Macaws are one of the largest parrot species in the world.
Confusingly, some macaws are known as minis because they’re a smaller version of their larger cousins. So, what’s the smallest macaw species, and what’s the biggest?
The world’s biggest macaw is the hyacinth, measuring 40 inches, and the red-and-green and great green macaw comes next.
The smallest macaw is the Hahn’s macaw, which grows to 14 inches. Yellow-collared and blue-headed macaws are also small parrots.
A macaw is considered mini if it’s less than 20 inches long.
What Is The Size of A Macaw?
Despite being part of the same family, the size and weight of macaws vary.
Here’s a macaw size comparison chart:
|Macaw Species||Average Size||Average Wingspan||Average Weight|
|Hyacinth Macaw||40 inches||48 inches||1.2 to 1.7 kg|
|Red-And-Green Macaw||35 to 37 inches||41 to 49 inches||1.1 to 1.7 kg|
|Great Green Macaw||33.5 to 35.5 inches||44 to 50 inches||1.3 kg|
|Blue-And-Gold Macaw||30 to 36 inches||41 to 45 inches||900 g to 1.2 kg|
|Hybrid Macaw||33 to 35.5 inches||40 inches||900 to 910 g|
|Blue-Throated Macaw||33 to 35 inches||36 inches||900 to 1.1 kg|
|Scarlet Macaw||32 inches||36 inches||900 to 1 kg|
|Lear’s Macaw||28 to 30 inches||40 inches||950 g|
|Military Macaw||27.5 to 33.5 inches||40 inches||900 to 1.1 kg|
|Spix Macaw||22 inches||25 inches||300 g|
|Red-Fronted Macaw||21.5 to 23.5 inches||32 inches||500 to 525 g|
|Red-Bellied Macaw||18 inches||Unknown||300 g|
|Severe Macaw||17.5 to 19.5 inches||Unknown||300 to 410 g|
|Illiger’s Macaw||14 to 17 inches||Unknown||260 to 280 g|
|Blue-Headed Macaw||16 inches||Unknown||207 to 294 g|
|Yellow-Collared Macaw||15 inches||Unknown||250 to 280 g|
|Hahn’s Macaw||12 to 14 inches||6 to 8 inches||140 to 165 g|
Biggest To Smallest Macaw Parrots
From biggest to smallest, here’s the length and weight of each macaw:
As described by the Manual of Exotic Pet Practice, the hyacinth macaw is the largest in the macaw species, making it the world’s biggest macaw (and the biggest blue macaw.)
The average hyacinth macaw measures 40 inches from the top of its head to the tip of the tail. It also has a wingspan of 48 inches and weighs 1.2 to 1.7 kg, making it one of the heaviest parrots and the biggest.
A large proportion of its height comes from its massive tail, which is long and pointed. The tail feathers alone reach between 19 to 24 inches.
As the biggest type of macaw, hyacinth macaws are rarely seen in captivity, as most standard cages are too small to house them comfortably.
Similarly, the average house doesn’t offer enough room for hyacinth macaws to exercise and stretch their wings. They also live for up to 60 years, making them a long-term commitment.
Due to deforestation, hyacinth macaws are a threatened species, with their numbers dwindling.
Red-and-green macaws are only second in size to hyacinth macaws.
On average, they reach 35 to 37 inches, with a wingspan of 41 to 49 inches, depending on their size. Surprisingly, they’re slightly lighter than great green macaws, weighing 1.1 to 1.7 kg.
Like the hyacinth macaw, red-and-green macaws don’t make good pets unless you can dedicate sufficient time to looking after the equivalent of a young child.
Similarly, their powerful beaks can destroy household items and hurt your hands and fingers. That said, red-and-green macaws are known as “gentle giants” due to their sweet and loving nature.
Because of their size, red-and-green macaws are difficult for owners to restrain. They’re strong birds who require lots of room, which most standard cages don’t provide.
A pet red-and-green macaw will need a stainless steel cage with solid bars they can’t chew through.
Great Green Macaw
Also known as the Buffon’s macaw or the great military macaw, the great green macaw is the world’s third-biggest macaw species. They reach 33.5 to 35.5 inches with a wingspan of 44 to 50 inches.
They’re also the second heaviest macaw after the hyacinth macaw, weighing around 1.3 kg.
Despite their size, their tails are much shorter than other macaws.
Great green macaws are also commonly mistaken for military macaws because they share similar markings and colorings – and they’re both referred to as a “military” bird, which adds to the confusion.
However, great green macaws are much larger than military parrots.
Even though great green macaws are large, they make affectionate pets. They’re also among the friendliest macaw species, even during the breeding phase.
Blue-and-gold macaws are another large macaw species that reach average lengths of 30 to 36 inches. Their wingspan is significantly larger, measuring 41 to 45 inches.
Similarly, they’re relatively heavy, weighing between 900 g to 1.2 kg. Females have slightly smaller measurements than males, making it possible to tell them apart.
Not only are blue-and-gold macaws physically large, but they’re also larger than life in voice and attitude. They enjoy listening to themselves, so they make lots of noise. However, they’re also popular pets due to their loving, sensitive nature.
When keeping one as a pet, they need the largest cage you can find. Otherwise, they become stressed and agitated due to the cramped conditions.
They also need access to a large room that allows them to fly freely, stretching their wings and exercising their lungs and air sacs to prevent physical and behavioral problems.
Hybrid macaws have been bred from two different macaw species. The practice is controversial because some owners believe it muddies the parent parrots’ pure bloodlines.
However, the argument for macaw hybridization is that it makes them less prone to diseases and creates a unique plumage color you don’t see in wild macaws.
While hybrid macaws vary in size and weight, the largest cross-breeds measure 33 to 35.5 inches, with an approximate wingspan of 40 inches. Similarly, they can weigh between 900 to 910 grams.
Hybrid macaw species include the following:
- Maui Sunrise
- Maui Sunset
The blue-throated macaw measures 33 to 35 inches, with a wingspan of 36 inches. Males weigh approximately 900 to 1.1 kg, but females can be slightly smaller and lighter.
Unlike many other macaws, blue-throated parrots are relatively quiet, only vocalizing when startled or alarmed. While their quietness is suited to apartment living, they need the largest cage possible.
Due to predation, nesting competition, and indigenous hunting, only 50 to 250 blue-throated macaws remain. However, scientists are unsure where all blue-throated macaw habitats are located.
As explained by Bird Conservation International, blue-throated macaws are critically endangered. However, conservation efforts have had a positive impact on increasing their numbers.
On average, scarlet macaws are 32 inches long and weigh 900 g and 1 kg, while their wings reach 36 inches. They also have longer, more pointed tails than most other macaws.
Scarlet macaws are one of the most distinctive macaw species due to their bright red feathers. They also have light blue feathers on the rump and tail, yellow feathers on the upper wings, and dark blue feathers on the wings and tail end. The tail flight feathers have a gold tint.
Scarlet macaws are commonly mistaken for green-winged macaws because they have similar plumage colors. They’re also a similar size, although scarlet macaws are slightly smaller.
In the wild, scarlet macaws are found in flocks at Peruvian salt licks, where they ingest the clay from gigantic red walls. It’s thought that clay protects parrots from toxins and provides sodium and calcium when missing from a parrot’s diet.
The Lear’s macaw is a rare, distinctive all-blue parrot that lives in restricted regions of Brazil.
It’s a large parrot measuring between 28 to 30 inches and boasts an enormous wingspan of 40 inches. It’s also relatively heavy, weighing in at 950 grams.
Lear’s macaws are often mistaken for hyacinth macaws due to their similar vivid blue coloration. However, as mentioned, hyacinth macaws are much bigger.
The yellow skin patches at the base of their beaks can identify Lear’s macaws.
Lear’s macaws eat up to 350 nuts daily in the wild, providing them ample energy. Most macaws need more fat and oil in their diet than other parrot species because they’re more active. This would make them obese in captivity, but Lear’s macaws are rarely seen as pets.
They crack hard nuts and seeds open with their large, strong beaks. Despite their large size and weight, they can fly at speeds up to 35 mph.
The military macaw gets its name from its green plumage, which looks like a military parade uniform.
The military macaw grows to 27.5 inches in length but can sometimes reach 33.5 inches with a wingspan of 40 inches. While it’s not the largest macaw, it’s heavy, weighing between 900 to 1.1 kg.
Like many macaw species, males are usually larger than females.
Unfortunately, according to Sage Journals, military macaws are a globally threatened species.
Spix macaws are a small blue macaw species reaching 22 inches on average, with a wingspan of 25 inches and a weight of 300 g, making them lightweight parrots.
So, Spix macaws are medium-sized parrots and the smallest blue macaws.
Spix macaws are instantly recognizable due to their small stature and bright blue plumage. Also, they have bare grey facial skin around the eyes and nostrils.
Males and females look the same, but males weigh 318 g, while females weigh 288 g.
The Spix macaw is extinct in the wild. However, the Brazilian Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) has plans to breed military macaws and release them when ready.
In terms of size, the red-fronted macaw is medium-sized.
Red-fronted macaws are relatively short and stocky, reaching an average size of 21.5 to 23.5 inches. They also have a wingspan of 32 inches and a modest weight of 500 to 525 grams.
Red-fronted macaws are large macaws. This doesn’t mean they’re big; it just means that they’re not part of the mini macaw family. Red-fronted macaws are the smallest of the large macaws.
However, because they’re only 24 inches long, they’re not far off the average size of most mini macaws.
While red-fronted macaws aren’t common in the wild due to habitat destruction, pesticide ingestion, and illegal trapping for the pet market, they’re readily available as pets.
In captivity, they’re curious birds who love climbing and exploring. Most medium-sized cages are suitable, and the average home offers enough room for them to stretch their legs and wings.
Although small, the red-bellied macaw is the largest of the mini macaws.
It’s a small green macaw with a red-maroon belly that can be hard to see from a distance. They also have bright yellow facial skin, which gives red-bellied macaws their distinctive appearance.
Most red-bellied macaws reach 18 inches in length, including the tail, and weigh 300 g. Males are larger and are distinguished from females by their bigger heads.
Due to their manageable size, they’ve been relentlessly hunted and captured for the pet trade. However, they’re not easy to look after in captivity because they eat clay and palm tree seeds.
Their full diet is a bit of a mystery, which is why many owners fail to give them the food they need, causing them to experience nutritional deficiencies.
Also known as the chestnut-fronted macaw, severe macaws are one of the larger mini macaws. However, they’re considered medium-sized parrots.
Severe macaws average 17.5 to 19.5 inches in length; half of this is made up of their tail, which is particularly long compared to the rest of their body.
Although they’re lightweight birds, they have an extensive weight range, varying from 300 to 410 grams.
Severe parrots look similar to military macaws. They have a green body and head with blue and orange feathers at the front of their wings.
Interestingly, it’s one of the only small parrot species with black feather lines in the bare patches surrounding the eyes, which is one of their defining features.
Unfortunately, they’re known as “severe” parrots because they can become aggressive, especially during puberty. So, owners need to train them out of this behavior.
Illiger’s macaws (also known as the blue-winged macaw) have an average length of 14 to 17 inches and a weight of 260 to 280 grams, making them one of the smallest and lightest macaws.
Illiger’s macaws are entirely green, with darker green feathers around the top of their heads. You’ll find a mixture of yellow, orange, and blue feathers that vary in location throughout the body.
Illiger’s macaws are loud and vocal. Despite their small stature, they’re not suited to apartment living.
Although smaller than other macaws, they need room to move around and fly. So, you’ll need a large cage to prevent an Illiger’s macaw from feeling cramped. Otherwise, it’ll become destructive.
Illiger’s macaws eat a higher fat diet than most other macaws, despite being smaller. They’re active birds who burn lots of calories, which they get from palm nuts.
The blue-headed macaw is 16 inches long and weighs 207 to 294 g, making it one of the lightest macaws.
Both males and females are considered medium-sized parrots. However, their tails are much longer than other macaws, making up a considerable part of their size.
They have a disproportionately large beak that’s also strong and heavy.
All blue-headed macaws are vivid green throughout the body with a blue head, and their flight feathers and primary coverts are also blue. Blue-headed macaws are among the rarer species.
Yellow-collared macaws are the second smallest macaw species, measuring 15 inches and weighing 250 to 280 g. Almost half of their length is made up of their tail feathers.
While they’re a little weightier than blue-headed macaws, they’re one of the lightest macaws.
As the name suggests, yellow-collared macaws are mostly bright green, with a thin yellow band around the neck. They’re similar in appearance to military macaws.
Yellow-collared macaws are active birds with lots of energy, so they’ll need a large cage.
According to the American Federation of Aviculture, Hahn’s macaws are the world’s smallest macaw parrot. Hahn’s macaws are also known as the red-shouldered macaw because of the red feathers on their shoulder and the mini macaw due to their tiny size.
They reach 12 to 14 inches and 140 to 165 g, making them small and light. So, Hahn’s macaws don’t need a large cage; the minimum size should be 34″ wide x 24″ deep x 36″ tall.
Also, don’t be fooled by their stature – their beaks are powerful and can bite through weak bars.
Although small, they scream when frightened. Again, they’re not suited to homes with close neighbors. Despite their size, Hahn’s macaws are fun birds that can entertain their owners for hours.
Macaws are one of the most intelligent and demanding parrots. Even the smallest species require high levels of care as they’re so active.