Macaws as Pets (Pros and Cons)

Last Updated on December 31, 2023 by Ali Shahid

It is popular to keep macaws as pets. If you were thinking of getting a macaw, you must be wondering: How are macaws as pets? The macaw is a magnificent, intelligent, funny, and affectionate bird. With their strikingly colorful feathers, prominent beaks, and expansive tails, these creatures undeniably catch the eye. Their playful nature and vocal tendencies can charm many. Yet, it’s essential to understand that they come with challenges. These birds can be quite loud, sometimes stubborn, and have a knack for making a mess. When it comes to their owners, they are playful, but when it comes to strangers, they are aggressive. Providing them with adequate care and space is crucial; otherwise, they can wreak havoc, especially in apartment settings due to their loud calls. Moreover, without the right attention and stimulation, they can become destructive. For those new to bird care, macaws are not the ideal choice.

To make the right choice, you need to understand the pros and cons of keeping pet macaws. Thus, prior to purchasing a macaw, it is important to understand what it is you are bringing into the home.

It will assist you in determining whether macaw pets are suitable for you or not. So here are some of the pros and cons of pet macaw.

Is a macaw a good pet?

Macaws can make good pets for experienced bird owners who can provide the proper care and attention. These magnificent creatures are not only intelligent but also display a playful and affectionate nature. Building a deep bond with their owners is a characteristic trait. Yet, it’s essential to recognize their needs.

Macaws demand ample space, consistent attention, and dedicated care. Without proper nurturing, they may exhibit noisy behaviors and engage in destructive activities. Thus, providing them with the right environment and care is paramount to ensuring their well-being and harmonious companionship.

Are macaws friendly to humans?

Macaws are friendly to humans they know. Once a macaw establishes trust with an individual, they can indeed become loyal companions. However, their inclination towards unfamiliar faces is quite reserved. In situations where they encounter strangers, they might display signs of aggression or unease.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to understand their territorial nature; if they perceive a threat or feel their personal space is compromised, they can exhibit aggressive behaviors. Thus, creating a secure and familiar environment is vital for their comfort and well-being.

Are Macaws Easy to Keep?

Macaws are not easy to keep at all. They require proper care and attention. These giant and energetic birds should only be handled by experienced bird owners. They are not good for beginners. They are not easy to keep as pets, as they have specific needs that must be met to ensure their well-being. Some of the challenges of keeping macaws include:

  1. Nutrition: A mere seed-based diet falls short for macaws. To maintain optimal health and steer clear of issues like obesity or fatty liver disease, they necessitate a well-rounded diet encompassing fruits, nuts, and diverse food sources.
  2. Social Interaction: Being inherently social creatures, macaws thrive on engagement. Insufficient mental stimulation or social interaction can render them bored, leading to destructive behaviors.
  3. Vocalizations: Macaws are renowned for their robust and often boisterous vocalizations. While this can be amusing, it might also prove overwhelming in certain settings.
  4. Cleanliness: The upkeep of a macaw’s environment demands diligence. Their propensity for messiness necessitates routine grooming and sanitation of their habitat.
  5. Lifespan: With a potential lifespan ranging from 30 to 75 years, the commitment to a macaw is long-term. However, this duration can diminish without adequate care and suitable living conditions.

Given these complexities, macaws are best suited to seasoned bird enthusiasts equipped to meet their multifaceted needs. For those new to avian companionship, commencing with a more manageable species like a cockatiel would be prudent before contemplating macaw ownership challenges.

Pros of Macaws as Pets

Pros of Macaws as PetsCons of Macaws as Pets
Hardy & HealthyNoise Levels High
Trainable & IntelligentDestructive Behavior
Stunning AppearancesNeed Social Interaction
Warm & FriendlyTerritorial Nature
Long Lifespan (50-75 years)Physical Affection Needs
Mimicry & VocabularyExpensive to Maintain
Bonding & Family NatureMessy Eating & Environment
Biting Tendencies
Molting Process
Potential Allergies
  • Hardy and healthy

In general, macaws have a lifespan of 50-75 years, and some of them may live longer than their owners.

These birds are extremely healthy and rarely suffer from serious health problems when provided with a good diet, ample exercise, and a peaceful environment.

  • Trainable and intelligent

In terms of intelligence, Macaws are ranked second to African Greys by most experts. In addition to being logical and discriminating birds, macaws have even been shown to be creative and solve complex puzzles with ease.

They are able to hide their food and pick out seeds they do not like. The IQ and EQ of Macaws are comparable to those of a 2-3-year-old human child, and they are also able to demonstrate love and jealousy in a similar manner.

There are hundreds of words, phrases, and sounds that macaws can mimic, such as laughing, ringing phones, and singing. They are very trainable.

  • Stunning Appearances

No matter which species of Macaw you choose to keep as a pet, there is no denying their exotic beauty.

The macaw reaches a height of up to three feet and is distinguished by its large beak, long tail, and striking combination of colors. They are very popular pets for this very reason – in terms of appearance, they are simply unmatched by other species of parrots.

  • Warm and friendly

There are ten or more macaws in a flock in the wild, which makes it a social bird. Macaws develop strong bonds with their pet owners because they see them as vital members of their flock.

Despite their aversion to strangers, macaws are almost puppy-like in affection when it comes to people. It’s especially true if the Macaw was raised from an early age, however, adoptees also warm up to their companions.

In the macaw family, mates are typically paired for life, food is shared, and young and siblings are recognized as well as maintained in long-term relationships.

Cons of Macaws as Pets

  • Noise

Whenever one thinks of macaws, loudness should come to mind, as the noise they make is part of their DNA. According to those who have observed macaws in the wild, they can be heard at a distance of up to five miles away. Thus, macaws confined to apartments or other close quarters usually do not succeed over the long term.

The average adult macaw produces five to ten minutes of excruciating, ear-piercing, mind-altering noise several times during the course of the day. However, just because some people dislike this noise does not imply that it is abnormal. If you are seeking a quiet pet, it is recommended that you choose a reptile or a fish.

  • Destructive

Parrots are notorious for their destructive behavior. It’s best to look at the ground to identify wild parrot flocks’ favorite roosts. Food, wood, and anything else found in the beak of a parrot bird are often found beneath its perch.

Shredding trees in the jungle is just as natural as chewing your woodwork. There is no way to train out this behavior. We should decorate our homes with caution since few materials can withstand a large macaw’s beak.

  • Macaw Sociability

The macaw is an extremely social bird, much like many species of parrots. Most often seen in small family flocks, they are rarely seen alone in the wild.

In contrast to other psittacine species, the large macaws appear to have the characteristic of “mating for life.”

Macaws are highly social and are not likely to sit quietly in their cages for long periods of time. They require human interaction on a daily basis.

  • Territorial

The macaw researcher Charles Munn says macaws can’t reproduce in the wild due to a lack of dead trees for nests. The territoriality of our pet macaws towards their trees persists despite living in our living rooms.

When this occurs in our homes, it can lead to aggression towards birds, especially those kept in cages.

The combination of this tendency along with most people’s fear of the macaw’s large beak can lead to many pet macaw owners experiencing problems with their birds.

For inexperienced caretakers, simple chores like feeding and cleaning the cage can be dangerous. There is, however, no need for this behavior to become a cause for concern.

  • Physical Affection

Despite what many people think, macaws are equally as physically demonstrative as cockatoos. A macaw only physically cuddles with people they know very well, unlike cockatoos, which often cuddle strangers. Macaws that love and trust you are almost puppy-like in their affection toward you.

  • Expensive

Macaws can cost thousands of dollars to purchase, as well as to maintain. You should keep in mind that the cage, toys, food, and vet visits can all add up in the long run and that you will be caring for the bird for many years to come.

  • They are messy

Macaws enjoy chewing on things, they molt frequently, and they require regular spot cleaning in their cages. Additionally, they create a mess while eating. There is an unavoidable amount of cleaning required when keeping a Macaw as a pet.

  • They bite

Macaws, regardless of how well-trained and affectionate they are, have a tendency to bite. Whenever things do not go according to plan, macaws can also become easily irritated, which can result in biting. They have large, powerful beaks, which can cause severe pain.

  •  They Molt

In the life of a bird, molting is part of the process of growing new feathers and shedding old ones. It is natural for macaws to molt, but the process can be painful, and your pet may act a bit irritable during this time.

Give him treats, be kind, and understand when he doesn’t want to play during this phase. The molting process may cause some birds to act a bit lethargic, so be patient.

  • Allergies

There are fewer allergies to birds than to cats or dogs, primarily due to saliva, rather than hair. However, for some individuals, bird dander and dust mites may pose a problem.

Think seriously before getting a bird if someone in your household has allergies. Ideally, they should not spend a lot of time around birds. When allergies force you to find a new home for your beloved bird, it can be extremely heartbreaking.

Which macaw is the friendliest?

The hyacinth macaw is known as one of the friendliest macaw species due to its affectionate and playful nature.

The macaw lives a long time.

The decision to acquire a macaw should not be taken lightly. Their lifespan is usually 30 years or more, so they will be a companion for many years to come. Consider a pet as a lifelong commitment.

Since macaws bond with their owners, it can be problematic to give them away. If something were to happen to you, you should make arrangements for your macaw.

Macaws are often designated as beneficiaries in people’s wills, with some setting up trust funds and purchasing life insurance policies to alleviate the financial burden.


As a general rule, macaws make excellent pets – if they are owned by the right person. The Macaw makes a great companion once you understand what it takes to take care of them properly.

You may want to consider a different parrot if you’ve never owned a bird before. These birds are not for novice owners. So we have listed all the pros and cons of macaws. Read and decide whether macaws are right for you or not.


  • 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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