Blue and Gold Macaws

Magnificent Birds!
Magnificent Birds!. Kitchin and Hurst/Getty Images

Beautiful, captivating, intelligent, and majestic, Blue and Gold Macaws have held a place as one of the most popular large parrots for years. These brightly colored beauties have so much more to offer than just a pretty face -- they are full of personality as well! They are indeed one of the more recognizable birds in the world. 

Their sociability and even temperaments make them great pets, and their intelligence, willingness to learn, and talking ability only help make them more precious to the eyes bird lovers.

The Blue and Gold, like most parrots, thrives on attention from its owner and will form a strong bond with its family members.

This is not to say, however, that the Blue and Gold Macaw is for everybody. Indeed, this is a bird that requires extra special attention. They are quite large and must be provided with adequate space in which to live, play, and exercise. Not only that, but they are prone to ear-shattering vocalizations and contact calls, which are often unappreciated by close neighbors. Care must be taken to properly socialize these birds and to provide them with adequate mental stimulation so that screaming doesn't become a habit out of boredom. These are raucous birds that require plenty of space, a lot of time and attention and a healthy diet. 

When Blue and Golds are kept in healthy, wholesome environments, they are normally a joy to have as pets. Those who are looking to add a Blue and Gold to their families, however, should do plenty of research before they buy a bird to make sure that they can provide the kind of home that will be conducive to a healthy, successful ownership experience.

Doing so will help ensure that both bird and owner will enjoy many happy years together. 

Common Names

Blue and Gold Macaw, Blue and Yellow Macaw.

Scientific Name

Ara ararauna.


Swamp and forest areas of South America.


Blue and Gold Macaws are large birds and can reach lengths of up to 33 inches from the beak to the end of the tailfeathers.

Average Lifespan

60+ years.


Intelligent and sociable, the Blue and Gold Macaw usually does well as a pet when the owners are dedicated, responsible, and well informed. They are large birds, and as such are capable of extremely loud vocalizations. Because of this, they may not be the best choice for those who live in apartments and condominiums, or who have small children.


Blue and Gold Macaws typically have a green forehead, fading into blue which covers the nape, back, tail, and wings. The chest and underside of the wings and belly are a bright golden yellow. They have large black beaks, and white patches of skin around their eyes and face. These patches are adorned with rings of tiny black feathers.


Captive Blue and Gold Macaws should be fed a varied diet consisting of as many different types of fresh foods as possible. Fresh vegetables are always needed as well as leafy greens and root vegetables.  The birds should be supplemented daily with a high-quality pelleted diet and some healthy seed such as flax, hemp, and chia seed, taking care to avoid treats that are high in fat.


Blue and Gold Macaws are active birds, and they love to climb, swing, bounce, and chew.

Those who own Blue and Gold Macaws should provide a minimum of 2-3 hours of playtime outside of the cage each day so that they birds can stretch and exercise their muscles. Strong toys are a must, as the Blue and Gold's beak is known to be destructive. These birds have powerful jaw muscles, so chewing and gnawing is necessary to keep them healthy and in shape. Providing chewable toys made of leather and wood are a must. The more nooks and crannies in the toy are all the better for that big beak that love to investigate those little corners and crack them wide open. 

Edited by: Patricia Sund