Illiger’s Macaw (Blue-Winged Macaw) Complete Breed Profile

Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Ali Shahid

The Illiger’s Macaw (Primolius Maracana) also known as the Blue-Winged Macaw is a beautiful, charming and intelligent member of the mini-macaw family. Because of its small size and high intelligence, it makes a good pet.

But they’re boisterous and active, so you’ll need lots of space for them. It’s an active, curious, and funny little parrot who loves to chew on everything. Their adaptability and ease of care make them very popular.

The bird is friendly and sweet and can be handled by a wide range of individuals. However, socialization and a variety of experiences must start at a young age, and they need lots of stimulation and interaction.

Usually, people choose mini macaws since they believe that they are incapable of handling a larger bird. There are, however, times when appearances can be misleading. The Illiger’s macaw appears small, but it behaves similarly to a larger bird.

Deforestation has destroyed their habitat so they’re endangered in the wild. Wild-caught Illigers should be put into well-managed breeding programs so they can contribute to captive populations’ gene pool for future generations.

Origin and History of Illiger’s Macaw

Illiger’s macaws are likely to be found in the forests and woodlands of central and eastern Brazil, northern Argentina, and most of Paraguay in the southern part of central South America. The palm tree is a vital source of food for these birds.

They rely on the tree to get food and stay safe from predators and bad weather. By nature, wild Illigers are social creatures who live in small flocks or pairs of ones. They love being around other parrots, like macaws and conures.

The bird was named after German zoologist Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger, who described the species for the first time. Unfortunately, the Illiger is an endangered species in the wild as a result of habitat destruction.

In the opinion of many farmers, these birds are a nuisance. Farmers’ crops and grains have replaced their natural food sources, which are disappearing.  The practice of hunting and trapping has resulted in further reductions in their numbers.

Often, baby macaws are snatched from their nests for sale as pets. In many cases, young parrots that are captured are either killed or stressed out before they can find a new home. They are often neglected and do not receive adequate care.

The importation of endangered or threatened birds from abroad is prohibited in the United States. A good example of this is the Illiger’s macaw

Physical Appearance

It measures approximately 36–43 centimeters (14-17 inches) in length and weighs approximately 9.2 ounces (265 grams). They have green plumage with orange-red to red portions on their forehead, sides of the abdomen, and lower back.

Its crown is in the color of blue, while its head, nape, and cheeks are in the color of greenish-blue. It is commonly referred to as a blue-winged macaw due to the color of its flight feathers, which are blue with bluish-green edges.

A pale yellow color appears on the underside of the wings. There is an olive top to the tail, which changes to a reddish brown color towards the tip and then to a blue color toward the end.

The Macaw’s typical naked facial patch is generally yellowish in this species, though captive birds may have whitish patches. These bare patches of skin have fine feather lines. They have orange-brown irises.

There’s a black bill and flesh-colored legs on this moderate-sized bird. Both it and the red-bellied macaw have yellowish bare facial skin, which fades to white when kept in captivity.

Blue-winged macaws have a red lower abdomen and lower back, in contrast to red-bellied macaws. Its flight pattern is described as jerky and rearing in the wild.

Illiger’s Macaw Personality

Illiger’s macaws are friendly, intelligent, and lovable. As soon as they see you, they’ll call you like a crow. The birds bond strongly with their owners when baby birds are handfed and raised with love.

The relationship between the bird and its owner can be so strong that the bird may mimic the emotions of the owner. So if you are agitated, your pet may also become agitated. The more happy and loving you are, the more your pet is.

When they are out in the wild, they are almost always seen in pairs. The Illiger’s Macaw forms good relationships with other birds. They are very social animals and are happy to spend time with their flock or with their mate.

They will be much happier if they are kept together as a pair. The presence of an attentive companion to keep up with the bird’s quick thinking and movement helps keep it from feeling lonely and depressed.

A common activity between them is chasing each other around the aviary from perch to perch.

Speech and Sound

As a pet, macaws can be quite noisy, especially when they are young. The same seems to be true for the Illigers, even though the situation isn’t quite so dire.

Their usual calls are chirps and mumbles that they produce on their own, along with a variety of their usual calls.

 As a whole, the level of noise is quite acceptable and moderate in nature. The majority of their attention is given to playing and wooden toys, both of which they love.


These guys eat seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, flowers, and green plant matter in the wild. Also, they eat grains and maize, which makes farmers hate them.

The parrots eat with their claws, like all parrots. When captive birds become bored with the food they have been fed for some time, they are known to refuse to eat it.


A Blue-winged or Illiger’s Macaw reaches reproductive maturity between the ages of two and four years. In Brazil, breeding activity generally occurs between December and February.

There are normally two eggs in the clutch, which are incubated at the same time for about 29 days before hatching.

A nesting pair feeds and protects the young, leaving the nest after 11 weeks but staying with their parents for a year. During the 1990s, the last Spix’s Macaw was paired with a female Blue-winged Macaw.

Caring for the Illiger’s Macaw

A person who is considering owning an Illiger’s macaw should ensure that they have the time to devote to this bird. The animal will become bored, angry, and destructive if it feels neglected.

Neglected or sad macaws are not enjoyable to own, and owners will soon discover that they can and do harbor grudges against them. The Illiger’s macaw chews hard. It’s easy for a macaw to damage expensive molding, doors, and windowsills when it’s angry.

To keep Illiger’s macaws occupied and enriching, give them plenty of safe bird toys. Consider adopting at least two birds if at all possible. The birds can keep each other busy and entertain, which is beneficial to their well-being.

The illiger thrives when he is paired with another illiger in captivity. Additionally, they do quite well when kept in aviaries with other species, so it may not be necessary to keep a second Illiger.

The young animal will experience a period of aggression during its development. This phase can be expedited by proper training and positive reinforcement. The bird may nip at your hands, but you should ignore this and remove your hands.

When birds bite, put them back in their cages or on their play stands to teach them that nipping does not earn time. Flying is also a necessity for these birds. The way they move in the air is like an acrobat with graceful movements.

It is recommended that you use the largest cage you can afford for your bird – a high-quality cage that will last for the bird’s lifetime and will provide adequate space for some flight. Illiger’s macaws are expensive to own.

Consider this before purchasing one. There are many expenses associated with raising a pet, including veterinary bills, high-quality feed, toys, and cage maintenance.

If you are unable to provide the best of everything for your bird, you should wait until you can do so.

Make sure you spend some time with the bird you want. You have to watch out for their temper. Make sure the bird doesn’t have any behavioral problems before bringing it home.

Common Health Problems

Adaptable and hardy, these parrots can handle anything. That’s how they stay healthy. Take care not to neglect your pet’s basic needs to keep them happy and healthy.

Healthy eating, social interaction, and adequate space are some of the essentials. Watch out for signs of illness, such as apathy, difficulty breathing, feather loss, or a dirty vent.

Provide your pet macaw with everything it needs, including a nutritious diet, plenty of space, and a caring companion. However, they are still susceptible to the following macaw diseases.

  • Beak malformations in chicks
  • Macaw wasting disease
  • Allergies
  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
  • Lipomas
  • Feather picking
  • Papilloma
  • Kidney disease
  • Toxicity
  • Parrot fever

From Where You can Get an Illiger’s Macaw

Illiger’s Macaws that are fully hand-reared range in price from $4,500 to $5,500. The Wild Birds Protection Act of 1992 prohibited the import of all Illiger’s macaws to the United States.

This makes it difficult to determine whether the birds have been wild-caught or captive-bred.

The U.S. has had multiple breeding programs that have helped to propagate the species from birds that were already present in the country before the import ban. It is possible, in some cases, to buy Illiger’s macaws online for a premium price.


  • 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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