Macaw Lifespan: How Long Do Macaws Live?

macaw lifespan
© iStock.com/dmodlin01

Written by Volia Schubiger

Updated: June 27, 2023

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How Long Do Macaws Live? infographic
Macaws usually live anywhere between 30 to 50 years old in the wild.

Macaws are one of the most colorful and beautiful birds in South America, but how long do macaws live? Macaws are a popular form of parrot, known for their size and vibrant plumage. They can also be quite noisy as well – making them hard to miss when you come across them out in the wild. Macaws are found in tropical North, Central, and South America and there are 17 different species of this bird. 

These birds truly have remarkable personalities, as each one has its own distinct likes and dislikes. Macaws can be difficult to care for due to their size, but for many bird owners, they are well worth the work. Here are some fun facts on the macaw, including how long macaws live and what impacts their lifespan. 

How Long Do Macaws Live?

macaw lifespan
Macaws live between 30 and 50 years in the wild, considering the fact that it varies and is dependent on the species

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©iStock.com/Gassen

Macaws live between 30 and 50 years in the wild, considering the fact that it varies and is dependent on the species. Some species have been known to live for more than a century. Charlie, the 114-year-old Macaw, is claimed to be the longest-living Macaw.

Let’s dig deep and take a look at the average lifespan of different macaw species:

  • Hyacinth macaw: The hyacinth macaw has an average lifespan of 50 years in the wild and may live for more than 60 years in captivity.
  • Blue-and-yellow macaw: A blue-and-gold macaw lives an average of 30 years in the wild. They may live in captivity for 50 to 60 years if properly cared for. 
  • Scarlet macaw: In the wild, they may live for about 40 years, and in captivity, they have been known to survive for up to 70 years. However, on average, they reach around 50.
  • Military macaw: Life expectancy in the wild has yet to be determined, however in captivity, they can live between 55 and 70 years.

With our knowledge of how long macaws live, let’s take a look at how this magnificent bird goes through its life stages. 

The Average Macaw Life Cycle 

Macaws, like other parrots, all have a similar life cycle. They begin as eggs and hatch. However, this only marks the very beginning of the interesting stages of their life. 

Hatchlings 

Macaws start off their lives inside of an egg, usually in a clutch of two or three. When a baby macaw is born, it is referred to as a neonate, sometimes known as a hatchling. These little naked chicks are completely featherless and blind, and they are completely reliant on their parents or human caregivers. The eyelids open and the bird begins to acquire eyesight between the ages of 14 and 28 days. The ear canals open and the bird learns to hear between the ages of 10 and 35 days.

Nestlings 

macaw lifespan

When a baby macaw is born, it is referred to as a neonate, sometimes known as a hatchling.

©CHUCHAT TREEPRAPHAKORN/Shutterstock.com

As soon as a newborn’s eyes open, it is known as a nestling. Nestlings imprint on caregivers. It is critical for appropriate growth that they get visual, tactile, auditory, and interaction enrichment from their environment. 

Fledgling

The third stage is that of the “fledgling” parrot, which is learning to fly. Fledglings generally lose weight at this age because they are fascinated with flying and lose interest in feeding. They still require food from a parent or caregiver since they are unable to obtain it on their own.

Weanling

The fourth stage of the parrot development life cycle is known as “weanling,” and it occurs when the bird learns to feed and care for itself on its own. Gathering food while foraging involves the development of several motor abilities before birds may be entirely weaned.

macaw lifespan
  • The hyacinth macaw has an average lifespan of 50 years in the wild and may live for more than 60 years in captivity.
  • ©iStock.com/Dgwildlife

    Adolescence 

    In this stage, the macaw is classified as a “juvenile” or “adolescent” bird. It will be entirely weaned and self-sufficient, but it has not yet achieved sexual maturity.

    Adulthood 

    At around 2-3 years of age, the macaw will have fully matured. When these birds achieve sexual maturity, they couple up and look for nesting sites to restart the life cycle.

    Factors That Impact The Macaw’s Lifespan 

    macaw lifespan
  • A blue-and-gold macaw lives an average of 30 years in the wild. They may live in captivity for 50 to 60 years if properly cared for. 
  • ©iStock.com/PrinPrince

    Since they are both found in the wild and kept as domesticated pets, there will be different factors that impact the macaw lifespan. 

    Some of these factors include: 

    • Poor diet: Diet is one of the most critical variables influencing a macaw’s lifespan. A bad diet, like any other, leads to obesity, malnutrition, and a weaker immune system, among other health issues. It will make the bird more prone to sickness and overall low quality of life. 
    • Predation: Since they are relatively large birds, the macaw doesn’t have to worry about many natural predators. However, some of the macaw’s primary predators are larger birds of prey, snakes, and monkeys. These animals occasionally feed on fledgling macaws or will steal eggs from nests. 
    • Stressful environment: High amounts of stress can have a negative impact on your macaw’s health and, as a result, his or her lifespan. Small, crowded cages with little time outside may cause your bird a great deal of stress since they will be unable to move around to the degree that they like. Because they are fundamentally sociable creatures that require constant engagement as well. 

    How To Extend The Life Of Your Pet Macaw 

    macaw lifespan
  • High amounts of stress can have a negative impact on your macaw’s health and, as a result, his or her lifespan.
  • ©iStock.com/Musat

    As we’ve learned, macaws can live for a very long time. As a pet, they can be your loyal companion for quite some time. 

    Here are the best tips for extending your macaw’s lifespan: 

    • Proper cage: Macaws are large parrots that require plenty of space to spread their wings and roam freely. As a result, a large adult macaw will require a bigger cage that is around 5 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet deep. A suitable cage should be at least 1.5 times the size of your parrot’s wingspan.
    • Healthy diet: In the wild, macaw parrots consume a wide range of foods. To keep them healthy feed your macaw a diet that consists of pellets, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grains. 
    • Exercise: It is strongly advised that you let your macaw out of its cage at least once a day for at least 30 minutes. You must let it fly about and expand its wings.


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    About the Author

    Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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