Blue-and-yellow macaw, orBlue-and-gold macaw(Ara ararauna)
Genus – ara
These birds can reach a length of 76–86 cm (30–34 in) and weigh 0.900–1.5 kg (2–3 lb), making them some of the larger members of their family. They are vivid in appearance with bright aqua blue feathers on the top of their body except for the head, which is lime colored. The bottom, however, is a rich deep yellow/light orange. Their beak is black, as well as the feathers under their chin. Its feet are of a gray color, save for black talons. The bird has white skin, with its face having nearly no feathers beside a few black ones spaced apart from each other forming a striped pattern around the eyes. The irises are pale light yellow.
These macaws are native to Central and South America, and their range includes Venezuela south to Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and also parts of Panama.
These parrots form close-knit groups in the wild. They are gregarious and will spend time together with others in their flock, playing, bathing, and hunting for edible fruit in the forest. Macaws tend to enjoy being with their flock mates but during the breeding season they do partner off to raise their young. These birds communicate with each other by loud screaming and squawking calls. They are active during the day. When looking for food they may form small, noisy flocks in the early morning. By the middle of the day they begin looking for shade. These macaws are extremely cautious and at the merest sign of danger they take off into the air, screeching as they go.
These macaws eat mainly nuts, seeds, and fruits. Their strong beaks are used to crush seeds and break open nut shells. Sometimes they consume clay from riverbanks to help them digest toxins from unripe seeds they have eaten.
These birds form monogamous pairs and mate for life. The breeding season is from January to July and they breed every year or second year. Nests are made high up in trees, usually in holes made by other animals. 2 to 3 eggs are laid and they are incubated for 24 to 28 days. The young hatch featherless and blind, feathers beginning to develop after 10 days. Fledglings become independent within 3 months. Both males and females look after the young and are very aggressive towards intruders when protecting their family. They gain sexual maturity when they are 3 to 4 years old.
Blue-and-gold macaws can live from 30 to 35 years in the wild.They can live up to 50 years in captivity.
Like most macaws, the blue-and gold-thrives on attention from its owner and will form a strong bond with its family members. Take time to socialize these birds properly and to provide them with adequate mental stimulation; otherwise, they might resort to screaming out of boredom.
These birds require a cage that is at a minimum at least 5-feet tall and at least 3- or 4-feet wide and long. The bird needs lots of room to stretch its wings, hop and climb around, and keep itself occupied.Some owners even have a dedicated, bird-safe room. Since these birds gnaw on almost anything, remove electrical wires, jewelry, and wooden furniture.
Another consideration before you commit to getting this bird is the cost of ownership. In addition to the cost of the bird, think about the avian veterinarian bills, high-quality feed, and the accessory costs for a cage, play stand, and toys.
Captive Blue-and-gold macaws should get a varied diet consisting of as many different types of fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. The bird should also get a high-quality pelleted diet with some healthy seeds, such as flax, hemp, and chia. Avoid many nut treats; these are high in fat.
Each macaw, depending on its size, will eat about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of parrot mix and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fruit and vegetables every day. You can feed it once in the morning upon waking and at dusk before it goes to sleep. Remove all uneaten food before bedtime.
Fruits that are good to feed to macaws include apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangos, papayas, and berries. Healthy vegetables include carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and leafy greens. Never feed avocado, chocolate, or rhubarb; these foods are toxic to birds. As an occasional training treat, offer nuts like macadamias, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts.
Blue-and-gold macaws are active birds. They love to climb, swing, bounce, and chew. Owners should provide a minimum of 2 to 3 hours of playtime outside of the cage each day so that the bird can stretch and exercise its muscles.
These birds have powerful jaw muscles. Chewing and gnawing are necessary to keep their jaws healthy and in shape. Durable toys are a must, as the blue-and-gold's beak is known to be destructive. Provide bird-safe chewable toys made of leather and have extras on hand as they get destroyed.
Exploratory toys with nooks and crannies provide mental enrichment. The bird uses its big beak to investigate items. A bird gets satisfaction upon breaking things open or pulling them apart.