Military Macaws

These large birds need a lot of attention to thrive

Military Macaw (Ara militaris) is a large parrot and a medium-sized member of the macaw genus. Though considered vulnerable as a wild species, it is still commonly found in the pet trade industry.
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Besides being chatty and social, Military Macaws have a reputation for being pleasant, even-tempered pets. Ideally, they will be hand fed when they're babies, to help form a strong bond with their owners. Military Macaws are curious birds, and they enjoy playing and interacting with their human "flock." If you're interested in owning a Military Macaw, make sure that you have plenty of free time to spend with your new bird.


Military Macaws are native to central and northern South America. They are among the larger of the parrot family, with some Military Macaws reaching up to 30 inches from the beak to the tip of the tail feathers. They can have wingspans of over 40 inches. They're long-lived birds as well, with some Military Macaws living for up to 50 years, some even longer.

Colors of the Military Macaw

Military Macaws are mainly green, with brilliant blue edging on their wings and a bright red patch on their foreheads. They have bold black beaks and dark gray legs and feet. Their eyes are framed by the classic bare macaw facial patches, each with concentric rings of small black feathers.

Feeding Habits and Exercise Needs of Military Macaws

In the wild, Military Macaws feast on seeds, berries, nuts, fruit, and vegetables. Pet Military Macaws should eat a similar diet made up of a high-quality seed or pellet mix and plenty of fresh bird-safe fruits.

Like all parrots, Military Macaws are designed to fly several hundred miles a day. So even in captivity exercise is important for a Military Macaws. Owners should make sure that their pets are allowed a minimum of 2 to 4 hours of play time outside of their cages every day. This will give the birds a way of stretching their wings, exercising their beaks and will provide mental stimulation as a bonus.

Military Macaws as Pets

While they aren't known for being especially affectionate, Military Macaws that have been properly handled and socialized can become tame and easygoing companions.

Those interested in owning a Military Macaw should learn as much as they can about the species before bringing one home. For example, like all Macaws, these birds will rise with the sun each morning, and they will shout it loud for the world to hear. 

In the wild, Military Macaws live in small flocks. In captivity, the parrot's owner becomes part of its flock, and those who want a Military Macaw should understand this. This is not a pet that you can buy and ignore; these birds need interaction and mental stimulation. If you don't oblige them, you will pay the price in wrecked property, sore fingers, and frustration. A bored macaw is no one's friend.

Consider the costs of owning one of these parrots before rushing out to get one. Veterinary bills, quality feed, toys and cages all add up. If you can't give your bird the best of everything, consider holding off on adopting one until you can.