Blue and Gold Macaw

The Blue-and-Gold Macaw is also known as the Blue-and-Yellow Macaw and is one of the most popular large parrots. They are instantly recognizable by their bright blue and yellow (or gold) plumage and loud, friendly personality.

This parrot is one of the most commonly owned Macaws in North America, so they’re not hard to find and won’t cost as much as other parrots out there.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blue and Gold Macaw, keep reading, and you might learn something new about this beautiful bird!birdcage divider

Species Overview

Blue and Gold Macaw

Common Name: Blue and Gold Macaw, Blue and Yellow Macaw
Scientific name: Ara ararauna
Adult Size: 33 inches with a wingspan of 40 inches
Life expectancy: 30 to 60+ years old

Origin and History

Blue and Gold Macaws are native to South and Central America – from Panama to Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela south to Peru. They usually inhabit forests and woodlands, usually near water and savannas with few trees and palms and forest swamps.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has placed the Blue and Yellow Macaw on their Red List of Least Concern, meaning they are not threatened, but their species is declining in the wild.

They have been traded for the pet industry quite a lot since 1981. They have lost a third of their habitat, and at least 60,000 Blue-and-Gold Macaws have been trapped for the pet trade industry over the last 6 years.


In the wild, these parrots tend to live in pairs or small groups that are quite high in the trees. But in the morning and evening, they join large flocks and make noise while feeding. When they fly in pairs (perhaps bonded), they are known to fly so close to each other that their wings touch.

The Blue-and-Gold Macaw has a huge personality that goes well with its bright colors. They can be quite noisy and boisterous birds, but they can also be very loving and affectionate to their humans. This macaw is a very social bird who is very grumpy and sweet and will seek attention willingly. They are also very playful and curious but can be very sensitive birds.

Blue and Gold Macaws are very intelligent and can be taught tricks. They are not shy about showing you how they feel. They will wag their fur and may even scream if they don’t want you to approach them. But they will also rub their heads at you when in an affectionate mood and will give you a kiss.

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  • Very social and loving, likes attention
  • Long live
  • Smart and trainable
  • Attractive and beautiful
  • Great speaker
  • Playful and curious


  • Need a lot of attention

  • Very hard

  • Expect a lot of cleaning

  • Expensive to maintain – requires a large cage

  • Can be moody and stubborn

  • Requires a minimum of 2 to 4 hours outside the cage

Speeches & Vocalizations

The Blue-and-Gold Macaw has a loud, loud call with a variety of hoarse voices and tends to scream or shriek. Once they start screaming, you really can’t stop them, so these birds are definitely not suitable for people who live in apartments or live in close proximity to other people.

Beyond that, they are famous for their speaking ability. These smart birds are fast learners and can pick up a vocabulary of about 20 words or more (or more or less, depending on the bird and owner).birdcage divider

Blue and Gold Macaw Colors and Marks

Blue-and-Gold Macaws are, well, blue and gold. The upper part of their body, including the wings, is a bright turquoise blue, and the underside that rises to the sides of the head is a bright golden yellow.

They also have green and black foreheads under their beaks. And interestingly, part of his face is white which will turn pink when he is excited. Females and males look the same and are quite difficult to tell apart.

They have black beaks, which are quite large and strong and quite frightening, which they use to crush nuts and climb. Their feet are dark gray with four fingers which they use to climb and grasp objects.

Caring for Blue and Gold Macaws


Apart from the Macaws themselves, this cage for birds will be one of the more expensive purchases you will have to make. Your parrot should be able to spread its wings and flap without hitting anything. Given that they have a 40-inch wingspan, the Blue-and-Gold Macaw will need a large enclosure.

At a minimum, it should be around 3′ W x 4′ L x 5′ H, but bigger is always better. The distance between the rods should be 1 to 1½ inches apart. You might also consider turning one room in your home into a bird-safe room.


Macaws are known for chewing on them, so you should give your bird plenty of things to chew on safely – things like pine cones, spruce branches, and wood designed for birds. They really enjoy exploring objects by pulling on them or crushing them.

You can also purchase toys made especially for large Macaws and large perches that you can place around your home.

Macaws don’t need to bathe, so if your parrot doesn’t seem to like it, you don’t have to force it. Otherwise, provide your Macaw with water, and he can take care of himself.


There is no need to bring another bird into your home as a companion for your Macaw. If you can spend a lot of time with your bird, that’s usually enough for most Macaws.

If you socialize your Blue-and-Gold as he grows to feel comfortable around other people, birds, or pets, he will be much more comfortable around different species. However, it is not advisable to let your Macaw spend time outside its cage with smaller birds unattended.

Blue Macaw side view

General Health Problems

Some of the more common health issues that may make your Blue and Gold Macaw vulnerable are:

  • Macaw Wasting Syndrome

  • Overgrown beak

  • Hair Removal

  • Respiratory Tract Infection

  • Kidney and Urinary Tract Disorders

  • Beak and Feather Disease

Some signs that your Macaw may be sick include:

  • Breathing problems: Difficulty breathing or hoarseness

  • Excessive saliva

  • Loss of appetite: Possible weight loss

  • Disheveled/messy fur

  • Problems with eyes: swollen, watery, and/or closed eyes

  • Diarrhea: Ventilation may be dirty

  • Weaknesses: Loss of balance, drooping wings

  • Behavioral changes: Mood differences and lethargy

You know your bird best, so you’ll be able to spot if something is wrong with your pet. Consult your poultry veterinarian if you observe any of these symptoms.

Diet and Nutrition

When in the wild, Blue and Gold Macaws eat a wide variety of nuts, seeds, and fruit – especially palm fruit.

As a pet, your Macaw’s diet may consist of:

  • Nuts (as an occasional snack): Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts

  • Fruits: Bananas, oranges, apples, plums, pears, grapes, papaya, berries, mango

  • Vegetables: Zucchini, cucumber, carrot, sweet potato, greens, corn on the cob

You can give your parrot a pellet diet that includes healthy seeds like chia, flax, and flax, as well as sprouted or soaked sunflower seeds.


The Blue-and-Gold Macaw is a very active and energetic bird. They need time outside the cage to stretch and flap their wings.

You should push up on your ladder or give them a rope ladder, which can help strengthen their legs and feet.

Place your Macaw on your arm and gently move your arm up and down or in a circle. This will cause your Macaw to flap its wings to maintain its balance.

Try playing games and turning on some music to get you dancing Blue-and-Gold, and be sure to give him lots of toys in his cage to encourage inside practice as well.

You should leave your Macaw at least 2 to 3 hours outside its cage to give it the opportunity to exercise and socialize.

Where to Adopt or Buy Blue and Gold Macaws

Fortunately, the Blue-and-Gold Macaw is a fairly common parrot that you can find at a breeder or at a reputable pet store. However, Macaws tend to be expensive, so you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 and up to $5,000 for Blue-and-Gold.

There are also many bird rescue groups scattered throughout North America, such as Texas-based Bird Haven. You can take a rescued Macaw home and give it a new and loving home.

You should be able to find one of these Macaws online or by word of mouth. Posting on social media can help (and don’t forget to search under the Blue-and-Yellow Macaw too) and join parrot groups or forums for suggestions.birdcage divider


If you decide you want to invest in a Blue-and Gold Macaw as your new pet, be sure to check how your potential parrot was bred and what its history is like before you bring it home.

Blue and Gold Macaws are amazing birds! They are beautiful to look at and can make unique and loving companions for the right family.

Featured Image Credit: KKT Madhusanka, Shutterstock

Blue and Gold Macaw
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