Hyacinth Macaws – 5 Questions Answered (Origin, Size, Food, Cost)

The hyacinth macaw and blue-throated macaw are both excellent choices for experienced bird owners. While they are both macaws, they come from different environments and are different in size, care needs, cost, and availability as pets. 

Hyacinth Macaws

The hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is the largest flying parrot. With its bright indigo coloring and gold markings, it’s also one of the most strikingly beautiful parrots. 

Where Do Hyacinth Macaws Live?

Populations of hyacinth macaws thrive in three major regions of South America. Some also live in Florida, probably as a result of escape or deliberate release.

Most hyacinth macaws live in the Pantanal region of Brazil and neighboring areas in northeastern Paraguay and eastern Bolivia. The eastern and eastern interior of Brazil’s Cerrado region is home to another population.

The third population lives in open areas in Brazil around tributaries, islands, or basins of the Amazon River.

Hyacinth macaws prefer to live in more open areas instead of living in the dense tropical rainforests that dominate the region. 

They live around the edges or in more open areas of rainforests, such as near rivers. They also tend to favor flooded grasslands, savannah grasslands, dry thorn forests (caatinga), woodlands, palm stands, and palm swamps. They are especially partial to the Moriche Palm.

90% of hyacinth macaws build their nests in Madhavi trees where they enlarge holes left behind by broken limbs, woodpeckers, fungi, or termites. 

How Big are Hyacinth Macaws?

The hyacinth macaw is the largest Psittacidae in the world. It is longer than any other macaw or flying parrot. 

Hyacinth macaws are 3.3 feet (100 cm) long from their head to the tip of their tail. 

The hyacinth macaw weighs 2.6-3.7 pounds (1.2-1.7 kg). The only parrot that outweighs the hyacinth macaw is New Zealand’s flightless kakapo parrot. 

Each wing is 15.3-16.7 inches long (38.9-42.4 cm). Thus, their wingspan is up to 4 feet (1.2 meters).

What Do Hyacinth Macaws Eat?

Hyacinth macaws have strong beaks, which are perfect for cracking into their favorite foods like brazil nuts, macadamias, and coconuts.

Most of their diet consists of nuts from native Brazilian palm trees like the acuri and bocaiuva palms. 

Unlike human tongues, bird tongues have bones inside that help them break down harder foods.

However, the nut from the acuri palm is so hard that the bird depends on eating them after they’ve been processed through the dung of cattle and other wild animals. 

Not all the bird’s favorite nuts (especially cow-processed acuri nuts) are easy to find. Luckily, they also like to eat fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and store-bought pellets specifically for macaws. 

Hyacinth macaws are notorious tool users. They can use a piece of wood to help manipulate and open a nut or a piece of chewed leaf to prevent a nut from slipping while they open it.

Can You Own a Hyacinth Macaw As a Pet?

The hyacinth macaw has become an endangered species as a result of the bird trade, natives who hunt the bird for meat and feathers, and their diminishing habitat. 

Fortunately, the Hyacinth macaw has made a comeback in the last 20 years, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently upgraded the bird’s status to “vulnerable,” while the US Fish and Wildlife Service lists them as “threatened.”

Today, only 4300 or so of these birds live in the wild, so buying and selling hyacinth macaws that were caught in the wild is illegal. 

Owning a hyacinth macaw as a pet is possible. However, only hyacinth macaws that are born in captivity are legal to purchase. 

Hyacinth macaws are known to be hard to breed in captivity. Most eggs laid in captivity remain unfertilized, or the embryos die.

As a result, hyacinth macaws are scarce, expensive, and often smuggled out of the wild illegally (usually as eggs). 

How Much Do Hyacinth Macaws Cost?

Because hyacinth macaws are difficult to breed in captivity and are high in demand, they usually cost at least $10,000. Some breeders charge several times as much.  

However, owners are happy to pay the price for these highly intelligent “gentle giants.”

Hyacinth macaws are not usually available in pet stores. Because they can be challenging to care for, there is a possibility of finding them available from animal rescue organizations for a reduced cost. 

When considering the cost of owning a hyacinth macaw, it’s worth noting that they need a great deal of space.

Owners need a destruction-free 6×12 feet (or larger) cage specially made for them. Expect to spend $1000+ for a cage or to dedicate a whole room to them.

Their food can be expensive and, because of their powerful beaks, they go through toys quickly. Thus, you can expect to spend at least $95-$140 monthly for their food and toys. 

However, you should also budget for regular vet visits at $100-$200 per visit and emergencies.