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How Long Do Macaws Live? (Here’s the Truth)

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Macaws are some of the most gorgeous birds in the entire world. They are known for their dynamic colors ranging from brilliant blue to radiant scarlet red to dark green.

A beautiful colorful macaw sitting on a tree branch.

They are also known for their magnificent size and their long life. But how long does a macaw actually live? Keep reading to find out the truth.


What Is a Macaw?

Macaws are a very popular member of the parrot family. They are classified as “king-sized” parrots while maintaining a smaller parrot’s typical characteristics.

Macaws have powerful beaks that are curved so that they can easily crush seeds. They also have long, powerful toes that they can manipulate to hold on to many objects, just like hands.

And just like regular-sized parrots, macaws love to chitchat. But unlike the smaller parrots, macaws have a very loud and distinctive squawk.

Since macaws are native to tropical regions in the Americas, especially rainforests, this blasting screech makes their presence known rather quickly.

In total, there are 17 different types of macaw parrots.

What Is the Typical Lifespan of a Macaw?

Two beautiful blue-yellow macaws sitting on a gree branch.

The lifespan of a macaw can depend on mixed factors. A macaw’s breed and its environment are significant aspects of the bird’s life.

Captive or Wild, Which Macaw Lives Longer?

Macaws that have lived their entire lives in the wild tend to live to be around 60 years old. Macaws kept as pets or in zoos or wildlife refuges tend to live only half that amount of time, typically around 30 years.

Although with good nutrition, exercise, and regular veterinary visits, a pet macaw can live up to 50 years. The oldest recorded pet macaw, named Charlie, lived to be 112 years old.

Which Species of Macaws Live the Longest?

Heredity and genes do play a role in the lifespans of different macaws. Here is a quick look at the lifespan of some popular macaws.

Military Macaw

Military macaws live in enormous flocks with stunning green coloring on their bodies and pale blue and muted yellow tail feathers. They are also easy to spot because of the colorful bright red patch on their forehead.

A military macaw’s life span is typically between 60 to 70 years, making them one of the longest-living macaws.

Red-Shouldered Macaw

Coming in as one of the more diminutive macaws, the red-shoulder macaw only attains a length of about 13 inches by adulthood, earning them the nickname of the “mini-macaw.”

Recognized by the patch of pretty red feathers on their shoulders, the red-shoulder macaw can live anywhere from 25 to 40 years in captivity.

Hyacinth Macaw

Two beautiful hyacinth macaws sitting on a tree branch.

The hyacinth macaws are enchanting all sapphire-colored macaws and typically have a lifespan of around 50 to 60 years.

Besides being recognized by the all-blue color, they also sport a bright lemon color around their eyes.

Spix’s Macaw

Also known as the little blue macaw, the Spix’s macaw is now sadly extinct in the wild. These birds are recognizable because they are the smallest of blue macaws.

The Spix’s macaw can live up to around 25 years, although some have lived well over 40 years.

Blue and Yellow Macaw

The blue and yellow macaw is one of the bigger parrots in the macaw family. They can reach over 30 inches in length quite easily.

The blue and yellow macaw’s life span is generally  30 to 35 years in the wild, but it can live for 65 to 70 years in captivity. They are easy to spot due to the showy mustard-yellow color on their underside and the striking blue hue across their backs and tops.

Scarlet Macaw

The scarlet macaw is enormous and vividly colorful, with bright hues of ruby, gold, and indigo macaw that can reach a length of 32 inches once fully grown.

These gorgeous parrots have lived up to 70 years in captivity, but on average, they live around 50 years. In the wild, they usually have a lifespan of 40 years.

What Are Some Factors That May Affect the Lifespan of a Macaw?

A close-up of a beautiful colorful macaw sitting on a tree branch.

Since macaws can live in the wild and in captivity, several factors can affect the longevity of their lifespan.


The most significant contributing factor to a macaw’s lifespan is its diet. Eating a bad diet can cause a macaw to suffer from several health issues like malnutrition, heart disease, or weakened immunity.

A healthy diet for a macaw should consist of ​​a combination of nuts, leaves, seeds, and fruits. Studies have shown that foods containing a higher level of fats help keep macaws healthier.


The environment that the macaw lives in also has a significant contributing factor to its lifespan. Wild macaw’s native habitat is in rainforests, and that ecosystem is rapidly disappearing.

As habitat encroachment pushes closer into the rainforests, the homes for these gorgeous birds disappear, pushing them to extinction already. Macaws kept as pets also face the issue that develops from environmental stress.

If the macaw is kept in too small a cage or not given enough time outside to stretch its wings, so to speak, then its health will begin to decline from the stress.

In addition, macaws are very social birds; they need interaction with other birds or people to remain healthy.

Ways To Extend the Lifespan of a Pet Macaw

There are ways to help extend the life of a captive macaw. One way is to ensure that the birdcage is the correct size.

A macaw is a large bird, and its cage should be a minimum of one and a half times larger than the macaw’s wingspan. A healthy diet and proper exercise will also go a long way to help a pet macaw live a long, happy life.

How Long Do Macaws Live? (Here’s the Truth), Final Thoughts

Two beautiful colorful macaws sitting on a tree branch.

Macaws are indeed magnificent birds with remarkable personalities and can live to a very long age. With a proper diet, good living conditions, and lots of exercise, macaws can live anywhere from 20 to 70 years of winged bliss.

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