Illiger's Macaws

Illiger Macaws
MrTMan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Common Names:

Illiger's Macaw, Illiger's Miniature Macaw.

Scientific Name:

Ara maracana.


South America.


The Illiger's Macaw is a medium sized bird, reaching average lengths of 15 to 17 inches from the beak to the tip of the tail feathers.

Average Lifespan:

Properly cared for, a pet Illiger's Macaw can live up to 45 years. Some have been reported to live even longer!


Illiger's Macaws are playful, friendly birds that enjoy human interaction.

When handfed as babies and raised in loving, attentive homes, these intelligent birds will bond strongly with their owners and will quickly respond to positive training techniques. They require a lot of mental stimulation and they like to stay busy, so an Illiger's Macaw is not for owners that don't have plenty of time to spend with their pets.


Illiger's Macaws are mostly green with a bright red blaze on their foreheads. The feathers of the neck and the top of the head are a beautiful iridescent blue. They have brownish-red patches on their lower back, abdomen, and tail feathers, which are edged in a brilliant blue. They have orange eyes framed by the classic bare macaw facial patches, black beaks, and flesh colored feet and legs. While Illiger's Macaws are considered monomorphic birds, the males tend to exhibit more red coloration in their feathers than the females do.


Illiger's Macaws in the wild eat a diet that is higher in fat than other Macaw species.

To mimic this successfully, feed your Illiger's Macaw a diet consisting of a high quality seed/pellet mix and plenty of fresh bird-safe fruits and vegetables. Making sure that the bird has a varied diet that includes fresh foods will put him on the path to optimal nutrition.


The Illiger's Macaw is a bird on the move, so owners need to pay particular attention to exercise.

Not only will plenty of exercise help an Illiger's Macaw stay healthy, it will provide vital mental stimulation that is essential to these intelligent birds. Potential owners should plan to allow their Illiger's Macaw a minumum of 2-4 hours playtime outside of the cage per day. This will allow your bird to stretch both his muscles and his mind -- two essential components of a healthy, happy pet parrot.

Illiger's Macaws as Pets:

Beautiful, playful, and charming, the Illiger's Macaw has grown in popularity as a pet in recent years. Most people choose a Mini Macaw species because they think they can't handle a larger bird, but take note -- the Illiger's Macaw might be considered a Mini, but they act just like the big guys do!

The Illiger's Macaw is a social species that thrives on interacting with their human "flock." Those interested in owning an Illiger's Macaw should make sure that they have plenty of time to spend with their new bird, so that he doesn't become bored, angry, and destructive. Illiger's Macaws are known to be powerful chewers, and this could translate into damage to doors, windowsills, and expensive molding if the bird is ignored, neglected, or allowed to become bored.

Pet Illiger's Macaws should be given plenty of safe bird toys to keep their minds occupied and insure their happiness. A bored or sad Macaw is no fun to be around, and owners will quickly learn that these birds can and do hold grudges if they feel they've been mistreated.

While Illiger's Macaws aren't known to be particularly loud, they are still Macaws and they do vocalize. Potential owners should make sure that they are able to handle loud parrot vocalizations before rushing out to bring a pet Illiger's Macaw home.

Before going out to buy your Illiger's Macaw, consider the costs of owning a pet like this. Prices of veterinary bills, high quality feed, toys, and cages can add up quickly. If you can't provide your bird with the best of everything, consider waiting to adopt one until you can.