Macaws are one of the most popular types of parrots that are kept as pets, and like all animals, there are many pros and cons of owning macaws as pets. Macaws can be very affectionate birds, especially when bred in captivity and hand-fed by humans. They are also intelligent, and can be quite entertaining. On the other hand, macaws are very loud, require a good amount of attention, and can be destructive, especially when they are bored or lonely.
One of the greatest pros of owning macaws as pets is their level of intelligence. They are among the best talkers in the parrot order, and their antics can be highly entertaining to their owners. While macaws can learn to mimic speech and sounds simply by listening to those around them, training them to speak on command is a little trickier. Bored macaws can be extremely loud, to the point where nearby neighbors may complain.
Macaws as pets can also be very affectionate towards their owners. They typically tend to form the strongest bond with one person, but if everyone in the family works with them, they will be affectionate towards others. The earlier the bird is socialized, the better it will behave around people. Wild-caught macaws, which are illegal in most places, are harder to socialize than those bred in captivity.
In general, macaws are not afraid of people. While this is a large pro for macaws as pets, it can also be a con, as since they re not naturally scared of humans, they have no qualms about biting if they feel threatened. Macaws have massive, sharp beaks that can be harmful, especially to a child. Owners should instruct children to keep their hands out of the birds’ cages, and closely monitor any interaction between parrots and children. Until a macaw becomes familiar with its owners, it is also best to avoid allowing the bird to perch on shoulders or close to the face.
Those large beaks can also do a fair amount of damage throughout the home, especially if the bird is craving attention. Macaws as pets require a fair amount of interaction with their owners, and when left on their own, they may chew anything they can reach, including wallpaper, tables, and even chunks of the wall itself. Cages should be kept several feet away from the wall. Macaws that are allowed out of their cages regularly should be monitored closely.
Macaws as pets typically have a very long lifespan similar to that of a human, which can be both a pro and a con. On the pro side, owners will have many years together with their pet. On the con side, the birds can often outlive their owners, so arrangements need to be made to determine who will care for the macaw after the owner has passed away.