The blue-and-gold macaw is aptly named, with a gorgeous blue body and dark lemon-yellow chest, this is a bird that’s hard to miss. It also referred to as the blue-and-yellow macaw. This macaw has a green strip of feathers just above its black beak, and a partially naked face that will blush pink when it is excited. Its feet are dark gray or black, and it has a black “beard” of feathers just below its beak.
Want to explore more about Blue-and-Gold Macaw, Read this complete article with PK Halder.
Origin and History
In the wild, blue and gold macaws enjoy a wide range from Panama in Central America, extending into almost every country of northern South America. They have also been introduced in Puerto Rico.
Blue and golds typically live in the forests near rivers and swamps, though they can be found in a grassy savannah if it has tall trees. Most often traveling in pairs, macaws will gather in large flocks at certain times of the year or will meet up during the morning and evening hours to forage for food.
Wild blue and golds are an endangered species. Much of their population decline in the wild has been due to habitat destruction, hunting, and trapping. Sadly, before captive breeding programs, these young birds were quite often taken directly from the nest and sold for the pet trade. Many defensive parents died protecting their babies, and many young parrots did not survive.
Since 1935, the blue and golds have been bred successfully in the U.S. Breeders are readily available, and their prevalence makes them one of the more affordable large parrots.
Personality & Behaviour
Macaws are a force to be reckoned with. Everything about them is big, from their voices to their attitudes. Even the mini macaws are big … on the inside! Colorful and often raucous, they call attention to themselves even when quiet. Although, to the uninitiated, macaws seem formidable and may bluster and carry on, those who share their lives with these magnificent friends know that they contain surprisingly soft and loving hearts and sensitive natures. Macaw people adore their great friends to the very core of their being … and for good reason. It only takes one gentle kiss from their giant beaks to open the stoniest of hearts.
Blue and Gold Macaw Colors and Markings
Blue and gold macaws get their common name from their two most prominent feather colors. They typically have a green forehead, fading into a teal blue that covers the nape, back, tail, and wings. The chest and underside of the wings and belly are a bright golden yellow.
These birds have large black beaks and a black patch of feathers just underneath its beak. White patches of skin adorned with rings of tiny black feathers surround their eyes and cover much of the face.
Blue and gold macaws are monotypic, meaning there is only one bird that falls into the species. However, bird experts suggest that there are two variations or subspecies. These are the Bolivian blue and gold macaw, a larger bird with more of an actual blue coloring than the typical turquoise, and the blue-throated macaw, which has a teal blue throat instead of a black throat.
This bird is a monomorphic species, meaning males and females are barely distinguishable from each other. Many believed that the male has a flatter head, and the female has a narrower beak; the only way to prove the sex of this macaw is through surgical or genetic sexing.
Caring for a Blue and Gold Macaw
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 raucous 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.
Common Health Problems
Macaws may be long-lived birds, but, like all parrots, they are prone to a viral infection called macaw wasting syndrome and overgrown beaks.
Like other parrots, blue and golds may resort to self-mutilation by feather plucking if they feel neglected or bored.
A well-balanced diet and adequate exercise are necessary to maintain pet bird health. This bird is prone to developing nutritional disorders like obesity, fatty liver disease, and fatty tumors.
Diet and Nutrition
In the wild, most macaws, including blue-and-gold macaws, eat a variety of seeds, plant material, fruits, and nuts.
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.4 As an occasional training treat, offer nuts like macadamias, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts.