Discover The Largest Macaw in the World

Written by Emilio Brown
Published: January 2, 2022
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Macaws are colorful birds that live in Central and South America. Their intelligence and bright colors make them one of the best pets for parrot lovers. Around 19 species of macaws exist, with some being endangered. Some species are even cross-bred in captivity to make for more unique pets. Some macaws have even been seen to mimic human voices and talk. They are highly intelligent and can learn how to communicate with humans.

Macaws are parrots and are divided into 6 different genera: Ara Anodorhynchus, Cyanopsitta, Primolius, Orthopsittaca, and Diopsittaca. They are the largest type of parrot and have large bills and feathers. In this article, you will learn about the largest macaw species, and how it compares with other parrots. Macaws are already bigger than most parrots. The largest macaw is also one of the largest parrots. Let’s discover the largest species of parrot ever!

The Largest Macaw Ever

Largest Parrots - Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth macaws can have 4 foot wingspans and are the largest macaws in the world.

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The hyacinth macaw is the largest macaw, and also one of the largest parrots in the world.

This parrot measures 3.3 ft (100cm) from head to tail. They have a wingspan of 4 feet (121.9cm)  and weigh between 2.6 to 3.7lbs (1.1 to 1.6kg). Male macaws are usually a bit bigger than females, but it is rarely noticeable. 

The hyacinth macaw lives in South America and is an endangered species. Habitat loss has been their biggest threat. Woodlands, swamps,  forest habitats are the areas these macaws inhabit in the wild. They have bright blue feathers and yellow coloring around their eyes and mouth. The feathers around their neck are sometimes light gray.  Even though they are large, this macaw is gentle and friendly. In the wild, they will live in groups with other birds. This species is family-oriented and enjoys being around other birds of its species.

At night the hyacinth macaw is more active and takes advantage of the cool temperatures. They are herbivores and feed on fruits and seeds within their environments. Male and female macaws mate and will stay with one partner since they are monogamous. They build their nests in trees and care for their young for around six months. 

In the wild or captivity, the hyacinth macaw is a friendly bird. They are expensive since they are rare and cost between $5,000 to $12,000. They have a lifespan of around 50 years which is a long period for a bird. 

Species Of Macaw

Largest Parrots - Blue and Yellow Macaw

There are 19 species of macaws including the blue-and-yellow-macaw.

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It is estimated there are around 350 species of parrots. 19 species of those are macaws; they all belong to the order of Psittaciformes. Here are the 19 species of Macaw in the world.

  • Glaucous macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus)
  • Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
  • Lear’s macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) 
  • Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii)
  • Great green macaw (Ara ambiguus)
  • Blue-and-yellow-macaw (Ara ararauna)
  • Green-winged macaw (Ara chloroptera)
  • Blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis)
  • Scarlet macaw (Ara macao)
  • Military macaw (Ara militaris)
  • Red-fronted macaw (Ara rubrogenys)
  • Chestnut-fronted macaw (Ara severa)
  • Cuban macaw (Ara tricolor)
  • Lesser Antillean macaw (Ara guadalupensis)
  • Red-bellied macaw (Orthopsittaca manilata)
  • Blue-headed macaw (Primolius couloni)
  • Blue-winged macaw (Primolius maracana)
  • Golden-collared macaw (Primolius auricollis)
  • Red-shouldered macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis)

Species like the Lesser Antillean macaw and Cuban macaw are thought to be extinct. Macaws share similar traits like their large size, bright colors, and similar habitats. Most macaws will vary in size, but they are some of the largest species of parrot in the world. 

Largest Macaw and parrot species

The hyacinth macaw is the largest macaw, but other species of macaw also grow large. The red-and-green macaw is the second-largest macaw species. They have a wingspan of 48 inches (121cm)  and reach around 35 to 37 in (88 to 93cm) in length. 

When comparing the smallest parrot with one of the largest, you can understand how large the hyacinth macaw is. The pygmy parrot is one of the smallest parrots and is tiny compared to the macaw. Pygmy carrots are only around 3.1 inches long (8cm) and will only weigh approximately 0.41 ounces. 

The kakapo is a parrot species that can compete with the hyacinth macaw in size but cannot fly. Kakapo is the heaviest parrot in the world and weighs between 2 to 9lbs (0.95 to 4kg). They can grow between 23 to 25 in (58 to 64cm), but their small wings make it impossible for them to fly. This species is native to New Zealand and is listed as critically endangered. The kakapo is an owl parrot and is in danger of becoming extinct like other parrot species. 

Why Macaws Are Endangered

Most macaw species, including the hyacinth macaw, are considered endangered. Like other endangered animals, humans are one of the leading causes for these species’ decline. Deforestation, poaching, and illegal capture are the reasons macaws have become endangered. 

Even though they are listed as endangered, macaws are still targeted and hunted. It is estimated that around 2,000 to 6,500 hyacinth macaws are left in the wild today, and with conservation efforts, their population can possibly recover. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/RICARDO STUCKERT


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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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