Harlequin Macaw

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Is the Harlequin Macaw right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Jubilee (Harlequin x Ara chloroptera)

Scientific name: Ara ararauna x Ara chloroptera

The basics of the Harlequin Macaw:
The Harlequin Macaw is produced by crossing a Blue and Gold Macaw and a Greenwing Macaw. Although they are larger than Catalina Macaws, they are easily confused with them, since the equally colorful Catalinas are produced by crossing Blue and Gold with Scarlet. As a hybrid between two of the most highly regarded pet macaws, the Harlequin can be a beautiful and charming pet indeed. They are intelligent, they can talk a little, and they may laugh a lot. But bring your best parrot behavior skills, because they can be loud and rowdy if you don't manage them well.

A colorful variation is the Jubilee Macaw, which is a Harlequin crossed with a Green-winged Macaw, to create a handsome macaw that is three-fourths Green-wing and only one-fourth Blue and Gold.

Harlequin Macaw Appearance:
A large colorful hybrid macaw. No two hybrids look alike, so always confirm the identity of your Harlequin Macaw with the breeder.

1040 - 1320 grams (37 - 46.5 oz.)

Average size:
86 - 90 centimeters (34 - 35.4 in.)

50+ years

Hybrid Harlequin Macaw behavior / temperament:
Harlequin Macaws generally combine the best of both parent species, although some people say that the father's genes will dominate. Be that as it may, they tend to be brash, intelligent, and confident, with a wicked sense of humor. That said, they can also offer the usual macaw challenges – they may bite, they may get too loud, and they may become territorial. Some birds will insist on bonding to one particular person, and that person has a responsibility to develop a deep understanding of their pet, in order to prevent biting, screaming, or plucking. A consult with a parrot trainer can be a great investment.

A single Harlequin Macaw needs a huge, specialty cage that accommodates the long, graceful tail. A good minimum sized primary cage would be 40”w x 30”d x 60”h with no more than 1½ ” bar spacing. Many captive Macaws rarely or never fly, so it's more important to have room to encourage them to climb than to worry about a long horizontal flight. The cage should be a professionally constructed, powder-coated metal. Cheap wooden fittings and perches will be chewed-up matchsticks in less than a day. You should employ stout manzanita perches in areas where you do not want to change the perches very often. You should also have plenty of macaw-safe perches and toys for the bird to chew at will. Do not punish the bird for chewing these items to destruction, since you want your pet to chew them for good healthy exercise. Yes, you'll go through a lot of toys.

It is very important with a parrot of this size to provide a large playpen area that is away from the cage – NOT on top of the cage. At times, especially during hormonal surges, your Harlequin Macaw can become very territorial about its cage, and you will want to have plenty of practice moving the bird to neutral territory where the macaw can play without feeling obligated to defend the area. They are powerful birds, and you want to establish yourself as kind but in control of the relationship from the very beginning.

Do not plan on being able to put a Harlequin Macaw in a breeding program when it's older. Hybrid macaws are intended to be pets or performers. The priority for breeders must always be to preserve the original species. So be extra motivated to keep your bird trained and friendly, and don't hesitate to consult with a parrot behaviorist if you have any questions.

Diet of Harlequin Macaws:
The Harlequin Macaw demands a varied, nutrient-rich diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. There are several diets that work for this species. A good pellet-based diet, with lots of chopped vegetables and fruits on the side, can be a good daily diet, but take care that this intelligent bird does not get bored with the pellets. Soak-and-cook, either from a vet or a commercial supplier, can be the answer, although it's more work than pellets. Many people like to create their own grain and legume based diet, which generally includes a mix of well-cooked beans and grains, including brown rice. As a practical matter, you will probably want to prepare the cooked diet in large batches, freezing what you're not using in a couple of days, and then defrosting it as you need it.

Small, high carbohydrate seeds like millet can be included in the mix. Don't laugh. Macaws do have the patience to crack tiny millet seed, and these seeds are low in fat, so if you have an overweight bird, you can still allow them the pleasure of cracking seed, without loading them down with lots of fat. Unless the bird is very overweight, the Harlequin Macaw will benefit from up to 20% nuts in the diet, especially nuts in the shell that the bird can enjoy cracking for itself.

A well-socialized Harlequin Macaw may want to help you eat your dinner, which is fine if you eat a healthy diet that's rich in vegetables and whole grain, but never allow a macaw to sample avocado, chocolate, or undercooked meat or poultry. While several species of macaws have been seen at the clay licks taking salt, today's modern diets already have plenty of salt. Don't salt the macaw's food or provide supplemental salt except on the advice of an avian vet.

Written by Elaine Radford


greatest talker, lovely irridescent emerald, gentlest macaw, beautiful vibrant plumage, inquisitive mind


messy companion animal, constant noise, vet bills


hand feedingearly socialization, crossbred macaw, confident owner, GWsized cage, socialized

Helpful Harlequin Macaw Review

Harlequin Macaw

From threeeagles Sep 5 2014 11:57PM


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