Macaw Parrots are New World parrots and range through South America. This genus of large birds is divided into 16 species and 6 subspecies. They are very distinctive due to their seemingly bare areas on the face which are decorated with lines of tiny feathers in the larger species. This thinly covered area can also reflect the parrots mood, growing redder when the bird is excited or angry. Macaws are among the most fascinating of aviary birds due to their intelligence and individuality. Macaws have a larger variation in size than any other avian group. They range from 35 inches long down to 12 inches in length. They all have a similar body shape with long tails. They are very long lived (well over 50 years), become very tame and can learn to talk.
Macaws are very sensitive birds and their owner has to really understand his bird and to interact with him. They can be extremely noisy with far-carrying voices and also cause damage to furniture or furnishings. They need a tolerant home and tolerant neighbors. Macaws are simply too demanding for the average bird owner. They also require a very large cage with a continual supply of toys and chewing items. If kept alone, they need to bond with the family and have daily interaction. If merely kept alone in a cage, they can develop bad habits such as screaming or feather plucking.
Due to their intelligence and individuality, Macaws are among the most fascinating of birds. They are delightful actors and love to follow their owners around. I am truly amazing by the many stories their owners have to tell about their birds. One of my friends has a blue and gold macaw who is the tattletale of the flock. If one of Dee’s other birds is misbehaving, this bird will come down of her cage, hunt Dee down, pull on her pant legs and say "No-No". Dee then knows that one of her other birds is probably chewing on the woodwork somewhere.
Do not get a macaw if you want a pretty caged bird. They truly deserve better and will be miserable. Due to their long life span they become a true commitment and a treasured family member. They are worth the effort and they can be delightful pets.
This is one of my earlier paintings. A lot of macaw owners feel this shows the cuddly side of a blue & gold. Blue and Gold Macaws are magnificent birds and highly intelligent. They also can be big babies and will talk, though not usually known for their extensive talking ability. They require a very large cage and lots of chewy toys to amuse themselves when not actively involved with their owner.
This is one of the hybrid macaws. A lot of bird people really don’t like the concept of hybrids. They feel that the various strains of the large macaws should be kept pure and not diluted. At one time it was thought that hybrid macaws were sterile but we now have second generation macaws. With hybrids, usually a blue & gold is mated with either a scarlet or green wing; however, other large macaws may be matched as well. With hybrid macaws you will find many, many color variations and some striking color combinations. This particular print is a lithograph and my first “parrot” lithograph.
This is my only large lithograph. I painted it from photos taken at a bird show in Nashville. The military macaw and the scarlet were young birds for sale by the same breeder. They really had bonded and were a delight to watch as they played together. This hybrid was quite young and a beautiful little guy. At the time, I was unaware at the controversy about hybrid macaws. This was one of the first times I worked from pictures I took with my digital camera and attempted to do more than one bird on a full sized watercolor sheet. Needless to say, I wanted to create a large print and as this was before the advent of giclee prints, I had it printed as lithograph. Next to the custom giclees, it is the largest print that I have.
This print is one of my older styles when I was more abstract in my avian painting. Hopefully, it captures the animation and interaction of the blue and gold macaws. They are just such fun, social birds and really characters.
This is the "gentle giant" of the macaws. They are huge and require the largest cage possible as well as a special diet. They are also endangered and very expensive if you are lucky enough to find one. They are truly magnificent birds and highly intelligent. This particular bird belong to a true bird lover. He also is a magician and used "Brandy" in his act but only if she wanted to perform. Unfortunately, Brandy is no longer. She had a "freak" cage mishap where she caught her leg in one of the rope toys. She was rushed to an emergency vet clinic but evidently, the vet on call was not used to handling a big bird and hesitated instead of immediately treating the bird for shock. Lesson learned, always take time and find a truly qualified avian vet and also see if there is anywhere you can go during "off-hours" for emergency treatment. I’m afraid it seems that most parrot crises do not occur during normal vet hours.
This scarlet macaw is a young one that I found in a bird show in Atlanta. She is typical of most Scarlet macaws and very beautiful with her bright coloring. Scarlet macaws are highly intelligent birds; however many bird people think that they are inclined to become "nippy" and recommend the Green-Winged Macaw as a pet over the Scarlet. Then again, I have met many people who truly love their Scarlets and find they make wonderful pets. Recently, at a show in Nashville, I saw a man walking through the show with three full-grown older Scarlet Macaws. They were wonderful and would go to anyone. I fell in love with the 6 year old male … was hard not coming home with him. For coloring and size, scarlet macaws are truly special birds.
This particular Green-winged macaw was the personal pet of a breeder and truly special. I have never taken so many good pictures of a subject as he seemed to delight in posing for me … everything from preening, to playing with toys. Green-winged are truly loved by macaw owners. They have a reputation for being especially loving and gentle. Like all macaws; however, they need a very large cage, many toys and lots of attention from their owner.
This was a commission by her two owners. Illigers are one of the smaller sized macaws and usually are hard to find. As attested to by her owners, they are wonderful, loving parrots and easy to spoil. In this case, the owners provided me with many pictures of their bird and I was able to work from these photos. When painting, I need many pictures so can decide upon the pose, as well as close ups of the face, under the tail and wings, and close ups of the feet, etc. If you are interested in acquiring a macaw, please check out the medium and smaller macaws. They make wonderful pets, especially if hand-reared, they are highly intelligent, playful and affectionate. Remember though that they are still macaws and their voices can be loud and harsh. They can also be destructive if not watched.
Don’t overlook this large macaw as they make exceptional pets. This print is special to me as I was working on it September 11th and it was the first painting I finished after that tragic day. Somehow seems appropriate doesn’t it? The proud military with his wings outstretched. I was very lucky to get a photo of this particular pose from which to work. A Military Macaw is a favorite among many macaw lovers.
Severe Macaws are extremely popular as pets due to their smaller size and intelligence. Like the Illigers, they belong to a group known as the "dwarf" macaws. Owners find them extremely intelligent and very loving. I was delighted to capture a photo of this bird with his wings outstretched. They are truly very beautiful birds.
I was at a bird show in Nashville when I spotted this beautiful bird on her owner’s shoulder. What also caught my attention was that her wings were completely untrimmed. Her owner said that she "doesn’t fly" and he had never trimmed her wings. After my initial shock at seeing an untrimmed bird, I immediately went for my camera. Normally all the birds I see have their wings trimmed and I have to add the long feathers, etc. I also highly recommend keeping a birds wings trimmed as … well, there always is the chance the the parrot will fly off much to the dismay of the owner. My own daughter lost a beautiful mitred conure that way. The bird’s wings were trimmed, it was a beautiful day, and she and her bird went to the top of Kennesaw Mountain (in Georgia). The bird was startled, a gust of wind came along, and my daughter watched as her pet soared down the mountain into the forest. I’ve heard too many tales of a family pet being lost when its wings were unclipped that I strongly recommend keeping your bird safe by clipping the wings; and, also avoiding taking your clipped bird to the top of a mountain. I also recommend using the wonderful avian leashes that they now have and gradually acclimated your bird to wearing a leash when taking him out. It only takes a second for your bird to fly off and rarely are they found by the distraught owner. At any rate, this particular blue and gold definitely did not want to leave his master and … his posture made it very clear. "Come any closer and I’ll take your arm off" is what this particular pose seems to say to me.