Scarlet Macaws are probably the most eye-catching Macaw in the pet trade today. They are brilliantly red with splashes of gold, green, and blue on their wings. It’s almost as if they walked right through a rainbow! They have the typical pale, fleshy faces of all Macaws, but even the feathers on their cheeks are bright red! Unlike other Macaws, Scarlets have horn-colored beaks rather than the usual black.
Average Lifespan: 40 – 60 years
Sexing: Sexing these birds requires a DNA test, as they are not sexually dimorphic and you cannot tell the sex just by looking at them.
Origin: South America (Specifically extreme eastern Mexico to Amazonian Peru and Brazil)
Trainability: As with most of the large Macaws, Scarlets are not for everyone. They are mischievous and playful, and can become quite destructive if bored. They tend to “pinch bite,” so experienced bird owners do best with them; Scarlet macaws are not a great first bird. We recommend purchasing a weaned, handfed baby.
Birds naturally fledge from the nest and their mothers, so hand-feeding a baby you intend to keep for life is not the best idea. It will only cause more aggression later when the bird becomes confused and frustrated that it cannot leave the “nest.” Scarlet Macaws have been known to be “one-person birds” – bonding very strongly with their primary care taker or other favorite person.
If you’re searching for a family bird, we would suggest another species. We have also found that Scarlet Macaws do best when paired with an owner of the opposite sex. So, if you’re a male, you would want to find a DNA sexed female Macaw. Similarly, if you’re female, it would be ideal to find a DNA sexed male Macaw.
Otherwise, you may find yourself caught in a battle for dominance with your Macaw later on in life. Scarlet Macaws learn quickly and are easy to train with a little effort. They can easily develop a good vocabulary, knowing a few key words and phrases to get what they want.
Scarlet Macaws enjoy showers and will often bathe with their owners. Many enjoy being outdoors as well, so it is good to find a way to allow your Scarlet to play outside safely.
Loudness: Like all Macaws, the Scarlet Macaw can be pretty vocal at sunrise and sunset. Because of this, we don’t recommend them (or any of the large Macaws) for apartment living. If you feel that a quieter, smaller bird is more appropriate for you, there are still many species to choose from.