Species group: Macaws
Other common names: Red Macaw; Red and Yellow Macaw
Scientific name: Ara macao
The Scarlet Macaw is praised by many as the most beautiful of the macaws and, indeed, the most beautiful of the parrots. Smaller and perhaps more nervous than its rival, the Greenwing Macaw, this intelligent and sensitive bird demands kind, supportive care from loving, intuitive owners.
A fearful Scarlet can be a biting Scarlet, so be prepared to get the proper training in how to handle this gorgeous bird in order to make your pet feel safe and loving. They can be affectionate and engaging, or they can be temperamental terrors. It's pretty much up to you.
The natural range of the Scarlet Macaw extends from Central America to the northern regions of South America. They have adapted to living in a variety of habitat types that include open wooded areas, dry forests, and deciduous forests. Despite their intelligence and adaptability, the Central American population is in freefall because of widespread deforestation and the illegal trapping of this beautiful bird for the pet trade. The species may be collapsing throughout its range. Know your breeder. If the bird is an older one in need of adoption, know the family and how long they held the Scarlet Macaw. Do not tolerate bird thieves or smugglers. As pet owners who have enjoyed years of pleasure from this species, we have responsibility to protect this beautiful bird for future generations.
The Scarlet is one of two classic red macaws. Besides being smaller than the Greenwing, the Scarlet is easily identified by its bare face with no bright red feather lines on it and, of course, its lovely red, yellow, and blue wings unmarked by any wide green patch.
1060 - 1120 grams (37 - 39.5 oz.)
85 centimeters (33.5 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
Ah, the lovely and sometimes moody Scarlet Macaw. Some pet owners swear by 'em, and some pet owners swear at 'em. We have all observed well-trained Scarlets in public shows that go to anyone, and yet we have equally observed biting, bitter birds that make their owners tear out their hair. The Scarlet Macaw may not be a chatty bird that talks as much as an African Grey, but if you consider it to be just as intelligent and sensitive, you are on the path to true understanding. A Scarlet Macaw has a strong pair bond and the capacity to become very attached to the caregiver, so start young, educate yourself on the best ways not to be intimidated by a macaw beak, and spend plenty of time bonding with your pet every day.
If your Scarlet has an issue with biting, a consultation with a bird behaviorist could really turn your relationship around. Be aware that a hormonal Scarlet Macaw might bite its chosen mate when someone else comes into the room -- not out of anger but out of an instinctive need to drive the mate away from a rival. Being aware of this one behavior, so that you can quickly distract your Scarlet with a chew toy before your spouse or child enters the room, could head off a lot of biting problems right there. But if you have any hint that your Scarlet may be phobic or dominating, there's simply no substitute for a live consultation with a more knowledgeable macaw trainer. These birds have the potential to become magnificent pets, so don't short-change the Scarlet or yourself.
A single Scarlet 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 1-1/2" bar spacing. Many captive Scarlets 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. A Scarlet Macaw is not a cheap date, and this pet will expect you to lavish some money on its lifestyle.
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 Scarlet 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. If you allow yourself to be intimidated, a Scarlet can sometimes become aggressive. Indeed, some Scarlets have gained an unfortunate reputation for biting. These birds go in pairs or, perhaps, small family groups in the wild, and it is not natural for them to spend a lot of time alone. If you must set up the bird in an outdoor aviary removed from the family, talk to another macaw breeder and then carefully go through the appropriate steps to set up the bird with a friend or a mate. An outdoor aviary needs to be carefully designed to protect your birds from thieves, nuisance animals that can threaten a bird such as raccoons, and special netting to protect from mosquito-borne disease. An added twist is that these strong, intelligent birds might figure out a way to let themselves out of the aviary and then become confused or lost. Before you design the aviary, talk to someone who has done it before.
Like the other South American macaws, the Scarlet 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 Scarlet 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 Scarlet 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, including the Scarlet, 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
beautiful scarlet macaw, colorful feathers, loving companion, intelligent birds, huge vocabulary
sexual maturity, scarlet macaw SCREAMS, plucker, extremely large cages, Overall cost, oneperson birds
contemplative, bonding, ideal performers, long life, daily interaction
Miss Scarlet - The Scarlet Macaw
Miss Scarlet came to us in 2010 as a baby, just weaned. Even at ten months she was full-grown and beautiful, the consummate cuddler. She loved any kind of attention and would do most anything for a head scratch or shoulder ride. Now five years have gone by and we consider ourselves pretty lucky that, for the most part, Miss Scarlet is still the same bird she was as a baby.
You see, what the pet stores usually don't tell you is that when a parrot reaches puberty, hormones and instincts arise and many birds become quite unpredictable and sometimes even aggressive. The level of care and attention given prior to adulthood can mitigate the degree to which these new behaviors exhibit, but people need to remember that birds have not been domesticated for a thousand years like cats and dogs... you just never know what you're going to get.
Miss Scarlet says a bunch of words and phrases and spends her days clowning around and playing with our other macaws. She can really be a riot. But she also loves to bite -- usually more out of fun than anger or aggression. She almost never breaks the skin, but she can.. and that's a point a new Scarlet Macaw owner should keep well in mind. The jaws of a Scarlet are incredibly powerful... believe me when I tell you that you never want to find out what they are capable of! But given all that, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing about Miss Scarlet. She's as much a part of my family as my own children.
If you're thinking of buying a Scarlet macaw, my best advice is to do your homework. Find out everything you can about the breed and give some serious thought to whether this kind of bird is right for you. Whatever you do, don't buy a Scarlet macaw on a whim! Too many times when this happens the bird ends up bouncing from home to home or into over-crowded rescues. Remember Scarlet macaws can live more than fifty years and they are extremely intelligent. Being uprooted time and again is definitely not good for their psychological well-being.
As a matter of fact, if you really want a Scarlet macaw, consider checking out your local shelter. A reputable rescue will tell you all about the birds they have and will let you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. If you do your homework, you'll find an amazing addition to your family and you'll also draw down on the staggering number of abused, neglected and otherwise unwanted parrots!.
From parrotbob Feb 28 2015 10:00PM
Scarlet Macaw - The Exotic Taboo
The Scarlet Macaw is a rather touchy subject to address. Can Scarlet Macaws be kept as pets? Surely, but keep something in mind; they are endangered, meaning that these birds may come from dwindling populations via illegal poaching. This remains especially true for those of Central and South American origin.
Scarlet Macaws are more of a life time commitment since they may live up to 50 years of age. Aesthetically, they are majestic; sporting a plumage of bright scarlet, blue, and yellow reminiscent of a Caribbean sunset. Their size ranges from 80 to 85 cm. once adulthood is reached. Add this to their coloring and you may very well be looking at the “Prince of Parrots”.
As pets Scarlet Macaws are not easily dealt with. Their size can only accommodate to extremely large cages; they are also very active and need their space to walk, climb, and perform the occasional acrobatic. There is the option of keeping them as free roamers, but that would require the trimming of their wings; which is another touchy subject for bird lovers.
Their diet is based on fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It is not necessary to open these nuts because they have an extremely powerful hook-shaped beak that can make short work out of anything… including a wooden cage. They may even enjoy the occasional piece of cooked meat, but it’s not the best of recommendations.
Their temperament is notorious. They are well known biters, and can become territorial if they attach themselves to an owner. Children should treat Scarlet Macaws with caution and respect..
From Macpui Jul 6 2014 9:54PM
My Scarlet Macaw, A Cautionary Tale
I have owned quite a few smaller parrots, mostly cockatiels and parakeets. I have only had one large parrot, and that was a Scarlet Macaw named Roddy that I acquired from a previous owner. An owner, I found out, that never should have had such a bird.
When I got Roddy, I was told he subsided on a diet of bananas and peanuts. Right away, I should have saw the problem, because Macaws need a huge range of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and even meat. Peanuts are really never a great idea, and bananas are just sugar. That in and of itself should have warned me of days to come, but he was a big, beautiful boy and my heart just leapt at becoming his friend.
Friends we never were. Roddy tolerated me at best. Some days he probably despised the fact that I wasn't his original owner. From day one, he was taking vet trips for thousands of dollars, because his poor diet and care left him a very sick bird. His constant diarrhea was very difficult to deal with unless you just left him in his giant cage, which I could never do. He never really fully recovered, and died less than a year after I got him.
I tried everything to befriend the giant. I still have scars from my failure. He was a bitter, abused boy, and I can only hope he flies free somewhere now.
I want a Macaw still, but now I must admit I am a bit gun shy. Walnut crushing beaks HURT. Keep in mind, however, that if he would have been raised from a baby by me, socialized and feed a good diet, and cared for as he should have been...well, things might have been wonderful. Regardless, here is what you should know:
Macaws need HUGE tall cages. Most likely you won't find one big enough in a local pet store unless they specialize in parrots.
Most pet stores don't carry great quality parrot pellets. You will have to augment their diet with lots of veggies and fruits. They eat a wide and diverse diet. Do your homework.
Vet bills for parrots are very expensive. Have a budget set aside for vet care. If you have a sick bird, and can't get help...shame on you.
Macaws can outlive you. Raise him right, and the next owner will enjoy a friend, not a house guest..
From zombiefolly Sep 20 2015 10:17PM