Do Macaws Mate for Life? ( Vet’s opinion)

Last Updated on January 8, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Macaws belong to Psittacine and are admired for their loyalty towards their mates. These intellectual parrots form firm bonds with their owners and life partners. Macaws are monogamous and they do mate for life but the answer is not completely a ‘yes’.

Under natural and suitable conditions, macaws stay with only one partner at a time in life. However, they can search for another mate in case of an unfavorable event such as the death of their partner. Likewise, communication incompatibility can also lead to separation in macaws.

In this article, we are going in-depth about the social and monogamous behavior of macaws. These lovely birds follow the monogamy logic. Some reports suggest that macaws can stay with a single mate for more than 20 years.

Do Macaws Mate for Life?

Monogamy & Relationship Behavior of Macaws

Monogamy is a term that refers to staying in relation with one mate at a time. You do have an idea about how well macaws are socially active and interactive towards one another. They not only make bonds with other macaws but also with their human owners.

It is quite difficult to elaborate on the social courtship between parrot species. Macaws show long-lasting bonds with their partners even if they spend considerable time apart. The mating rituals in strongly bonded macaws help a lot in strengthening the relationship between them.

For a Macaw to be compatible with its partner, the correct hormonal balance is very important. During mating seasons, male macaws are more aggressive but they do accept their female mates. If a female macaw wants to mate with a male, she shows her interest by spreading her wings and holding her tail.

Indications of Compatible Macaw Pair

Macaws show strong relationship behavior towards their partners in the wild and captivity. A compatible and long-lasting macaw couple shows observable social signs. One of the signs is increasing the bird’s arousal leading to mating and courtship.

A good macaw couple regularly involves in mating and interacting with each other. If you have a macaw couple at home, you can observe how they behave. Signs such as preening to each other & taking small playful flights show compatibility between them.

Grooming between a macaw pair and opening wings in front of each other is common. Some macaw pairs produce specific sounds and gestures as a means of communication. This is usually done to establish dominance and affection toward each other.

Showing off such signs aids macaws to build stronger bonds every day. In this respect, they stay with each other throughout their life and live happily. Parrots such as macaws are noteworthy to study the monogamous nature of Psittacine.

The Exceptions.

Even though macaws say loyal to one partner only in their life, there are some exceptions. For instance, macaws can leave their mates if one asserts too much dominance towards the other. Similarly, they start searching for another mate in case of unhappy conditions.

If a macaw partner is neglected and ignored by the other for a prolonged period, it results in separation. Continuous fighting and incompatible behaviors also lead to leaving the potential partner. Macaws can go into an agitated state if they experience the death of their partners.

Parrots such as macaws are very sensitive and prone to stress because of the loss of their mates. If a macaw pair are happily living, the death of one of them puts considerable psychological stress on the other. They start showing abnormal signs such as excessive vocalization, preening, and self-mutilation.

Macaws also start doing repetitive and aggressive behaviors until they become normal. Hyperexcitability and depression can deteriorate the health of the living mate. But, all of this comes to normal after some days when they start searching for another mate.

Final Words

Macaws are truly wholesome birds to keep as pets. Naturally, they stay with one partner for decades or even more. A macaw usually doesn’t need more than one partner in its life and shows complete loyalty towards its partner.

Although some of the macaw species can mate for life, they can leave their partner in case of incompatibility. This includes unhappiness, assertive dominance, and the death of the other mate. In such cases, a macaw can leave the existing partner and starts searching for a new one.

Research References

Mulkay, Pamela. “A Courting Behavioral Study on a Hyacinth Macaw Pair.” The Pegasus Review: UCF Undergraduate Research Journal 12.1 (2020): 2.


  • 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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