Country of Origin: South America
Males Size: Up to 89 cm long, 900-1200 grams
Female Size: Up to 89 cm long, 900-1200 grams
Also known as:  Blue and Yellow Macaw
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 60 + years
Best Suited as:  Pets

The Blue and Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna ) while a very popular pet in Australia, is an expensive one as well. They are very colourful, large birds with a big personality and ready to interact with you on a moment’s notice.

The Blue and Gold Macaw is a brilliantly coloured bird with a green forehead and green tipped wing feathers. Their neck, back, tail, and wings are brilliant blue.  The underside of the tail is olive-yellow and the chest and underside of the wings and belly are a bright golden yellow. They have large grey-black beaks, black throats and display white patches of skin around their eyes and face.  Their claws are grey. The Blue and Gold Macaw eyes start out black but turn yellow over a period of time.

Blue and Gold Macaws are brash, smart, even-tempered and sweet if raised properly. They tend to make better pets than some of their Macaw cousins but without daily attention, they may become easily bored, distressed, anti-social and destructive.  Blue and Gold Macaws can be trained to talk, but are not good at mimicking sounds and words.

This bird is a highly social one, making it a popular pet.  In the wild, these Macaws are typically found in pairs or family groups, making them a bit more social than other species of macaws, who primarily stick to their mates.

Most Blue and Gold Macaws use body language to communicate and enjoy learning new things. They love puzzles of all kinds and any other games that stimulate their minds and challenge them to figure out something new.

Blue and Gold Macaws are active birds and need daily exercise.  2-3 hours a day minimum should be provided for playtime outside of their cage.  Macaws need to be bathing regularly; between 3-7 times a month, depending on the season to keep their skin and feathers looking good.

The Blue and Gold Macaw should be fed a varied diet of seeds, pellets, and fresh foods. Most bird enthusiasts recommend that their diet should consist of at least half specialized pellets, then mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, followed by a few seeds. Seeds cannot be the primary part of the diet because they do not supply the proper nutrition alone that a bird needs.  Fresh fruits, such as berries, grapes, passion fruit, apples, oranges and bananas, and pears work well. Fresh vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, peas, beans, and sweet potato work well and silverbeet is said to enhance the red colouring of the plumage.

While it is tempting to share snacks with your pet that are high in fat, avoid this temptation. Additionally, avoid feeding your Macaw cherries, avocados, chocolate, and caffeinated foods, as they are toxic.  Macaws take enormous delight in cracking open shelled nuts such as brazil, pecan, and almonds for dessert.

The more time your Macaw spends in the cage during the day, the larger a cage you will need.  An outdoor aviary is ideal for them; natural sunlight is essential for their plumage and health.  If kept indoors, Macaws do best when put in a “high traffic” area where they will get daily interaction.  Because they love to climb, swing, bounce, and chew, finding the appropriate toys will help them release nervous energy.  These toys should be strong – the Blue and Gold’s beak can quickly destroy any flimsy toy. Perches and toys should be rotated regularly, and especially if showing wear and tear. Only toys made from all-natural materials should be used.

Your bird’s cage should be changed at least once a week. It may need it more often, due to fresh foods and toy parts.  It is recommended that you clean and disinfect the bird’s cage as often, as well.

Health Issues
Blue and Gold Macaws usually live long and healthy lives but are prone to certain kinds of health problems. Like most birds, most of these problems can be prevented by good diet, nutrition and routine health care.  Some of the most common diseases and problems are bacterial, viral and fungal infections, beak malformation, oral and cloacal papillomas, pancreatitis and nervous ticks like feather chewing and pulling.

Suitability as a pet
Blue and Gold Macaws thrive with pet owners who are well educated about their bird, dedicated and responsible. They can make extremely loyal and fun pets but this bird is not for everyone.  They are large and need more space than most, can be extremely loud and live for a very long time.

Due to their noise level, they may not be the best choice for those who live in apartments or those who have small napping children. Keep your Macaw entertained with toys and provide plenty of playtime. Bored Macaws are said to be very problematic. Blue & Gold Macaws can be very demanding and have a tendency to become aggressive or pluck their feathers.