Macaw VS African Grey (Detailed Comparison)

Last Updated on April 9, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Macaws and African Grey parrots are popular pet parrot species around the world. A macaw is colorful and big, but an African Grey is intelligent and can speak more than a thousand words. So it would be difficult for us to decide which one is the best. Are you confused between a Macaw and an African Grey Parrot?

If so, then this is not surprising at all. If you compare the comical macaw with the brilliant African Grey, you may find it difficult to make a choice.

No matter if it’s your first time owning a parrot or you’ve done it before, you might be wondering how they differ. They are clearly different, both visually and mentally. There are special care requirements for each species.

You are certain to find companionship and happiness in both birds, but one may be the ideal choice for you. Nevertheless, the question remains, which one will it be? In the end, it is up to you to decide which suits you best.

I will explain all the traits and responsibilities associated with these parrots. It will assist you in making a wise decision for you and your feather companion. Therefore, it is imperative that you read the entire article.

Macaw vs African Grey (Complete Comparison)

Brief Overview of MacawBrief Overview of African Grey Parrot
Scientific Name: Psittacidae
Diet: Seeds, fruits, flowers, leaves, palm nuts, figs, nectar.
Size: 11.8 to 39.5 inches
Color: Blue, Green, Yellow, Red
Weight: 4.5 ounces to 3.75 pounds
Talking Ability: Can talk and imitate sounds and noises
Average Lifespan: 30-50 years 
Scientific name: Psittacus erithacus
Diet: seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and vegetation.
Size: 12.9 inches (Mediums-sized)
Color: Grey
Weight: 2.5 pounds
Talking Abilities: Talkative and can mimic sounds
Lifespan: 40-80 years 


A walk through a macaw aviary is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Despite having shades of gray and a red tail, the African gray does not compare to the macaw’s vibrancy.

Any free-flying macaw, whether Scarlet, Green-Wing, Hyacinth, Buffon, or Military, is a gift.


They are both quite large parrots. However, the macaw has the advantage of size. Macaws range in size from 30 cm to 102 cm, depending on their species. Several smaller macaw species, such as the Lear’s macaw, are just about the same size as African flocks.

In addition, there are many large macaw species, including the Hyacinth macaws, which are known as the giant of parrots. In some cases, their large size may intimidate you. In the opinion of most people, African greys are just the right size.

This parrot has a short, red tail, which poses no problem. Additionally, you may be able to save money by using a smaller cage than a macaw.


Since there are so many different types of macaws, their prices vary quite a bit. Prices range from $1500 to $10,000+ without including supplies. African Greys cost approximately $1,000 to $1,500, plus additional supplies.


Although macaws and African greys exhibit a wide range of temperaments, there are some general differences between them.

A macaw is often more vocal and demonstrative than an African grey, and it may be more aggressive in protecting its territory.

On the other hand, African greys tend to be more laid-back and may be content to sit in a corner for long periods of time. However, both species can be very affectionate and loving when properly handled.


When it comes to African grays and macaws, the macaw is more energetic. Even a large cage is insufficient for macaws! Unlike African Greys, macaws flap, roll, bobble, and flip around constantly, never remaining still for long.

Just before sleep, they’ll stop. At that moment, even a nuclear bomb could not disturb their peace!

In general, African greys are calm, serene, and friendly. Sometimes they have bursts of energy but tend to swing gently. As they watch the world go by outside, they speak in full sentences as if someone is listening to them.


African grays are the focus of this category. In my experience, this parrot is the fastest at learning words, signs, movements, and conversation. These parrots are considered to be among the smartest in the world for a reason.

According to scientists, African Greys possess the brain of a five-year-old. Let me not mislead you; macaws are also intelligent. It has been reported that some macaws exhibit the same level of intelligence as a human toddler.

They are highly skilled at solving problems, making use of tools, and communicating with other birds. Aside from the use of sounds, some of them also use physical changes such as blushing to communicate.


Many people do not fully understand why birds are such noisy animals in general. Firstly, because birds do not possess windpipes, they are able to continuously scream for hours on end.

Therefore, birds will never lose their “voice.” As long as oxygen is available for breathing, birds will continue to yell. There is a competition between them to make the loudest noise.

In the wild, female mates are attracted to noisy, beautiful songs. Parrot owners who run the vacuum, blast the radio, or do something similar know just how competitive they can be. The macaw is significantly louder than the grey.

As a general rule, the larger the bird, the louder it will be. A macaw, and probably even a grey, would not be suited to an apartment building. Be prepared for loud screams if you intend to own one of these birds.


Adaptability is an important characteristic of both species of birds. However, African Grey Parrots are more susceptible to environmental changes and may require a higher level of care.

Different Lifespan

A macaw’s lifespan differs significantly from that of an African grey. African greys can live up to 80 years or more, as opposed to macaws, which typically live 30 to 40 years.

Most likely, the different environments and diets of these two species cause the difference in lifespan. A macaw’s diet typically consists of fruit and nuts, which are both high in calories and nutrients.

As for African greys, they live in colder climates and eat mainly insects, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. These parrots require a large amount of protein, essential nutrients, and vitamins to maintain their health.

A destructive nature

Depending on the owner, this can either be a positive or a negative factor. A macaw is one of the most destructive parrots, easily destroying toys. In the absence of supervision, they will destroy your furniture.

Although African greys have large beaks, they are not nearly as destructive as their American counterparts. Therefore, you’ll save money.

Bored macaws are dangerous macaws. It is so sad to see birds with plucked feathers, or any bird, for that matter. In short, keep an eye out for the cage and provide plenty of wood and leather toys.


The two parrots are clearly capable of learning “tricks.” While the gray parrot has a higher level of intelligence, I consider the macaw to be more trainable. Since macaws have a shorter attention span, trainers should limit the training sessions to 15 minutes.

Typically, African Grey training sessions last between 30 and 45 minutes. Sure, African grays learn faster, but I’d rather play with my parrot than spend a lot of time training it.


Out of the 12 points I have discussed, this is perhaps the most important. Before I discuss my experience, I want to emphasize that you can teach any bird not to bite, scratch, or nip. It requires patience and time.

The African Grey is well known for its nippy nature. Their bite strength ranges from 300 to 400 pounds per square inch. Occasionally, the owner will get a bite or a nip, but rarely anything serious. They are also mildly temperamental.

African Greys can only bite or nip you when they are placed back in their cages. The macaw is typically a friendly and gentle parrot. The majority of them do not exhibit aggressive behavior.

However, macaws, with their monstrous beaks, tend to play too rough and may cause damage. An adult macaw can exert 330 pounds of pressure in one bite, which is sufficient to crack a Brazil nut.

This pressure can seriously damage or even break your finger if applied by an angry macaw. Whichever one you choose, supervise its training until it is ready.


The choice between an African Grey and a macaw is ultimately yours. However, you should consider the specifics of each and decide which would work best for you.

Are you interested in the attention-seeking, loud, colorful, and loud-mouthed Macaw who enjoys showing off for company? Are you in favor of the mild-tempered, intelligent African Grey who exhibits an endless thirst for knowledge?

The choice is yours. Don’t forget that these birds have a long lifespan and require a considerable level of commitment. Make sure you are prepared to deal with any unexpected expenses and lifestyle changes beforehand.

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