Mind-Blowing Scarlet Macaw Facts That You Simply Must Know

If you’re looking for Scarlet Macaw facts, you’re in the right place:

When you think of a parrot then it’s likely that the image of a Scarlet Macaw will pop into your head.

With colorful red, yellow, blue and green plumage this macaw was born to stand out. 

It’s certainly hard to feel down when this colorful bird is around, as they’re like flying, walking, talking rainbows. 

Read on to find out more about this fascinating parrot and why their cheeky behavior and lovable personalities make us hold them in such high regard.

Science Based Scarlet Macaw Facts

This beautiful bird has the scientific name Ara Macao.

 It’s one member of the 17 large psittacine species (which we know as the macaws) which are restricted to the tropical forest between Mexico and Brazil. 

The Macaw species are included in 6 different genera (I advise you take a deep breath before reading this!) the Anodorhynchus, cyanopsitta, ara, orthopsittaca, primolius and diopsittaca.

The genus ara refers to the neotropical macaws, it includes 8 extant species and at least 2 extinct species. 

Fun Scarlet Macaw Facts You Must Know

Now, I suggest that you grab a coffee and make yourself comfortable as I’m about to tell you some awesome fun facts about the Scarlet Macawf.

Did you Know?

Did you know that the Scarlet Macaw can live for up to a whopping 80 years in captivity?

The average lifespan of a human is 79 years, which means our feathered-friends could actually outlive us…yikes!

Their feet are super flexible and come in useful for gripping food, perching on branches and bringing their dinner up to their beak to eat…yum!

They eat clay from banks which has left many scientists puzzled. 

Some believe they do so because they need the sodium it contains, while others believe they do it simply so they can socialize at the claylick. 

More Amazing Facts Scarlet Macaw Facts

Scarlet Macaws are loyal birds who mate for life…aw! Each pair usually produce between 1 and 4 eggs each year but it’s rare for more than 2 of these chicks to survive.

They’re all left-footed, they use their left foot to feed themselves, while they use their right foot to support themselves. 

They’re highly sociable creatures and it’s rare to see one alone in the wild. In fact, they usually hang out in flocks of between 30 and 100 members of their species. 

It’s best to grab the earmuffs when a flock of these birds is about as they’re VERY loud. They make all this noise to mark their territory, communicate and identify their partners. 

Origin and Evolution

Where do these colorful parrots originate them and how have they have adapted and evolved over time to thrive in their surroundings?

Where do They Originate From?

The Scarlet Macaw is native to the humid rainforests of South and Central America and are commonly found in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Brazil, and Ecuador.

They prefer to be high up and usually dominate canopies between 1000 to 3000 feet high. 

How Have They Adapted to the Rainforest?

Their pointed wings make swift and precise flying a breeze.

Their super-strong beaks are perfect for breaking into even the toughest of nuts. 

They have strength in numbers and their 30 plus strong flocks make them intimidating prey for their predators. 

They’re also great communicators, so they can tell their friends if there’s a problem and they’ll have a backup in no time.

How Did They Become Popular Pets?

When explorers first discovered the New World they became familiar with macaws.

They instantly took a liking to these friendly, colorful birds with big personalities. 

They caged these birds and brought them back as gifts for the royal courts, the elite and for their loved ones.

They were also used for shooting (but let’s not get into that).

It’s now illegal to remove a wild macaw from its natural habitat. 

Macaws remain a popular pet choice and continue to be bred in captivity and sold on to new homes. 


These cheeky birds are known for being smart, playful, friendly, inquisitive and generally just awesome. 

How does their behavior help them thrive in their environment, whether this is the wild or in captivity?

Key Behavior Exhibited as Pets

The Scarlet Macaw is generally a fun and friendly bird.

However, they can be a handful and the decision to purchasing one should be well thought about first.

They can be noisy…very noisy. The best way to keep them quiet is to make sure they’re never bored.

These intelligent birds need to be entertained, else they’re grow bored and restless.

They love to use their perch, play with toys and swing about in their cage. 

They also need allocated time every day to stretch their wings and fly. If they don’t get this, they’re likely to grow distressed which can lead to unfriendly behavior and feather plucking. 

Social Behavior and Abilities After Training

If you have a new pet macaw, then you’ll probably wondering what their behavior will be like once they’re trained up?

It’s only normal that at first your macaw might be wary of you, but once you pay them attention and make them feel a part of your family, then it won’t be long before they’re a loyal companion to you. 

A trained macaw will shower you with affection, like playing games and be open to learning new tricks. You can even try teaching them words and sentences to repeat. 

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

They have deep and loud calls which are capable of giving their owners a headache. These noisy birds like to be heard and make distinctive screeching calls and squawking sounds

Macaws are great talkers and have the ability to learn 100s of words and some phrases.

They have the vocal abilities to mimic such sounds as dogs barking, doors creaking and someone’s laughter. 

Procreation Behavior

These loyal birds mate for life, they show their affection for their mate by preening and licking them.

The time of year they breed varies depending on their location. It’s the females job to incubate the 1-4 eggs laid, this usually lasts around 24 days. The males guard the nest and forage for food. 

Once hatched, the chicks are dependent on their parents for around a year. During this time the male will feed them with regurgitated food.. yum!

Macaws take their parenting responsibilities very seriously, they don’t lay another batch of eggs until their chicks have grown up and flown the nest. 

Lifestyle and Health 

Scarlet Macaws have an active lifestyle full of delicious nuts and fruit, socializing with their flocks or owners, flying around, discovering new things and generally having lots of fun.

How do these colorful characters thrive in their environment and maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle?


As a pet the Scarlet Macaw can live up to an impressive 80 years old,although they tend to live between 40 and 50 years. 

In the wild they face more threats from predators and disease and as a result of this they live for around 40 years. 


Wild Scarlet Macaws love to peck on nuts, leaves, berries and seeds. They seldom run short of food, as they can eat berries that are poisonous to other types of animals. 

As pets, they need pellets that provide them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

They also love a variety of colorful fruits and tasty veg

You can feed your Macaw bananas, mangoes, carrots and broccoli.

For a treat you can give them a cracker.

Never feed them chocolate or avocado as these will make them ill. 

Main Threats

Macaws are expert flyers and generally remain out of reach of many predators. The macaws most at risk are the chicks, which can be eaten by snakes, monkeys and toucans.

Their biggest threats are the destruction of their rainforest homes and being taken from the wild and sold on the black market. 

Common Health Issues

Feather plucking amongst macaws can be a sign of boredom or it can indication more serious issues such as beak and feather disease. 

Some of the symptoms for this disease are lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. 

If you think your macaw might have this disease then it’s vital that you seek immediate veterinary assistance, as if left untreated it can cause fatal in as little as 2-4 weeks. 

Physical Characteristics

These stand-out birds are recognized by their beautiful plumage, large size and strong beaks.

Colors and Markings

As their name suggests the Scarlet Macaw is predominantly scarlet. 

The outer part of their wings are blue with green and yellow markings on them.

Both the underside of their wings and tail are dark red, with a metallic gold iridescence.

They have black and white bills and striking white eyes with a black irish. 


Scarlet Macaws are one of the largest species of parrots and on average they weigh about 2.2lbs. 

Eye and Beak Structure

This is one of those ‘handy‘ Scarlet Macaw facts you need to know…

You definitely don’t want to get your fingers nipped by a macaw.

Their powerful beaks can generate a pressure of between 500 and 2000 psi (pounds per square inch) compared to the average humans which is only 150 psi. 

The position of their eyes mean they’re able to see through one eye at a time. 

They have brilliant eyesight and use them to experty navigate their way through the canopies and seek out their supper. 


They have long, pointed wings, which make them expert flyers. 

On average they are 32 inches long and their wings measure around 36 inches.  


Wild Scarlet Macaws like to spend their time high up in the tall, deciduous trees of the rainforests. 

They favor being close to the river and are commonly found in large (and extremely noisy) groups. 

They nest in hollows in dead canopy trees. 

FAQs – The Short Answers

That’s pretty much it for our Scarlet Macaw facts:

But do you still have lots of questions about these sociable, friendly fliers? 

Read on, as I answer some of the most frequently asked questions about our favorite feathered friends.

Question 1 – Are Scarlet Macaws Friendly?

These birds are highly intelligent, inquisitive and seem to have a never-ending abundance of energy. 

As pets they have a friendly temperament and love affection.

As long as you don’t neglect them they’re likely to become a caring companion for you (although they’re prone to the odd tantrum).

Wild macaws are usually docile beings who don’t feel threatened by humans. 

The only time they may be likely to show aggression towards them is during breeding season, as they may view them as a threat to their young.  

Question 2 – Why are Scarlet Macaws so Colorful?


Red and yellow and blue and green…

No, we haven’t spotted a rainbow or opened a packet of candy. 

The Scarlet Macaw is a very colorful bird.

The main reason for this is to keep them safe, as all those colors are very confusing to any of their predators out there. 

Question 3 – Why do They Eat Clay?

There’s a lot of different speculations on this one.

Some say they do this as the sodium and other nutrients in the clay are good for them.

Others believe they just want an excuse to hang out with their friends in the morning. 

It’s also believed that eating clay can neutralize the toxins found in some foods such as plants and berries. 

Question 4 – How Much Do They Cost?

The Scarlet Macaw is a sought after pet to have, because of this owing one comes with a pretty hefty price tag. 

You’ll likely pay between $1500-$2000.

It’s important that you also take into account the cost of their enclosure, food and vets bills before you purchase one. 

Question 5- How Does the Scarlet Macaw Protect Itself

These birds have impressive wings and they know how to use them. 

If a predator’s about then they can quickly fly out of reach. 

If flying away isn’t an option then they’ll use their wings to hit the predator, bite them with their strong beak and scratch them with their razor-sharp talons... Ouch!

The Scarlet Macaw Conclusion

So that’s a wrap to our Scarlet Macaw facts:

They’re colorful, sociable, full of energy and VERY noisy.

They bring a lot of joy and quirkiness to the world with their strong personalities and they’re sure to brighten up any area.

I hope that you now know everything you need to know about this beautiful parrot. 

They may be stubborn, loud and prone to the odd tantrum but they’re also friendly, funny and full of character.

With a loud squawk, big personality and the ability to show affection and loyalty, they’re great birds to have as pets; and will soon become a valued member of the family.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.