Ara ararauna, Blue and Gold Macaw, is a member of the Psittacidae genera and one of the large Macaws. They grow to be approximately 34 inches head to tail and can weigh up to 2 pounds. Known for their magnificent coloring, the Blue and Gold Macaw has a green forehead.
The upper part of their body, wings, and tail are a vibrant blue. The side of the neck down to the front of their lower body is a bright yellow with a black bib of feathers just below their lower beak. Both the upper and lower beak are black. The eyes of an adult bird are yellow and their legs are gray.
The Blue and Gold Macaw lives in Mexico and the eastern coast of central and South America.
They have been known to live upwards of 50 years in captivity and reach sexual maturity at about 5 years of age. While the female is slightly smaller, both the male and female of the species look alike so surgical sexing is generally necessary to identify sex. Blue and Gold Macaws are non-migratory birds and live in the tops of the rainforest trees.
The Blue and Gold Macaw breeding season can be year round depending on the pair. They lay 2 to 4 eggs every two to three days and the young hatch in 28-32 days becoming independent in 12 to 16 weeks. Due to deforestation, they are endangered in the wild, however captive breeding programs are fairly successful and finding a Blue and Gold to add to your family is generally easy.
Their diet consists mainly of fruits, leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, leaves and bark. However, Blue and Gold Macaws also feed on small animal life. In the wild, they use clay licks as a mineral supplement and to detoxify seeds.
The blue and gold is known to be very intelligent, affectionate, and occasionally mischievous. They can learn about 15-20 words and are good at mimicking sounds. Typical to the Macaw family, they are noisy. They can bond to a single owner but are generally considered good family pets because they adapt easily, if properly socialized, and interact well with a variety of people and animals.
Unless they’re going to be left out of their cage for an extended period of time each day, they need to have a cage that is at least 3 feet by 2 feet by 5 feet. Macaws nest in the tops of the rainforest trees which means they like to climb.
A tall cage will give them the height they need. Macaws are also big chewers and puzzle solvers. Toys that enable them to chew and problem solve help to keep Blue and Gold’s active and prevents behavior issues.
Common behavior problems include, biting, screaming, and feather plucking. These tend to show up if the environment is lacking and during sexual maturity. Training and an optimal environment are the best ways to combat behavior problems.
Common illnesses include Chlamydiosis, diarrhea, feather plucking, and Proventicular Dilatation disease. A clean cage, fresh food and water daily, exercise, interaction with their family, training, and toys will generally keep a Blue and Gold Macaw happy and healthy. If you have any questions about the proper care or health of your Blue and Gold Macaw, contact your avian veterinarian.
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