The Blue and Gold Macaw is a New World parrot that also goes by its other name, the Blue and Yellow Macaw. From the Ara genus of the Macaw family, these large birds are native to South America and spread across large parts of the Amazon rainforest. They are a companion parrot and will bond closely with their human owners and have become popular as pet birds. Their natural habitat is the rainforest and so they are suited to warm, humid conditions. Large in size, they are around 80 to 90 cm long thanks to their tail feathers, their weight is likely to be 900 grams to 1.3kg. There is not much difference in the appearance between a male and female of this species and so DNA testing may be required to determine gender.
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|Names||Blue and gold macaw, blue and yellow macaw|
|Scientific name||Ara ararauna|
|Colors||Blue, yellow, white faces, black necks, green highlights on top of the head|
|Size||Around 80 to 90 cm (31.5 to 35.4 inches)|
|Weight||Approximately 900 to 1300 grams (2 to 3 lbs)|
|Lifespan||30 to 35 years|
|Price||$700 to $2500|
|Conservation Status (IUCN)||Least Concern|
|Distribution||Northern parts of South America ( Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guianas)|
|Habitat||Savanna, forest and woodlands|
|Food||Fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers|
|Personality||Curious, loud, intelligent, expressive|
The Blue and Gold Macaw is a companion parrot and is it is best to keep this bird in a pair. They require a large amount of attention and a fair amount of out-of-cage time so they can stretch their wings.
Due to their intelligence, they need stimulation and an enriched environment with a lot of toys to keep the birds entertained. They can be trained to talk and mimic their human owners.
This species of Macaw has very powerful beaks that it uses to eat and interact with its environment. Because of their powerful beaks, they are known to make short work of cages that toys that are weak and flimsy. These beaks also mean that the birds are not suitable for keeping in a home with young children.
In their natural habitat, these birds live in hot and humid conditions. Because of this, they should be kept in temperatures of around 25 degrees celsius. Their large size, especially long tail feathers and their powerful beaks mean that the birds need specially designed macaw cages with thick bars and large internal spaces (see our full guide to macaw cages here). Premium versions of the macaw cage are available as (stainless steel cages).
Large perches and ones of the varying sizes should be provided for the bird to promote good foot health and prevent the need for nail clipping. Providing the bird with lukewarm water underneath a shower every so often helps the bird to maintain it’s hygiene and also other bathing opportunities are a good idea.
As their name indicates, Blue and Gold Macaws have strikingly bright feathers. The yellow feathers cover the chest, sides of the face, and inner sides of the tail plus wings. Blue feathers make up most of the rest of the bird along with a few green feathers which are present above the face and dark feathers beneath the face. Their faces are featherless and covered in a white background with black markings. Look at the video below to see the bird in action:
Blue and Gold Macaws are known to make loud contact calls to members of their flock to ensure they are in hearing distance with one another. These large squawks are quite audible and are more frequent at the start and end of each day. These birds are intelligent, will mimic you and can be trained to talk. To hear the sounds that these Macaws make, click on one of the audio files below:
A Blue and Gold Macaw has a lifespan that is likely to live 30 to 35 years. There are some reported cases of these birds living 50 years in captivity.
You are likely to be able to buy a Blue and Gold Macaw for as little as $700 but with higher-end birds costing $2500. These prices are likely to vary depending upon the breeder, age of the bird, genetic lineage and any special markings the bird has on its plumage. Additionally consider the costs of cages, travel cages, insurance, food, toys, and perches plus more when budgeting for this bird.
Blue and Yellow Macaws will bond for life and will typically reach sexual maturity after 3 to 4 years. They lay egg clutches of 2 to 3 eggs, take 28 days to hatch and will fledge after 90 or so days. This breeding season normally happens in the wild during December to February.
Overgrown beaks are a common issue as is Macaw Wasting Syndrome which affects the stomach of the bird and causes them to lose weight. Feather plucking can be an issue if the birds are not provided with an enriching enough environment.
There’s a good reason this bird is so popular in aviculture. They’re beautiful, intelligent, fun and magnificent creatures that can be owned in your home. However, these birds also require a large amount of attention, care, energy, and money to properly house. Plus they live for a very long time and can be very noisy. Only take on the Blue and Gold Macaw as a pet if you can fulfill all of the requirements listed above.