Nowadays, parrots are among the most popular pets you can get. They are affectionate birds who love their owner dearly. Parrots are both pleasing to the eye and easy to take care of.
One of the most frequent questions I get is what kind of parrot is the best. I love all birds! I’m sure any of them can become a decent companion when given proper care. However, if you are looking for a bright, colorful parrot and want something bigger than a budgie, I often suggest macaws. These are some of the prettiest parrots you can find.
If you are planning on buying a macaw, you still have an important choice to make – the type of Macaw. This is an easy and complicated choice at the same time. Easy because there are more than 300 species of parrots overall, but you’ll have to choose only among a bit more than a doze. But it’s still a hard decision to make! This will be your bird, your beloved pet for the foreseeable future. And parrots live long lives.
I guarantee that you will find a species that will suit you perfectly. Which Macaw is that? Let’s find out in this list of all their types (with photos and video included!). There are 19 types of Macaw I’d like to discuss!
This is arguably one of the most popular macaw types! People tend to associate this bird with movies and seek a bird just as beautiful.
Though it is called scarlet, it is not entirely red. Yes, red is the prominent color of this parrot, but it also has yellow and blue spots.
Besides its vibrant colors, be ready for its impressive size! It can easily reach 3 feet in length! Thus, it also weighs quite a lot for a parrot – up to 3 pounds. So, be sure you have enough space for a bird of this caliber! The cage will probably be on the more expensive side of parrot paraphernalia, just as the bird itself is!
Personality-wise, this is an energetic parrot with a strong character. It can be picky and sassy. Yes, it can be a bit of a rebel at times, but it’s super friendly at times when it’s in a good mood. If you can handle a bit of bickering and are ready to learn how to show who’s in charge, a Scarlet Macaw will be an excellent bird for you!
Lifespan: 50 years
Red and Green Macaw
This is one of the most famous Macaw types out there. It has a beautiful coloring of red and green feathers (probably slight hues of blue on the tips of wings and tail!). Its head is partially white around the beak and eyes. The white canvas is adorned with tiny red feathers. Note that their beak is light on top and black from beneath.
This is a gentle giant that loves you dearly. It seems that green and blue hues have added some calmness compared to the Scarlet Macaw. It also can learn an impressive vocabulary.
The bird is huge, as I’ve mentioned. It grows up to 3 feet and 3 pounds.
Lifespan: incredibly long – 70 years on average (but can be longer).
I’d say that this is a hidden Macaw!!! You’ll never guess how big this bird is! Can you guess their size based on all the previous Macaw types? You’ll be mistaken. A Red-Shouldered Macaw is only 12 inches in length! This is the smallest Macaw (often sold as a “mini Macaw” in shops.)
This is an almost entirely green Macaw. You can also find this bird on the list of Green Parrots I’ve created recently! Aside from its dominant green plumage, it has red spots on its shoulders and a white area around the beak and eyes. The bird on the picture above has only tiny dots of red, but most Macaws have bigger red coverts.
They are kind and gentle as well. That is why Red-Shouldered Macaws are very popular as pets.
Lifespan: 40-50 years
Despite their name, these Macaws are not dull and scary. On the contrary, they are kind and a bit of mischief-makers. They are not always willing to talk, though. They are given the name “military” due to the similarities of their coloring to the parade uniform.
This bird is simply enormous, even for Macaws. It can easily overgrow 3 feet and weighs 2.5 pounds.
Unfortunately, these giants are already endangered. Thus, I doubt you’ll be able to buy them at a pet store, especially outside of Central and South America.
Lifespan: 60 years
This predominantly green Macaw is more colorful than it seems from the start. Let’s start from the obvious, the front of the head has a patch of chestnut feathers right above the bill. In addition, you will find red and blue on its wings and tail. The patches around the eyes are white with tiny black feathers. The bill itself is black.
These Macaws are sociable birds and can be boisterous and aggressive when puberty hits. It’s especially noticeable in the wild. Though, at home in a loving family, the owner can soften the edges of this challenging period for the bird. As grown birds, they are playful and funny.
Chestnut-fronted Macaws are among the smaller part of this genus – around 18 inches and 12 ounces.
Lifespan: 30-80 years
Great Green Macaw
This gorgeous bird has a dominant green color of its plumage. In addition, it is complemented with bright blue on its wings and a unique pattern of blue, red, and yellow on the tail. The beak is dark grey. One of the most exciting parts of its coloring is the lore and cheeks areas. The bird has bushy feathers right on its forehead, and the area around the beak is pinkish skin with tiny dark feathers.
Note that this is the second heaviest Macaw (right after the Hyacinth Macaw) and third globally. Its weight can reach up to 3 pounds! Its length is 33.5 – 35.5 inches.
This parrot will thrive with a pair at home, which is a tremendous task considering the sheer size of these birds. But it’ll be happy to have a buddy.
Lifespan: 50-70 years
This is yet another primarily green Macaw with blue coverts on its wings. It often has a red belly and lower back as well. What greatly distinguishes this type of Macaw from the rest of the green-blue-red species is its head. The forehead has a narrow stripe of red feathers right above the bill. The eyering and lore are white skin. An interesting fact – in the wild, the area is actually more yellow!
Its personality is easygoing and friendly.
The Blue-winged Macaw is the perfect choice for smaller households as it only reaches up to 17 in length!
Lifespan: 50-60 years
Yet another green Macaw! How can you choose among so many beautiful birds with similar patterns and great personalities? Frankly, I have no idea! I find it an arduous task as well.
As you’ve already guessed, these birds have a red forehead. But they also have red patches around the ears and under the wing coverts, as well as at marginal coverts. Their long wing feathers are bluish. The eyering is a patch of pinkish skin.
In length, they reach 2 feet. However, the weight is not substantial – around a pound.
Personality-wise, they are mischievous and curious birds. Good news – they are often bred in captivity, and you can easily buy them as your cute, mischievous pet!
Lifespan: 50 years
Have you ever wanted to buy some accessories for your pet? Possibly jewelry? Well, this particular part already comes with its own necklace naturally.
The Golden-collared Macaw has green plumage with blue main wing and tail feathers with bits of red or yellow on the tail as well.
The distinct feature of this bird is a half-ring of yellow feathers around its neck that envelopes its back part. The crown is a bit darker than the overall plumage. Also, the bird has white patches of bare skin around its beak and eyes.
This is a widespread species of parrots; thus, you can easily find them at pet shops in your area. It’s an endemic species of Central South America, though.
This will be the perfect Macaw for those looking for a smaller bird and playful and mischievous character. Its sizes are relatively small for the genus – only 15 inches in length.
Also, be sure to buy this bird enough toys and observe all the new things in your home closely. This little “curious cat” will be sure to investigate.
Lifespan: 50 years
Parrot names are often rather descriptive. As you can guess, this parrot has a red patch of feathers on its belly. The base of their bill, cheeks, and eyering show a patch of yellowish skin. The forehead has blue hues. Noticeably, the younger birds, juveniles, have a white stripe on their culmen, which is the top of the beak. Such a feature is only present in young Spix’s Macaws.
Size-wise, these are mid-range birds. They grow up to 18 inches in length and weigh 11 ounces.
However, be ready to hear lots of high-pitched noises and songs from this pet! They are rare house pets and can mainly be observed in the wild.
Lifespan: 30-40 years
This is yet another “little Macaw.” The bird reaches around 16 inches in length (not tiny for parrots overall, but petite for Macaws).
Overall, the bird is primarily green with a bluish head and tail feathers that can also have hues of red and yellow. The eyering is grey.
This one is a rare and expensive parrot! Their species is considered endangered as of late, and you’ll have a hard time finding it on the market. The black market will have it but let’s not support such animal cruelty and breaking of laws! If you find an old-time owner of blue-headed macaws, you can hope to afford a chick or two.
Lifespan: 30-50 years
This parrot has a trendy combination of deep blue/teal blue and warm orange/yellow underparts. The lower cheeks and throat are also blue. Near the base of a bill, you’ll find a patch of 5-6 horizontal stripes unique to each bird of the type.
Blue-throated Macaws are mostly active during the days and rest at night. They are shyer than many other Macaws and require enough space in the cage.
The first is around 2.8 – 3 feet long and weighs about 2 pounds.
Lifespan: the longest among Macaws – 80 years. (Unfortunately, you’ll hardly get this lifelong companion as a pet today as Blue-throated Macaws are an endangered species).
Blue and Yellow Macaw
Another movie star on the list is Blue and Yellow Macaw. When you think of a typical talking parrot perched on the shoulder of Blue Beard or some other pirate, you’ll definitely imagine a Blue and White Macaw.
The name tells it all about the parrot. It’s painted blue and yellow all over. It also has a sizable white area on its cheeks and around the eyes with beautiful small black feathers.
This is a sociable and sweet bird overall. These Macaws are more timid than their Scarlet siblings. However, they also eagerly learn and will communicate with you using human phrases.
Blue and Yellow Macaws are big birds. They reach around 2.5 to 3 feet and can weigh more than 2 pounds. Thus, it requires a huge cage and regular care. It won’t destroy everything in the cage, but the mess is guaranteed.
Have you ever heard of a little blue Macaw? I bet you have! Just remember the cheerful animated movie RIO! This is precisely the parrot we are discussing right now! It is as far from the usual red macaws as possible!
Spix’s Macaw is an entirely blue parrot with a black/dark grey beak and a whitish area around it.
With great coloring comes a magnificent personality. They are generally less moody than many red Macaws and just enjoy spending time with you and playing around. However, they are so sociable that you will be easily tired from playing way before the bird. Thus, I highly suggest buying various toys for your pet. They are considered endangered, and you’ll be fortunate to have them as a pet.
Spix’s is a rather big bird of 2 feet in length and around 1 pound in weight. However, this is a smaller-sized specimen among Macaw parrots! So, you can go with a smaller cage.
Overall, Spix’s Macaw would be a good choice for beginners ready for the responsibility if you were to acquire it.
Lifespan: 20-30 years
This Macaw is closest to the Spix’s in terms of coloring. Hyacinth Macaw, as you’ve already guessed, I’m sure, is also a blue parrot, but it is drastically different from the previous one that is lighter sky blue. The color is deep dark blue. To me, it is actually not the regular purplish hyacinth color but grape hyacinth. I’d call it Midnight Blue!
Truly, I think this is the prettiest, most astounding Macaw coloring you can find. The bird also has bright yellow strokes around its beak and eyes. The legs are dark grey, and the tail is long and magnificent.
Someday, I dream of adopting a Hyacinth Macaw.
Mind that this is a giant bird, well over 3 feet and 3 pounds! You better have enough space for it. Also, note that this is one of the calmest parrots of all Macaws! They are gentle and friendly. If you don’t have time to entertain those hyper-energetic reds, Hyacinth is excellent for you.
Lifespan: 50 years
This is a more unique parrot on this list. You’ll rarely find a Lear’s Macaw in captivity as a pet. And there is a good reason for that – it’s an endangered species with only slightly more than 1000 birds in the world. Merely 40 years ago, they accounted for only 60 birds overall!
Anyway, we can still admire this Macaw, right?
Appearance-wise, it is the closest to the Hyacinth Macaw. Its color is often described as metallic blue, but I call it midnight blue. At the base of the bill, you’ll find a narrow patch of yellow skin. The earrings are also yellow. Its beak is black. In fact, it is so similar to the Hyacinth that you won’t be able to distinguish the two if seen apart. The Lear’s Macaw has a more greenish hue to its plumage (in particular light), and the yellow patches around the bill are different.
Their size is around 28 inches.
Lifespan: 50 years
This is yet another gorgeous deep blue Macaw on the list. Just like the previous two types, this bird has an overall blue plumage with yellow spots around the beak. Though, this one has a clear grey hue to its plumage, especially on its head. And the blue is more turquoise than midnight.
But here comes the sad part of the story. This species is possibly extinct already. The last reports of these birds date back to the late 19th century. Though the search is still going, there is a high chance of extinction due to the loss of habitat and capture.
I wouldn’t say that this is a giant Macaw, but it has an impressive size of 18-20 inches, which is, frankly, not much compared to other giants on the list. Actually, I should say “had” as this is an extinct species. Cuban Macaw was native to Cuba but went extinct in the late 19th century due to habitat loss. This is the sad story of the Caribbean Islands – 13 species of local parrots went extinct.
The Cuban Macaw previously had the beautiful coloring of reds, blues, and yellow. Today, you can take a closer look at the bird in museums.
And this is yet another type of extinct Macaws. It’s always sad to write about such beautiful birds that are no more. And this species is long gone. The approximate time of extinction is around the 17th century.
Moreover, this is a hypothetical species overall. It was documented only by Jacques Bouton. He described the bird as a “blue and orange-yellow Macaw.” However, some believed that it was just the regular blue-and-yellow Macaw!