Harlequin Macaw (Complete Breed Profile)

Last Updated on May 15, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Harlequin macaw is another hybrid parrot in the hybrid Macaw series. This cheeky and cheerful species is named after the word harlequin, which means clown in Latin.

Historically, it was bred in captivity by mixing green-winged macaws with blue and gold macaws. This species is scientifically known as Ara chloropterus x Ara ararauna.

A dedicated parrot handler or an experienced macaw handler is required to handle these needy birds. These large macaws tend to make good pets for families. The ability to interact with other animals and humans is critical to their well-being.

Their personalities are amusing, they talk well, and they are friendly. Harlequin macaws are beautifully colored, taking cues from both of their parents, and can make excellent pets due to their pleasant disposition.

There are many reasons to keep these parrots as pets, but their striking plumage is one of the most appealing. If you would like to learn more about this rare hybrid Macaw, we invite you to read on.

Brief Overview of Harlequin Macaw
Common NameHarlequin Macaw
Scientific NameAra chloropterus and Ara ararauna hybrid
ColorGreen Blue backs, Orange Red breast
Size34-40 Inches
Weight2-3 lbs
SoundScreeching with talking ability
Caring levelHighly Demanding
Outside time4-5 Hours a day
Cage Size5x5x8 feet
Lifespan50-80 years
Breeding Age3 Years

Origin And History of Harlequin Macaw

In the wild, there is a very small percentage of harlequin macaws, so the vast majority of them are bred in captivity. This macaw is native to Bolivia and can be found in Brazil, Colombia, and Panama as well as other parts of Central and South America.

The region encompasses a wide variety of habitats, including lowlands along rivers and open Savannah lands.  The green-winged macaw inhabits tropical rainforests and lowlands in eastern Panama to northern South America.

Consequently, they can meet and breed in the wild. However, Harlequin macaws are generally bred in captivity and are more vulnerable to extinction than their parents.

Harlequin macaws are a very popular pet, so you can easily find one for adoption that has been bred in captivity.  The Harlequin macaw can be crossed with other breeds to produce other macaw species. Among the most common are:

  • Harligold macaw: Harlequin macaw crossed with a blue and gold macaw
  • Jubilee macaw: Harlequin macaw crossed with a green-wing macaw
  • Fiesta macaw: Harlequin macaw crossed with a Camelot macaw
  • Quatro macaw: Harlequin macaw crossed with a ruby macaw (hybrid)
  • Maui sunrise macaw: Harlequin macaw crossed with a Catalina macaw (hybrid)
  • Tropicana macaw: Harlequin Macaw crossed with a Scarlet Macaw

Physical Appearance

Because the Harlequin Macaw is a hybrid breed, its coloration and markings may differ. The dominant genes in Macaws are passed from males to offspring, so the color of your Harlequin Macaw will depend upon the color of its male parent.

Fathers with green wings will produce young with light orange breasts, whereas fathers with blue wings will produce young with a more vivid orange-red breast color.

Besides that, their plumage features vibrant blue and green against a golden-yellow tail feather and orange-red head.

A genetic test is the only way to distinguish between males and females because they both appear identical and are almost impossible to distinguish.

Personality Or Temperament

As a hybrid bird, the Harlequin Macaw displays characteristics of both species that produced it. It’s fun-loving and lovable because of the docility of a Green-winged Macaw and the clownish character of a Blue and Gold Macaw.

They’re usually pretty laid back and not too energetic. However, even when properly socialized, macaws can still behave like one-person birds and are sometimes loud and cranky.

You should introduce a companion bird to this species as they get along well with other macaws. Similarly, to all macaws, they require extensive interaction with humans.

Keep your bird well-socialized and avoid behavioral problems by interacting with it for at least one hour a day. They’re friendly, but their beaks are big and powerful, so kids shouldn’t handle them.

There are some tricks you can teach harlequins. The best way to train these macaws is to use positive reinforcement. Speech and Vocalizations Parrots are loud in general, but macaws are known for their super loud calls.

Don’t get a macaw if you don’t want your parrot to wake you up every morning with its screaming. On the bright side, these birds won’t let you miss an early flight!

Also, macaws are a good option if you want a talking parrot. With a little training, they can learn 15 words or so.


Breeding harlequin macaws requires identifying their sex, and you can only do that with a surgical probe. Breeding happens in the spring, so you should find them a mate they can bond with over the winter.

Breeding is best between the ages of 4 and 8. You will need a nest box that measures 100 inches high, 40 inches wide, and 40 inches deep for your macaws.

You should also choose a location that offers sufficient privacy and security, such as a quiet corner with lots of coverage.

Caring for the Harlequin Macaw

As social birds, Harlequin Macaws require daily interaction with their owners to stay healthy and happy. The lack of regular interaction can quickly lead to boredom and destructive behavior.

Occasionally, they may act aggressively and pluck out their feathers out of frustration. Therefore, owning one of these parrots is a very demanding and time-consuming endeavor.

The cage should be at least 5 square feet, but the larger the cage, the better. At least three to four hours of their day should be spent outside their cage.

For adequate entertainment, their cages should include toys, perches, and swings, as well as space for them to stretch out and climb. Make sure you provide your harlequin macaw with a variety of toys to keep it mentally and physically stimulated.

While they are very playful pets, if they do not receive all the attention they expect, they might throw a tantrum and even become aggressive, so be cautious. Those living in small apartments need to be aware that the volume of their calls may reach 105 decibels.

The animals are better suited to a house where they are not likely to annoy neighbors and where there is some space for them to roam.

Diet and Nutrition

This species of macaw is very energetic. They must consume foods that are rich in fats and calories to maintain good health. Macaws in the wild feed on a variety of palm nuts, seeds, and fruits.

A high-quality seed and pellet mix should be provided for harlequin macaws. In addition, it is a good idea to provide fresh, bird-safe fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet.

Macaws consume between 1/2 to 3/4 cups of parrot mix per day, as well as 1/2 to 3/4 cups of fruit and vegetables. A fresh supply of drinking water is also needed.

Offer a variety of fruits, such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangoes, papayas, and even strawberries and blueberries.

Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, dark green leafy veggies, dandelions, and chickweed can be provided. It is not advisable to feed avocado to birds as it is toxic to them.

If you are looking for an easy way to make food prep easier, you can make the fruit and vegetable salad ahead of time, and use the chop concept to portion out your daily rations.

Common health problems

Generally, macaws are healthy birds, and if properly cared for, they rarely fall ill. A lack of nutrition and boredom are the biggest health problems among Macaws.

Diseases can still occur regardless of how well you care for your pet. Macaws are susceptible to the following illnesses:

  • Infections (bacterial, fungal, viral)
  • Feather plucking
  • Proventricular dilation disease
  • Psittacosis
  • Allergies
  • Beak malformations in chicks

A visit to an avian vet is highly recommended even if your Macaw appears healthy and vibrant.

Proper care, adequate enrichment, and a well-rounded diet can prevent most of the above complications. Whenever you spot these symptoms in your bird, take them to a vet right away:

  • Lethargy
  • Ruffled plumage
  • Behavior changes
  • Bulges in feathering
  • Droopy wings
  • Watery or partially closed eyes
  • Rasping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Labored breathing

Parrots and harlequin macaws need to be exercised regularly to prevent obesity.

The activities they participate in keep them physically fit as well as provide them with much-needed mental stimulation. Providing plenty of toys for your harlequin macaw will keep it occupied.

From Where to Get a Harlequin Macaw

Adopting a Harlequin Macaw is not cheap, and caring for them is also expensive. The cost of a Harlequin Macaw can range from $3,500 to $6,000 and sometimes even higher.

Since these birds carry such a great deal of responsibility and live such long lives, some owners are unable to take care of them and rehome them.

Macaws in need of loving homes are often found in adoption agencies and rescue organizations. This will allow a Macaw to live another happy life while saving you some money in the process.


The Harlequin Macaw is a beautiful bird, with one of the most vibrant and beautiful plumages among parrot species. Furthermore, their friendly, social, and affectionate nature makes them ideal for first-time bird owners.

These birds have exceptionally long lives and require a large amount of care and interaction, so they are a massive responsibility that should not be underestimated.

It is likely that your macaw will outlive you, so ensure that you keep this in mind.

Taking on the responsibility of raising a Harlequin Macaw will make you a proud owner of a wonderful pet that will provide you with years of joy and companionship.

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