They are very intelligent and social birds that bond very closely to owners!
This species occurs in Venezuela and south to Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The range extends slightly into Central America, where it is restricted to Panama. The species’ range formerly included Trinidad, but it became extinct there by 1970 as a result of human activities. Between 1999 and 2003, wild caught blue-and-gold macaws were translocated from Guyana to Trinidad, in an attempt to reestablish the species in a protected area around Nariva swamp.
These birds can reach 76 to 86 cm (30 to 34 in) long and weigh 900 to 1500 grams (1.9 to 3.3 lbs), making it one of the larger members of its family. They are vivid in appearance with blue wings and tail, dark blue chin, golden under parts, and a green forehead. Beaks are black. The naked face is white, turning pink in excited birds, and lined with small black feathers. Blue-and-yellow macaws live from 30 to 35 years in the wild and reach sexual maturity between the ages of 3 and 6 years.
There is little variation in plumage across the range. Some birds have a more orange or “butterscotch” underside color, particularly on the breast. This was often seen in Trinidad birds and others of the Caribbean area. The blue-and-yellow macaw uses its powerful beak for breaking nutshells, and also for climbing up and hanging from trees.
HOUSING AND CARE
Blue-and-yellow macaws are popular as pets because of their vivid appearance and ability as a talking bird; however, their large size makes accommodation problematic, and they tend to require more effort and knowledge from owners than more traditional pets such as cats or dogs. They are very intelligent and social birds that bond very closely to owners, however, so for people who are able to provide for their needs, they make great and loving companion parrots.
Even the most well-tended blue-and-yellow macaw will “scream” and make other loud noises. Loud vocalizations, especially “flock calls”, and destructive chewing are natural parts of their behavior and should be expected in captivity. Due to their large size, they also require plentiful space in which to fly around. According to World Parrot Trust, an enclosure for a blue-and-yellow macaw should, if possible, be at least 50 feet (15 metres) in length. Given their intelligence, blue-and-yellow macaws can be taught to do tricks once they have gained enough trust from their owners.
They require a varied diet; a seed only diet will lead to health problems such as vitamin deficiency. An example of a good diet would be a quality pelleted mix, in conjunction with a mix featuring seed, nuts, and dried fruits, with fresh vegetables (greens and roots) and fruits fed regularly; furthermore, it is quite common (and appreciated by the parrot) to partake with their human owners of safe foods like pasta, bread, etc. It is important to avoid foods with high fat content (generally) while striving to provide a wide variety of foods. There are some foods which are toxic to birds and parrots as a group. Cherries and most other Rosaceae pits and seeds, avocados, chocolate, and caffeine are among the foods toxic to parrots. Chocolate and caffeine are not metabolized by birds the same way they are in humans. Rosaceae seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, and avocados contain persin which are both toxic compounds to birds. Safe foods include oranges, apples, grapes, peanuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.