Red-shouldered Macaw Care Sheet

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Scientific Facts

Common Name:Red-shouldered Macaw, Hahn’s Macaw
Scientific Name:Diopsittaca nobilis
Life Span:Up to 30 years
Care Level:Moderate
Length:11.7 inches or 30 cm
Habitat:Lowlands, savannahs, and swamplands
Country of Origin:Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Guianas, and Venezuela

Physical Description

Red-shouldered Macaws, also called Hahn’s Macaws, are known for being the smallest type of macaws. They are primarily colored green throughout their bodies, and they also have a cap of feathers on their foreheads that are a mix of green and blue. They are distinguishable for the bright red found on the underside of their wings, hence, their nickname of being called red-shouldered.

The beak of these birds is black with a white to beige accent on the upper side. Their eyes are a seemingly burnt orange color made even more beautiful by white rings in their eyes. A little too big for their small bodies, the red-shouldered macaws have oversized black feet that make their moves nimble. Their two toes point toward the back while the other two toes point toward the point to help them climb and get their food.

Conservation Status

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The red-shouldered macaws are on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species and are classified as Least Concern. But, like many species of macaw, these birds are facing problems on the loss of their natural habitats. Though their population is still healthily numbered, scientists have been able to detect a significant decline in their number.

Availability and Natural Habitat

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The red-shouldered macaws have three distinct subspecies, which are:

  1. Hahn’s Macaw –  Diopsittaca nobilis nobilis
  2. Noble Macaw – Diopsittaca nobilis cumanensis
  3. Long-winged Macaw – Diopsittaca nobilis longipennis

They are usually found across the territories of Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, and Guyana. But, their natural habitat varies per subspecies. Hahn’s Macaw commonly occupies Northern Amazon, Northeastern Brazil, and Venezuela. The Noble Macaw is usually found in Northeastern Brazil and Southern Amazon. Lastly, the Long-winged Macaw is commonly found in Northern Bolivia, Southeastern Peru, and Central Brazil.

These birds are often found living in open-wooded habitats like plantations, open bush savannahs, forest-fringed savannahs, and palm groves. In the wild, they tend to form small communities where they stay quiet.

Behavior, Exercise, and Training

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The great thing about taking care of red-shouldered macaws is how sociable and intelligent they are. These birds respond well to training, and they enjoy various forms of mental stimulation. Teaching these macaws some tricks would be great, and new ones should be introduced continuously throughout their lives.

Though not every species of parrots are gifted to talk, red-shouldered macaws are gifted in this specific skill. With effort and patience, a red-shouldered macaw can be trained to develop an impressive vocabulary of hundreds of words. These birds are even gifted with a clear voice that humans can easily understand.

The red-shouldered macaws are also gifted in being able to fly long distances every day. When they are kept in captivity, their owners should also consider giving them some time out of their cage to walk, run, exercise, stretch, play, and fly to their heart’s content. If you want to keep your pet red-shouldered macaw healthy, at least two hours of supervised playtime out of their cage can do them much good.

With these red-shouldered macaws, it would be best to ignore their undesirable behaviors, including excessive noise, instead of hurting them by scolding. At the same time, macaw owners must make it a habit of rewarding good behavior and great moments of your little bird. Soon, this rewarding method will be picked up by your pet, and they will make it a point to please their keepers.

Food and Eating Habits

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The red-shouldered macaw must be fed with a diet that consists of a seed mix, high-quality pellets, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Feeding these birds is an enjoyable thing to watch because of how eager they are whenever they take their meals.

 These birds enjoy eating broccoli, carrots, chili peppers, squash, and dark green vegetables like spinach and kale. On the other hand, the fruits that they love eating are apples, bananas, figs, oranges, peaches, and pineapples. Just make sure that their cages are cleaned after they feed, especially on the juicy fruits that have liquid discharge that is sticky and will attract insects.

As these birds have a very varied diet, remember to introduce new foods slowly to make sure that they will appreciate all forms of food that they will eat.

Though these macaws can eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables, never feed them with avocados, chocolate, and alcoholic beverages as these are toxic to their bodies.


The breeding season of red-shouldered macaws starts during February or March and can last until June or July. If you are considering to learn how to breed these birds, you should be prepared to deal with the noise that these birds can produce. Their voices can still be carried even in distances, and if you have neighbors or housemates that are sensitive to sound, you might want to rethink this project.

The red-shouldered macaws must be provided with a breeding log that is as long as 8 inches or a nesting box with the dimensions of 8 inches by 8 inches by 24 inches.

Upon breeding, a clutch of these birds consists of about 4 to 6 eggs, and the incubation period before hatching would take about 23 to 25 days. Their young begin to fledge when they are about 2 months old, and they are independent about one week after leaving the nesting box.

Common Health Problems

Like other species of macaw, the red-shouldered macaws are prone to feather plucking, self-mutilation, nutritional disorders, overgrown beaks, and a wide variety of diseases like Macaw Wasting Syndrome. For a healthy and thriving red-shoulder macaw, make sure that their living area is clean, they have a well-balanced diet, and that they receive regular examinations with their veterinarian.

Here are some important signs that would mean that your pet red-shouldered macaw is ill:

  1. Any change in feces
  2. Bulges in feathering
  3. Difficulty breathing
  4. Dirty vent
  5. Drooping wings
  6. Excessive saliva
  7. Extreme mood changes
  8. Having no appetite
  9. Listlessness
  10. Partially closed or watery eyes
  11. Rasping
  12. Ruffled plumage
  13. Sagging body
  14. Swelling of the eyelids

The most common illnesses to watch out for are:

  1. Allergies
  2. Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
  3. Beak malformations in chicks
  4. Chewing flight and tail feathers by juveniles
  5. Chlamydiosis or parrot fever
  6. Feather picking
  7. Heavy Metal Poisoning
  8. Kidney disease and Gout
  9. Lipomas in older birds
  10. Macaw Wasting Disease
  11. Papillomas
  12. Proventricular Dilation disease
  13. Psittacosis


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The red-shouldered macaw adapts quickly with being handled by their owners. Once they have adapted to their new environment as well as being well-acquainted with their owners, these birds will be ready to begin their training. But, generally, a new red-shouldered macaw owner must first wait several days to let your bird get used to your presence, your voice, and their new cage before trying to handle it.

If you purchase a hand-fed baby, on the other hand, you will not need too much time to handle adjustments as they are already used to attention from humans.

Like other parrot species, taming and training red-shouldered macaws require patience and trust. They are very intelligent species, though, so the journey will reap great rewards. They excel perfectly with being given small tasks and learning new tricks.

Environment and Housing

Red-shouldered macaws require a spacious place to live in that is at least as big as 2 ½ feet by 3 feet for them to get ample space. In spite of this, it is still imperative for macaw owners to give their pets at least 2 to 3 hours a day to roam around freely. As a cage alternative, red-shoulder macaws can also be raised in outdoor aviaries, if the climate permits.

In their cage, the red-shouldered macaws must have a sturdy perch. They should also be provided with a playpen. The birds would also appreciate a large variety of chew toys and natural branches for them to chew on. Furthermore, itis essential to place fresh fruit tree branches on their living area with occasional replacements so that everything stays clean. Finally, their cage must also have a food dish, a water dish, and a treat dish for their training sessions.

For their leisure and recreation, a red-shouldered macaw cage must also have a playpen.

Fun Facts about the Red-shouldered Macaw

The red-shouldered macaw has two main subspecies: the Hahn’s macaw and the noble macaw.

  1. The scientific name of the red-shouldered macaw is Diopsittaca nobilis.
  2. The red-shouldered macaw got its namesake because of the red coverts found within its wings.
  3. The red-shouldered macaw is the smallest bird of its kind.
  4. Red-shouldered macaws are a favorite among birds that are bred in captivity. Some breeders call them mini-macaws.
  5. The red-shouldered macaws have green feathers, and the unique red feathers appear when they reach the age of puberty.
  6. The red-shouldered macaws prefer to nest their eggs inside a hole in a tree, with about three or four white eggs in a clutch.

Where Can You Get a Pet Red-shouldered Macaw?

If you are interested in getting a pet red-shouldered macaw to care for, there are several options available for you. First, you can work with a reputable seed breeder, as recommended by other bird-owning friends in your area. You can also visit a pet store and check out if they sell healthy birds and if the birds are treated well under their supervision. Lastly, you can also visit animal shelters and bird shelters and check out if there are macaws that are looking for people to adopt them.

How to Care for a Pet Red-shouldered Macaw?

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Just like the bigger macaws in their family, the red-shouldered macaws require the same dietary, exercise, and social requirements that come with all birds in the macaw family. If you are interested in owning these types of birds, you should make sure that you will be able to meet the time to bond with these birds and train them.

These birds have unique personalities, and they really do demand time from their owners, or else they would become destructive, angry, and petty. This behavior will just lead to owner frustration, sore fingers, and destroyed property.

Additionally, if owners neglect to spend time with these birds, and they feel that they are ignored, the red-shouldered macaw can become depressed. When under depression, these birds can self-mutilate and pluck their own feathers, which will lead to serious health problems.

Another important part of being a red-shouldered macaw owner is its continuously growing list of expenses. These birds regularly require veterinarian check-ups, quality bird feed, toys, housing, and décor. If you think that you do not have the ability to give these birds the best of everything they need, consider putting off adopting one for now and go for a different pet that would require lower maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a red-shouldered macaw cost?

Red-shouldered macaws are available for 800 dollars to 1,200 dollars, more or less.

Do red-shouldered macaws make good pets?

The red-shouldered macaws are more easily trained compared to larger species, and they are often made as pets in comparison to other birds.

How long do red-shouldered macaws live?

Red-shoulder macaws live for about 30 years on average, but there are individuals that are reported to live as long as 50 years.

Can red-shouldered macaws talk?

Red-shouldered macaws can mimic human speech and can be taught different sets of words and phrases.

Do red-shouldered macaws bite?

Red-shouldered macaws have colorful personalities, and they can bite when angered. Their bites can hurt, and the affected area can feel tender for quite a while.

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