a well-balanced diet and sufficient exercise. This species’ most common nutritional problems include obesity, fatty liver disease, and fatty tumors.

Diet and Nutrition

The majority of macaws, including the blue-and-gold macaw, eat seeds, plant material, fruit, and nuts in the wild. Blue and gold macaws that are kept captive should be fed a varied diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Also, birds should be fed pellets along with healthy seeds like flax, hemp, and chia. You should avoid many nut treats due to their high fat content.

According to their size, macaws consume about half to three-quarters of a cup of parrot mix daily and approximately half to three-quarters of a cup of fruit and vegetables as well.

It is recommended that you feed it once in the morning as soon as you wake up and before it goes to bed at dusk. The last thing you should do before going to sleep is to remove all uneaten food.

The best fruits to give macaws include apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangoes, papayas, and berries.

Among the healthiest vegetables are carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and leafy greens. Feeding avocado, chocolate, or rhubarb to birds is not recommended.

Population number

While the wild population of this species has not been determined, approximately 10,000 individuals are believed to exist and the population is declining. According to the IUCN Red List, this species is currently classified as Least Concern (LC).

Population threats

In the Amazonian region, deforestation poses a major threat to the Blue-and-gold macaw. Within their distribution, it is estimated that a third of suitable habitat has been lost over the course of three generations (38 years).

Poaching and the illegal pet trade are the other major threats. Since 1981 when 55,531 wildlife specimens were recorded, CITES has restricted the trade of wild-caught animals following its regulations.

Conservation Status

According to the IUCN, the Blue and Gold Macaw has a large geographic range, making it of the least concern. Although the population trend is declining, it has not reached a level that would make it vulnerable.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a decline of less than 10% in the number of adult macaws. There are no Ara araraunas in Trinidad and Tobago, but conservation efforts have resulted in the reintroduction of these macaws.

Macaws from Guyana that were caught wild were brought to Trinidad and placed in pre-release flight cages between 1999 and 2004. Within three mating seasons, twelve chicks were produced by 14 birds.

Nine of the birds survived and produced chicks. Within three mating seasons of the second release, twelve macaws acclimated to pre-existing groups and produced 14 chicks.

Moreover, habitat degradation caused by pollution, development, and logging in South America is also hurting the populations of blue and yellow macaws.

Blue and Gold Macaw Lifespan

In general, blue and gold macaws live between 30-35 years in the wild and upward of 50 years in captivity. However, some of them have lived for more than 100 years. Charlie, the Blue and Gold Macaw was born in 1899 and celebrated her 112th birthday in 2011.

According to legend, she was once owned by Winston Churchill. Her anti-Nazi cursing has earned her fame. However, Guinness World Records recognized that Cookie, a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, is the oldest living parrot worldwide. She died at the age of 83. 


The blue and gold macaw is an active bird. They enjoy climbing, swinging, bouncing, and chewing. Every day, owners should allow their birds to play outside of their cage for 2 to 3 hours to allow them to stretch and exercise their muscles.

The jaw muscles of these birds are powerful. To maintain healthy and functional jaws, they must chew and gnaw. Blue and gold are known for their destructive beaks, so durable toys are essential for them.

It is recommended that you provide birds with safe chewable toys made of leather and keep extras on hand in case any are damaged. Macaws benefit from a variety of toys with nooks and crannies that enrich their minds.

From Where You Can Get a Blue-and-Gold Macaw

Blue-and-gold macaws are relatively common parrots that you can find at reputable pet stores or breeders. Blue-and-gold macaws can cost between $700 and $2500. You can purchase them from Omar’s Exotic Birds, Birdbreeders, BirdsNow, and Terry’s Parrot Farm.

Additionally, there are many bird rescue organizations located throughout North America, such as Bird Haven in Texas.

Adopting a rescued Macaw and providing him with a loving home is an option you may consider. If you search online or by word of mouth, you should be able to locate one of these macaws.


Before purchasing a Blue-and-Gold Macaw as a new pet, make sure you investigate the way the bird has been raised and its history.

It is no secret that the Blue-and-Gold Macaw is one of the most beautiful birds in the world! The breed is beautiful to look at, and if the right family decides to adopt one, it can be a truly loving companion.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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