How Long do Macaws Live? (Macaw Lifespan)

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Ali Shahid

The macaw is one of the world’s longest-living parrots. Thus, owning a macaw requires a lot of commitment. This is why macaw owners always want to know a macaw’s lifespan. The most common question is, how long do macaws live?

In general, macaws live between 30 and 50 years. However, the lifespan of different macaw species varies. The larger Hyacinth Macaw lives for 50 years while the smaller Hahn’s Macaw lives for 20-30 years. In some cases, some species of macaws can live for more than a century. If you plan to keep a macaw, of any species, you should expect a significant commitment. It is believed that Charlie, 114 years old, is the longest-living Macaw.

There is a commonly held belief that he belonged to Winston Churchill during the war. Macaws are known for staying around longer than other New World Parrots. These birds are known for outliving their owners for quite some time.

Therefore, getting a macaw is a big deal, from the initial setup to the ongoing care. Let’s take a look at the life expectancy of different macaw species.

 We’ll also talk about why macaws usually live so long and how you can make sure yours does too. In case you’re interested in taking on one of these magnificent creatures, keep reading.

The Lifespan of Different Macaw Species

Macaw SpeciesLifespan in the Wild (years)Lifespan in Captivity (years)
Blue-and-yellow macaw30-3550-60
Green-winged macaw35-4070-80
Blue-throated macawUp to 50Up to 50
Scarlet Macaw40-50Up to 70
Blue-headed macaw30-4030-40
Glaucous macaw14-2050
Hyacinth macaw30-5050+
Lear’s macaw30-5060
Golden-collared macaw20-3050
Hahn’s macaw40-5030
Spix’s macaw2838
Great green macaw5060-80
Saint Croix macawExtinctExtinct
Lesser Antillean macawExtinctExtinct
Red-bellied macaw15-3030-40
Military macaw6056-70
Red-fronted macaw25-3050
Chestnut-fronted macaw3040
Cuban macawN/AExtinct
Noble macaw25-3025-30

How long does a macaw live in the wild?

It is very difficult to determine the lifespan of macaws in the wild. The rainforests and woodlands of Central and South America are home to about 15 varieties of macaws. Each of these species may have a somewhat different average lifespan in the wild.

Trying to figure out a bird’s wild lifespan is tough, especially for the hard-to-find ones. Many macaw species are endangered, making tracking and studying them difficult but necessary. For example, take a look at Maestri, Ferrati & Berkunsky’s 2017 article.

These researchers studied the blue-throated macaw, a critically endangered species, but had no idea how long they lived in the wild.

Regardless, macaws live pretty long even in the wild. The estimates vary greatly, ranging from 20-60 years. Due to human activity like deforestation, the average lifespan is probably getting shorter.

How long does a macaw live in captivity?

According to some sources, macaws living in captivity don’t live as long as their wild counterparts. Despite recent improvements, the pet trade and home conditions are still less than ideal for many.

If well taken care of, a macaw can live longer than most humans. Despite some smaller sub-species shorter lifespans, they can still live longer than other household pets. You can expect a macaw to live anywhere from 25 to 60 years in your home.

Why Do Macaws Live for So Long?

In the parrot family, macaws are the big guys. Various species of parrots have varying life expectancies, with some living beyond 100 years.

The average life expectancy of a parrot is greater than that of a dog, cat, rabbit, or even an elephant – but shorter than that of jellyfish, whales, or turtles. Let’s see what makes these feather companions live so long.

1. Genetic Differences

One reason for the variation in average longevity between species is the genetic differences between them. For example, if parrots live long, that’s because their genes are good for it.

The physiological adaptations these birds might have, such as a better DNA repair mechanism or a higher level of disease resistance, could enable them to live longer.

 While, at the moment, the exact mechanism behind macaws living much longer lives remains unknown.

2. Lower Metabolism

A fun fact about mammals is that the largest ones live the longest. Researchers explain this phenomenon by hypothesizing that large species have a lower basal metabolism resulting in an increased life expectancy.

3. A Mystery

When it comes to birds, it’s the opposite! A bird’s basal metabolic rate is higher and its body temperature is higher than a mammal’s. So, if we believe the theory stating that large mammals live longer, macaws are supposed to live less than dogs, for instance.

Therefore, scientists speculate that birds have physiologic and genetic adaptations to prevent rapid aging. There is still a lot of research to be done on this fascinating mystery!

Life Cycle of a Macaw

The macaw has a similar life cycle to other parrots. They start as eggs and hatch. However, this is just the beginning of the interesting stuff.

  • Neonates

A macaw starts off life in an egg, usually two or three at a time. Baby macaws are called neonates, or hatchlings. These little naked chicks have no feathers and are blind, so they’re completely dependent on their parents.

Between 14 and 28 days, the bird’s eyelids open and it gets its first glimpse of the world. Between 10 and 35 days, the bird’s ear canal opens and it learns to hear.

  • Nestlings

When a newborn’s eyes open, it’s a nestling. Caregivers leave an impression on nestlings. Their environment needs to be visually, tactilely, auditorily, and interactionally enriching for them to grow.

  • Fledgling

Here’s where the parrot learns to fly. The fledglings are fascinated with flying at this age, so they lose interest in eating. Despite this, they are still dependent on their parents or caregivers for food because they are unable to get it on their own.

  • Weanling

Parrots go through a weaning phase when they learn to feed themselves and take care of themselves on their own. Before birds can completely wean, they must develop several motor skills while foraging.

  • Adolescence

Macaws at this stage are classified as juveniles or adolescents. As soon as it is fully weaned, it will be self-sufficient, but it will not yet be sexually mature.

  • Adulthood

Macaws are fully mature at around 2-3 years old. Once they reach sexual maturity, they pair up and look for nesting sites.

Factors Affecting The Macaw’s Lifespan

There will be different factors that impact the macaw’s lifespan depending on whether it is found in the wild or kept as a pet. Among them are:

  • Poor diet

Diet plays a significant role in the lifespan of a macaw. Bad diets can cause obesity, malnutrition, and weakened immune systems, among other health problems. This will result in a poorer quality of life for the bird and an increased likelihood of sickness.

  • Predation

Natural predators don’t bother macaws because they’re big birds. However, larger birds of prey, snakes, and monkeys are some of the macaw’s primary predators. In some cases, they feed on fledging macaws or steal their eggs from nests.

  • Stressful environment

Stress can be bad for your macaw’s health and, eventually, his or her lifespan. Your bird may suffer from a great deal of stress if it is kept in a small, crowded cage with little opportunity to move around. It’s because they’re fundamentally social creatures that need constant engagement.

How to Increase the Lifespan of Macaws

  • Diet

There is still a misconception that parrots like macaws can be fed only seeds, causing them to be obese and malnourished. You should instead feed your parrot pellets and plenty of vegetables!

  • Housing

There are still a large number of macaws that live most or all of their lives in cages. It can cause severe stress. Furthermore, a lack of exercise causes deadly obesity!

The mini macaws also require large cages, lots of parrot toys, and plenty of outdoor space for exploring and flying.

  • Socialization

It’s true, macaws are a handful. Those big beaks aren’t for you. It’s still important to make macaws feel like they’re a part of the family: they’re very social creatures.

Behavioral issues such as aggressive behavior and excessive vocalization are often associated with loneliness and boredom. Having a mate or friend will keep your macaw from getting stressed if you work outside the home.

  • Entertainment

Keep them busy or you may find yourself dealing with a bored, noisy, destructive, and stressed macaw.

It is easy for macaws to chew up toys, so you should keep a steady supply on hand! It’s also helpful to offer your bird a variety of foods and spend time with him or her.

  • Safety

I can’t stress this enough! The fumes from the kitchen or cigarette smoke can still kill your parrot. It is strictly prohibited to use scented products or products that emit fumes in any room to it has access.

Toys should also be checked and rechecked to ensure they are still safe. A vet’s number, tweezers, gauze, blood clotting agent, and some basic first-aid items should always be on hand.

Finally, you need to know what symptoms of disease to look for in parrots so you can catch them early.

Final Thoughts

Macaws make fantastic companion birds if you can take care of them well. Different macaw species have different lifespans, but they typically live long lives. Macaws generally live between 25 and 60 years.

With their long lifespans in captivity, they provide a great opportunity for you to establish a lasting relationship with your magnificent feathered companion. But remember that macaws can suffer long-term if they are not cared for properly.


  • 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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