Are Macaws the Smartest Parrots?

Parrots are known as the most intelligent pets! When people buy these colorful birds, they expect a clever companion who’ll be a little more “conversational” than other pets like dogs or cats. 

However, not all people know that there are various levels of intelligence even among parrots. And Macaws are a clearly popular choice among people. They are colorful, beautiful, have impressive vocabulary abilities, and love up to 80 years. 

Plus, yes, Macaws are quite intelligent. They are among the cleverest parrots; starting from the extensive abilities of human speech mimicry to the clever ways they solve puzzles and function in their daily lives. A parrot’s IQ may be second to a human toddler, but it’s the most highly-regarded among animals. 

However, when deciding to adopt a pet Macaw, you should take into consideration the mental stimulation they require. Macaws need constant stimuli to stay healthy and control their emotions. Yes, they can be quite emotional and experience lots of things similar to humans. 

What Is Healthy Blue and Gold Macaw Weight?

Thus, you need to know how to properly bond with a bird, take care of it, and be a supportive companion. This is a life-long commitment. 

I’ve gathered some helpful ideas on how to keep parrots mentally stimulated and emotionally balanced in this article! 

How to Mentally Stimulate Macaws? 

is macaw parrot smart

  1. Consistent training is one of the most effective ways to keep your parrot mentally stimulated. Treat it like a child. You’d keep learning and practicing new things with your kid every day, right? Keep it up with parrots as well. They don’t require hours and hours of playing and learning every day though! A few quick tricks or word practicing here and there would do the tricks. Plus, Macaws are so fascinating that you’d be entertained alongside them as well! 
  2. Keep training gradual. Do not rush to teach it every trick you’ve seen online at once! Do it little by little, one trick at a time. Then practice and master it. The same concerns Macaw’s vocabulary. You can start with certain sounds, then move to one word, or phrase, master it, and switch to another. Remember to repeat the previous “lessons” in time to remind the bird. 
  3. Sounds. One more point about sounds! Yes, you should start the pet’s training with them, but keep a variety of sounds in daily training as well. Macaws adore mimicking various sounds, most of all whistles! You’ll also notice it repeating regular street noises in time! You can even teach it your favorite tune! 
  4. Use toys. While talking to your pet is crucial, it can become bored if you don’t add some stimulating toys. Parrots love everything with bells, ladders, doors, etc. Note that toys will be destroyed. You don’t need anything expensive, just a numerous rotation of toys of various kinds. 
  5. Out of cage playtime. Macaws require several hours a day out of their cage. You can take up some of this time for playing hide-and-seek. It may not be as effective as playing with kids, but parrots love it still! Also, remember to switch activities and make sure your parrot doesn’t fly away suring this time. If it happens anyway, check my previous article. 

A Full List of Macaw Types (With Photo and Video)

Who Is Smarter: Macaws or Dogs? 

are parrots smart

Many studies have proven that the emotional and cognitive abilities of Macaws are greater than dogs’. 

Dogs’ cognitive range is significantly smaller; although some of them are considered rather intelligent. Meanwhile, Macaws have a range similar to a human toddler. Studies have estimated their IQ to be on a similar level. 

There are also a few interesting details: Macaws experience more emotions similar to human feelings; plus, they see a wider range of colors than dogs do. 

Check this interesting research on Birds’ Judgments of Number and Quantity by Jacky Emmerton as a great example of the length of a parrot’s intelligence! 

Are Macaws Good Pets? 

smart parrots

Now that we’ve determined that Macaws are smart, many people would want to adopt this parrot as their favorite pet. And Macaws can truly become the best pet! For many families – they are the best pet! Macaws are highly intelligent, playful, and live almost as long as humans! 

What Do Macaws Eat: In Captivity VS In the Wild

This is a parrot with a long history. Families have taken them as pets as long ago as 1100 A.D. Since then, Macaws have become one of the most popular parrot families. They are a constant part of cartoons and pirate stories. Who of us hasn’t dreamed about a parrot on our shoulder as a kid? 

Plus, Macaws are often called rainbow birds due to their colorful feathers. 

Note that Macaws are an endangered kind of animal in the wild. Thus, find a certified breeder who breeds and raises birds in captivity. Do not support illegal trade! Birds suffer from it. 

Macaws are also varied among the family. There are numerous types, each with its own coloring and characters. You can read the detailed information about all the different types of Macaw in my previous article. They are truly beautiful and diverse. 

Also, Macaws are among the largest parrots and require proper housing. You can read guides on choosing the proper cage for big parrots. Your bird should have enough space to stretch its wings and move around. Plus, take notice of bar spacing to prevent beak injures! Macaws require sturdy and high-quality cages. 

Can Macaws Talk?

As they are big birds with a strong character, make sure you keep watch as your kids play with them. You know how impulsive kids are. Anyway, Macaws can still be great family parrots!