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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Mini Macaws

Poetic Ramblings

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My experience with yellow-collared macaws is limited to Duncan, but I figured I'd update with my experience so far. A little background: Duncan is a 23-year-old female YCM who's been with me for 3 months today.

The Good: Duncan is one of the most amazing animals I've ever met. She is very sweet, and gentle, and absolutely loves people. :heart: She's very animated, has a huge personality, and seems to be a very happy and excited little bird.

The Bad: Duncan can be hormonal. You can't leave blankets or towels lying around because she will regurgitate for them (with the exception of the blanket behind her play set-up, which she leaves alone).

The Ugly: It seems harsh to call this, 'the ugly,' but one of the toughest things regarding Duncan is her obsessive preening. This doesn't come as much of a surprise considering her back, belly, and chest are completed plucked, along with sections of her shoulders. She's not always a gentle preener and it can hurt when she's preening your face, especially when she does so obsessively. In those cases, I remove her from my shoulder and place her play area. She also requires a lot of preening toys.

I feel like I wrote more about the bad and ugly than the good, but the good outweighs the bad a trillion to one. She's truly a fantastic little bird. :D
 

noblemacaw

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I had a Noble macaw for almost 18 years and a Illiger's macaw for almost 10 years.

I remember meeting my Noble macaws parents before they had babies. They were already set up for breeding and were on their honeymoon so I approached their space (the room) with respect expecting them to be in breeding condition. Both birds were on top of their cage close together chilling out. They were not agressive in the least or concerned that I, a stranger, walked into their territory. Both Nobles stepped up for me and were very interactive. I was so impressed by this I immeaditly reserved a future baby.

In all of Mihijo's life he has never been agressive or bit anyone. Respectful childern could handle him and anyone could get him out of his cage. Even during hormone season. I have never known any medium size parrot that was as laid back as a Noble macaw.

The bad is they tend to be pluckers. Their hormones don't seem to drop properly and that constant state of being hormonal caused moults never to occure hence the plucking began.

The Ugly. Mihijo's father died young from what I suspect was heart disease. Mihijo suffered from heart disease and at almost 18 years old died from a heart attack.

Diego my Illiger's macaw was purchased from a breeder in Southern California and he was co-parented. Unlike Mihijo Diego knew how to be a parrot and was pure macaw. He was my firey boy who loved me and tolerated everyone else. My Illiger's was extreamly cuddly and loved to lay in the crook of my neck while l watched TV in the evenings. I kept Diego flighted and he flew daily in my home. His devotion, loyality and strong bond to me easily stole my heart. I had to be told I favored Diego out of all my boys even though I strongly denied such behavior.

Bad. Diego was mostly a one person bird. I took great lengths to socalize him and teach him to accept others. He attended parrot boot camp TWICE. Diego had a very spicy personality compaired to my Noble macaw. They were almost oposite in personality.

Ugly. At almost 10 years of age on a beautiful summer day after being with me for 2 hours Diego went to fly back to his cage for pooping and and to refresh himself he had a massive stroke. Within 45 mins he was gone. Despite giving him mouth to beak ressusitation and his doctor taking heroic measures to save him the stroke took him over the rainbow bridge. I have never taken a death as hard as I did when Diego died.

I love mini macaws but I cannot bring myself to get another Noble or Illiger's macaw. I know a Yellow Collared Macaw would be a good parrot for someone like me but they are now hard to find.
 

Akhanta

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I've lived with an awesome boy, so I'll try to add my experience with him to the topic.

The Good: Hell, wasn't he one independent and confident bird! He adored travelling - by train, by car, by bus, everything worked for him. He had no issues with visiting new places, hotels etc. The moment we crossed our flat's doorstep, he would scream with joy, sing and whistle, reply wild birds' noises etc. And then I could leave him in a hotel room and go outside, and he didn't give a damn about being alone in a new place. If I could take him somewhere I had to go, I could leave him at my family's or friends' - and no matter if he'd already known them or not, he loved them. He loved everybody, as long as they kept their distance! He would chat with everyone, confess love and dance around. I didn't leave him often, of course - one or two times a year for a few days; and only because I knew he didn't mind. He'd act perfectly normal and happy, occasionally learn a new word or two, and then he was even happier to have me back.
He was really a happy-go-lucky boy, but also a mischievous one - in a good way. He'd pick on me for fun, throwing things at me, making me fetch items (he'd drop something on the floor and stare at me, waiting, and when I picked it up, he'd throw it again!); and when he knew he was doing something forbidden, he'd occasionally pause, say a loud, scolding "NOO!" at himself and just continue doing the thing ;)
He liked to pet me and people he liked - stroke, preen, comb hair etc. and he could be very gentle. He loved my fiancee from the first sight, he would kiss him, take every food from him, let him trim his talons - from the moment they met!
Another rare trait: he never destroyed anything! He loved to tear paper, so I had to be careful with books when around him, and then there's ofc a keyboard, but other than that - no collateral damage. I literally never had to throw a toy away. He used to take care about his toys (after his passing away, I sanitized them just in case and rehomed them - I couldn't bear a thought of throwing his stuff away...).
He could speak quite well and understood the meaning of words he knew. He loved to dance and sing (usually whistling randomly, or humming "pa-pa-pa-paaaaraaaa"). He had a good taste in music - he prefered XVII-XIX century folk songs and shanties :D
He was scared of only one thing in his life: watermelons. He was also very stubborn about things: he hated my plushie flamingo and would always throw it on the floor and loved my collectible shark figurines (he stole and lost somewhere almost all of them).
He was moderately noisy. Didn't scream too often and usually to signal something, never just for the sake of screaming.
Sometimes he would put his face in my palm, close his eyes and sit like this, breathing in my hand and resting. It was really heart-touching.


The Bad: He usually hated being touched and he would bite. Took me some time to teach him a basic concept of gentleness. Initially, he would also chew on fingers, very painfully - with time I managed to teach him to stroke fingers with his beak, instead of biting. And even then, he wasn't the most gentle bird - he just stopped biting without any reason. Not counting my mother - he hated her for reasons unknown and would peferably rip her apart, if he could; as a general rule, he prefered men.
He didn't take touching his cage lightly and would attack hands (but only hands, and would never pursue a person).
Some of his traits, like his stubborness, might be considered bad, but personally I appreciated them. His major and probably the only one con was that he could be touched or petted only on his own terms - but I learned to appreciate it too, especially if it was a price for his independent and brave attitude.


He was like a rottweiler dog. I'm not sure how to explain this, but he was. Sharp and majestic, and reasonable but also, most of all, very, very headstrong. His name was Stark, Swedish word for "mighty" - and that's the way he was. Mighty. Such a big personality, you wouldn't even notice his small body.
After 3 years of being *perfectly* healthy, no issues recorded, good blood test and health checks results, he passed away. Just like that, without any visible symptoms...
To me, he was a perfect bird and the best possible choice I've ever made <3
 

learnincurve

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helen
Illager's macaw in bed time madness. This goes on and on for about an hour and is bird being bird.

 

Robin8888

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Robin8888

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Thanks for sharing this info I am thinking about getting a Hahn's & this was very helpful.
The noise level in the videos people have shared isn't to bad.
My concern is the sharp beak not for me but that I have a handicap daughter.
My daughter does understand they can bite & not to put her fingers in the cages but she does like to hold the birds.
I am wonder how big they are (like compared to a pionus or sun conure)? Also what size cage do they need?

Thanks
 

Robin8888

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Here is mine based on Gizmo, an 11 year old Hahn's Macaw:

The Good

She is so intelligent; it amazes me all the time. Somehow she knows what I want her to do, even if I've never asked her to do it before! She is fairly quiet, in that she only sounds off a few times a day for short bursts. She is very tactile, craving touch and wanting to test everything delicately with her beak. She is very affectionate and loves to cuddle under my chin, in my hair, and give kisses. I personally feel that foraging toys are an absolute must for these birds as they are so intelligent and so do enjoy destruction! A favorite here are the Parrot Enrichment blocks.

The Bad

Gizmo had a rough start to life, being confined to a small cage with no real toys, and perches that made her arthritic. This has given her some OCD-like tendencies when she gets nervous or bored. They do have a crazy need to chew...wood toys are a big hit, and Giz needs something available at all times, or she will start to chew the couch, clothes, or door frames!

Yes, nips HURT. They are territorial and in my home, I cannot keep allow my Quaker and Green Cheek to be out in the same room with her; she will attack them if they get too close to me. These birds have larger beaks in relation to their size than other birds of similar length and weight, so please note that even an innocent "back off!" can cause damage to a smaller bird. Mine is definitely a "one person" bird. She is also very picky about food, but we have worked on that a lot!

The Ugly

Gizmo is so attached to me that I worry about her. She does need a lot of out time or she gets stir crazy, much more than my other birds. I honestly believe that another Hahn's is in my future - more out of necessity than anything else! I do not think, based on other people's knowledge and my own experiences, that these birds do well if they are going to be by themselves for long hours; they need companionship of some sort, a favorite person or another bird, more so than other species I've kept.

While mine does not sound off often, when she does, it is definitely loud. Below is her "Come back!" call. Her alarm call trumps this easily, and she will use it if anything is "off" - even if it's something I didn't notice or can't see.


Here are some of the "nicer" sounds, and some of her "OCD" actions


Thank you fro sharing the videos & info. Everyone saying the Hahn's are loud was making me 2nd think them but that isn't loud at all. My conures have a much high pitch scream it is ear piercing loud. I am just worried about the sharp beak. :)
 

Mizzely

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Thank you fro sharing the videos & info. Everyone saying the Hahn's are loud was making me 2nd think them but that isn't loud at all. My conures have a much high pitch scream it is ear piercing loud. I am just worried about the sharp beak. :)

They are louder than a sun in my opinion, but not as shrill.
 

Robin8888

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They are louder than a sun in my opinion, but not as shrill.
If you have our conure on your shoulder & she screams your ear will be ringing for hours.
We owned a Military Macaw I know how loud they are. How does the Hahn's compare to the larger macaws?
Thanks
 

Mizzely

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If you have our conure on your shoulder & she screams your ear will be ringing for hours.
We owned a Military Macaw I know how loud they are. How does the Hahn's compare to the larger macaws?
Thanks


Don't know, I only know what it compares to a sun conure. My friend has one that I visit often.
 

alcmene

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Thanks for sharing this info I am thinking about getting a Hahn's & this was very helpful.
The noise level in the videos people have shared isn't to bad.
My concern is the sharp beak not for me but that I have a handicap daughter.
My daughter does understand they can bite & not to put her fingers in the cages but she does like to hold the birds.
I am wonder how big they are (like compared to a pionus or sun conure)? Also what size cage do they need?

Thanks
My hahns is 150g. My sun conure is 115g. The hahns is louder but less shrill. The hahns beak is INCREDIBLY sharp. The tip is like being stabbed with a needle. Mabel frequently draws blood, but not on purpose. Her beak is just so very sharp and pointy that she pierces you inadvertantly. Hahns are very active birds and require a large cage relative to their size.

If you scroll up to the top of the page, you can see a side by side pic of my hahns and sun and see how sharp her beak is

Mabel is very chatty. She loves to ride around on my shoulder all around the house. She likes to be talked to. She does not allow herself to be petted. From other mini macaw owners I know, that's pretty common. They are sociable and friendly, but not keen on petting
 
Last edited:

Robin8888

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I had a Noble macaw for almost 18 years and a Illiger's macaw for almost 10 years.

I remember meeting my Noble macaws parents before they had babies. They were already set up for breeding and were on their honeymoon so I approached their space (the room) with respect expecting them to be in breeding condition. Both birds were on top of their cage close together chilling out. They were not agressive in the least or concerned that I, a stranger, walked into their territory. Both Nobles stepped up for me and were very interactive. I was so impressed by this I immeaditly reserved a future baby.

In all of Mihijo's life he has never been agressive or bit anyone. Respectful childern could handle him and anyone could get him out of his cage. Even during hormone season. I have never known any medium size parrot that was as laid back as a Noble macaw.

The bad is they tend to be pluckers. Their hormones don't seem to drop properly and that constant state of being hormonal caused moults never to occure hence the plucking began.

The Ugly. Mihijo's father died young from what I suspect was heart disease. Mihijo suffered from heart disease and at almost 18 years old died from a heart attack.

Diego my Illiger's macaw was purchased from a breeder in Southern California and he was co-parented. Unlike Mihijo Diego knew how to be a parrot and was pure macaw. He was my firey boy who loved me and tolerated everyone else. My Illiger's was extreamly cuddly and loved to lay in the crook of my neck while l watched TV in the evenings. I kept Diego flighted and he flew daily in my home. His devotion, loyality and strong bond to me easily stole my heart. I had to be told I favored Diego out of all my boys even though I strongly denied such behavior.

Bad. Diego was mostly a one person bird. I took great lengths to socalize him and teach him to accept others. He attended parrot boot camp TWICE. Diego had a very spicy personality compaired to my Noble macaw. They were almost oposite in personality.

Ugly. At almost 10 years of age on a beautiful summer day after being with me for 2 hours Diego went to fly back to his cage for pooping and and to refresh himself he had a massive stroke. Within 45 mins he was gone. Despite giving him mouth to beak ressusitation and his doctor taking heroic measures to save him the stroke took him over the rainbow bridge. I have never taken a death as hard as I did when Diego died.

I love mini macaws but I cannot bring myself to get another Noble or Illiger's macaw. I know a Yellow Collared Macaw would be a good parrot for someone like me but they are now hard to find.
So sorry you lost your birds :(
I lost a cockatiel in my hands & that was the worst thing.
My birds I have now I have had for 15 years & we have been very lucky. My pionus has plucking issues but is a really good bird.
 

Chaddlee1978

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I have a Hahn macaw and he is one years old. He can get nippy but mostly he is playing. Loves to finger wrestle and he makes a lot of sounds such as whistles, chirps, and talks. We say he has ADHD because he can't be still for long unless he is napping under my hand, which isn't much when he does nap. And he does have a sharp point on his beak and a tough grip. He seems to be sweet to everyone he meets so far. He is very nosy too. If me or my wife get up to go somewhere here he comes. He has to see what we are doing. He can get aggravating at times but he makes us laugh a lot too. I use to have a sun conure and my Hahn macaw is much more entertaining, playful, and makes a lot more cute noises but he is also more nippy and hurts more than the sun.
 

Rebeccasevere

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I've posted about this in behavior byway, and gotten some great advice, although somewhat conflicting, but wanted to post here for mini macaw's people to see.

My newly adopted 15 year old severe is such an amazing girl, let's me do anything, very independent and will play with things for hours on her own but also loved to cuddle. Does not mind my dog at all and learning to tolerate my husband.

She is also very quiet for a parrot, very rarely sounds off at all, doesn't do much more than muffled talking-- except when a guest comes over or we just found out even when we are face timing! She alert screams continuously while a guest is over. It is so loud and she gets really worked up, starts panting in between screaming.

I am really not sure what to do and noticed no one else has mentioned this for their bad or ugly, but several people have said minis can be territorial. Any advice or anecdotes about your minis and alert screaming being trained to stop after a couple of min would be much appreciated!
 

Nancy B

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The attributes listed in this thread are the experiences of each individual and your experiences may differ with your individual bird.

Another thread for TMS's idea..

My experience is limited to Severe Macaws or just one severe macaw. Of course, what's good and what's bad is subjective. We all have our personal opinions and that's ok.

I will share with you MY Good, Bad and Ugly about My Severe Macaw and look forward to reading about everyone else's G B & U when it comes to mini macaws. :)

Let's start with the Bad and Ugly. :D Mabel is extremely extremely Destructive. She has a Powerful beak and loves to use it as much as possible. It does not take her very long to render an object useless. She has destroyed MANY expensive and inexpensive things around here and I can not leave her unsupervised for more than a few seconds otherwise I better be prepared for some damage. Not her fault at all. That's the way she's wired. About her beak, she uses it to exploresany object that she can fly to or get her beak on... EVERYTHING. This also includes my hands and any part that she has access too. I know many have described this as being nippy. When she's on me she also makes holes in my shirts, removes buttons and destroys zippers. With this beak also comes VERY painful bites and DEEP CUTS. Does not take much effort from her to do SERIOUS damage. These days I rarely get bitten by Mabel but that's also because I've become pretty skilled at reading her body language and we've built a good trust account between the two of us. Last of the bad would be the volume of her call. Truth be told, Mabel is very very quiet for a parrot, however she has the capability of EXTREMELY loud volume. When I first brought her home I remember keeping her in a separate room during quarantine time and when she used to sound off with the door closed I used to wonder if she would make the doors fall off their hinges with her volume and Even Sachi and Emma used to fall off their perches.:eek: Last of all, Mabel is gregarious and demanding. She loves to be on me and with me or close by. She likes to be in physical contact as much as possible and tends to hog my physical attention. It is not uncommon to see me doing different things around my home with Mabel hanging off of me. She's my little gem so I don't fight it anymore..:lol:


The GOOD. Mabel is so physically expressive through her eyes and her body language. Her eyes used to frighten me. Today I realize it was because I was afraid and overwhelmed at seeing all that emotion behind them. Severe macaw body language is very easy to read once you've learned the basics of macaw body language. It is thanks to Holiday that I became a good student at understanding my Mabel. Training Your Macaw (Moved from Blog Section) | Avian Avenue Parrot Forum

Mabel is loving, calm, endearing and likes nothing more than being with me. She loves to destroy lots of wood so that's a big perk for me too because my other parrots do very minimal toy destroying.:D She loves to eat anything that I offer her and is so good about showing her appreciation. I can flip her on her back, lift up her wings, file her nails, give her a shower and do just about anything I choose to do with her. In the first months that she arrived here, whenever I offered her anything she'd look up at me with her beautiful eyes as if to ask * Is this for me?*. The first part of her life was not the best, I don't think she'll forget about those days for a long time to come. I think one of the reasons why I love her so much is that she's a role model when it comes to appreciation. She does everything full throttle and things are very black and white with her. She plays hard, loves hard and of all my 4 parrots she makes me feel the most appreciated. Often it seems that I can do no wrong in her eyes. For all the bad and ugly, the Good most definitely makes up for it.:heart: Here's my blog inspired by Mabel.. Mabel Serendipity
I saw your blog. Awww, she's too cute to destroy things lol!
 

Eickhorn

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While Yellow-collars are a different species, they are in the same genus as the Illiger's (Primolius). And, in birds, the differences between species in a genus (especially in the multitude of closely related South American species) can be fairly minimal (like beak color or wingtip length or the like). So, cousins in the same genus tend to be very similar. Therefore, I think you can heed not only what people have to say about YCMs (and we do have a couple of members who own one), but also what people say about Illiger's. They're really not much different; they hybridize easily. I know someone who has an Illie/YCM hybrid, as a matter of fact :) Cute little green fella. Obviously, of course, each individual bird will be a little different from another, but overall, you're not going to see any earthshattering differences between those two species. I wouldn't exactly be off my game if I were to take in a YCM ;)
Thank you for the information on YCM. I have one and need to learn asap.
 

Mzme

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I have a Hahns Macaw named Bubbles. I also own 2 Caiques, a Jenday Conures and my Hahns is my favourite bird by far.

The Good: The most affectionate living thing in my house hold. She loves to be touched and talked to. she lifts her wings to be scratched, loves a cuddle and can sit on my lap for an hour on the lounge and cuddle while I'm watching TV and not Poop! She is a clean bird, not so messy with seed etc. compared to the Caiques who are extremely messy. She doesn't mind sharing and loves to be friends with other birds, too bad it is not reciprocated. She is so funny and loves to be a clown and show off. She can be hesitant of new people but with some patience and understanding she will step up for someone else. She is my bird and the love she has for me is obvious. she is not too loud, she mimics the Caiques call so she whistles and make their noises. she never makes a true macaw call. I would say my Caiques are the loudest birds then the Jenday Conure, but my Jenday is still very young. Bubbles thrives for attention so when I am home I always have her cage open unless im going to bed and she just sits on top and plays with some toys, she is happy to chill out so I don't find her too demanding.

The Bad: She can be nippy when she doesn't want to get off me and when she needs to go back in her cage. She sometimes pulls her feathers out which has been disappointing, this was brought on by a companion hahns I bought to be her friend but I had to sell him due to him pulling out her feathers so she still sometimes pulls her out.

The Ugly: she doesn't like my 8 year old daughter, no matter how much my daughter tries to be her friend Bubbles will not warm up to her. I'm not sure why this is as my daughter is gentle and tries to build the trust but Bubbles will try and bite her and has bitten her a few times although recently she seems to slowly be warming up to her compared to before.

After my experience with a Hahns Macaw I will always have this bird as my first preference if I am ever going to purchase another bird. Every bird will have pros and cons but this birds pros totally outweigh the cons. I do spend a lot of time with her and all my birds get a lot of out of cage time in the morning and evenings and weekends. I really love her and her fun personality.
 

BirdManDan

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Sorry can't help you out. No mini macaw experience just big ones but absolutely love them. Still waiting for my dream Macaw being a Hyacinth. The gentle Blue Giant!
HYACINTH MACAW PALM NUT cluster.jpg hyacinth.gif HYACINTH MACAW.jpg
 
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