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. This is followed by the red-and-green and great green macaw.
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 classed as 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 so that you can see the different macaw sizes and weights side by side:
|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
Despite misconceptions, not all macaws are large birds. In fact, many mini macaws are amongst some of the world’s smallest macaw breeds. This is what makes them such an interesting parrot species.
In order of biggest first to smallest, here’s more information about the length and weight of each macaw species:
As described by the Manual of Exotic Pet Practice, the hyacinth macaw is the largest of the macaw species, making it both the world’s biggest macaw and the biggest blue macaw.
The average hyacinth macaw measures 40 inches from the top of the head to the tip of the tail. It also has a wingspan of 48 inches and weighs between 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 in length.
As the biggest type of macaw, hyacinth macaws are rarely seen in captivity. Most standard cages are too small to house the bird 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, so they’re a long-term commitment.
Due to deforestation, hyacinth macaws are a threatened species, with their numbers rapidly dwindling.
Red-and-green macaws are only second in size to hyacinth macaws. On average, they reach 35 to 37 inches in length, with a wingspan of 41 to 49 inches, depending on their overall size. Surprisingly, they’re slightly lighter than great green macaws, weighing in at 1.1 to 1.7 kg.
Like the hyacinth macaw, red-and-green macaws don’t make great pets unless you’re able to dedicate time to looking after the equivalent of a young child.
Similarly, their large beaks are very powerful and can easily destroy household items, as well as hurting your hands and fingers. That being said, red-and-green macaws are known as a “gentle giant” in the avian world for their sweet and loving nature.
Because of their size, red-and-green macaws are also difficult for parrot owners to restrain. They’re strong birds who require lots of room, which most standard parrot cages don’t provide. If you have a pet red-and-green macaw, you’ll need a stainless steel cage with solid bars they can’t chew through.
Great Green Macaw
Also known as the Buffon’s macaw and the great military macaw, the great green macaw is the world’s third-biggest macaw species. They reach between 33.5 to 35.5 inches in length and boast an expansive wingspan of 44 to 50 inches.
They’re also the second heaviest macaw after the hyacinth macaw, weighing around 1.3 kg on average, making them a huge parrot.
Despite their size, their tails are much shorter than other macaws. Great green macaws are also commonly mistaken for military macaws. That’s because they share similar markings and colorings – and not to mention 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 surprisingly affectionate and docile pets. They’re also known to be one of the friendliest macaw species, even when they’re in the breeding phase.
Reaching average lengths of 30 to 36 inches, blue-and-gold macaws are another large macaw species. Their wingspan is significantly larger, measuring between 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 big, but they’re also larger than life in voice and attitude. They enjoy listening to the sound of their own voice and, as such, make lots of noise. However, they’re also popular pets because of 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 to prevent physical and behavioral problems.
Hybrid macaws are parrots that have been bred from two different macaw species. The practice is controversial because some owners believe that it muddies the parent parrots’ pure bloodlines.
However, the argument for macaw hybridization is that it makes them less prone to harmful diseases than the species they’re bred from. It also creates a unique plumage coloration you don’t see with wild macaws.
While hybrid macaws vary in size and weight, the largest cross-breeds measure between 33 and 35.5 inches, with an approximate wingspan of 40 inches. Similarly, they can weigh between 900 to 910 grams. When two large macaws breed, their offspring are likely to be just as big. Hybrid macaw species include:
- Maui Sunrise
- Maui Sunset
The blue-throated macaw is another large parrot, measuring between 33 and 35 inches, with a wingspan of 36 inches. They weigh approximately 900 to 1.1 kg. Females can be slightly smaller and lighter.
Unlike many other macaws, blue-throated parrots are relatively quiet and docile. They only really vocalize when they’re startled or alarmed. While their quietness is suited to apartment living, they need the largest cage available, so they may not fit inside a small home.
Due to predation, nesting competition, and indigenous hunting, only around 50 to 250 blue-throated macaws are left in the wild. This number is only an estimate, as scientists aren’t sure where all blue-throated macaw habitats are located.
Similarly, they’ve also been relentlessly captured for the pet trade, where their numbers are thankfully far larger.
As a result, they’re now critically endangered, as described by Bird Conservation International. However, conservation efforts have had a positive impact on increasing the number of blue-throated macaws.
On average, scarlet macaws are 32 inches long, making them another large macaw species. They typically weigh between 900 g and 1 kg, while their wings reach 36 inches. They also have a long, pointed tail that’s larger than most other macaws.
Scarlet macaws are one of the most distinctive macaw species, thanks 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. That’s because they have a similar plumage coloration. They’re also a similar size, though scarlet macaws are slightly smaller.
In the wild, scarlet macaws are often found in flocks at Peruvian salts 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 because of their similar vivid blue coloration. However, as we’ve already determined, hyacinth macaws are much bigger. Lear’s macaws can be identified by the yellow skin patches at the base of their beaks.
Lear’s macaws eat up to 350 nuts a day in the wild, providing them with all the energy they need to forage. Most macaws need more fat and oil in their diet than other parrot species because they’re more active. In captivity, this would make them obese. Though, Lear’s macaws are rarely seen as pets.
They crack hard nuts and seeds open with their large, strong beaks. And, despite their large size and weight, they’re able to fly at quick speeds of up to 35 mph.
The military macaw is the biggest medium-sized macaw species. However, in the wider parrot world, it’s considered a large bird.
It typically grows to 27.5 inches in length, but it can sometimes grow up to 33.5 inches. It also has a wingspan of 40 inches. While it’s not the largest macaw, it’s heavy, weighing between 900 to 1.1 kg. Similar to many macaw species, males are usually larger than females.
The parrot gets its name from its green plumage, as it looks like a military parade uniform. Unfortunately, according to a paper published on Sage Journals, military macaws are a globally threatened species.
While military macaw pets don’t take up as much room as their larger cousins, they’re noisy birds who scream a lot. As a result, they’re not suitable for living in apartments and condos, as they’ll disturb your neighbors.
Spix macaws and red-fronted macaws are very similar in size. Spix’s are a small blue macaw species reaching 22 inches on average, with a wingspan of 25 inches and weight of 300 g, making them a lightweight parrot.
As a result, spix macaws are a medium-sized parrot that’s smaller than most large macaws. It’s also the smallest of the blue macaws.
Spix macaws are instantly recognizable because of their small stature and bright blue plumage. They also have bare grey facial skin around the eyes and nostrils. Males and females look the same, but males weigh approximately 318 g, while females are smaller at 288 g.
Sadly, the spix macaw is extinct in the wild. However, the Brazilian Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) has plans to breed the bird. It will introduce them to the wild as soon as restored habits are available.
When it comes to size, the red-fronted macaw is considered a medium macaw. They’re a very similar size to the spix macaw.
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. In fact, 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, ingestion of pesticides, 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.
While 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 roughly 300 g. Males are larger and are distinguished from the females by their bigger heads.
Because of 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 have specific dietary requirements. They typically 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 suffer from several diet-related health conditions and nutritional deficiencies. They either lose weight or become too fat.
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 between 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. While 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 to have black feathers lines in the bare patches surrounding the eyes. This is one of the parrot’s most defining features.
Unfortunately, they’re known as “severe” parrots because they can become aggressive, especially during puberty. As a result, owners need to train this behavior out of them.
Illiger’s macaws are also known as the blue-winged macaw. They 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 from parrot to parrot throughout the body.
Similar to many macaw species, Illiger’s are loud and vocal. Despite their small stature, they’re not suited to apartments.
Similarly, though they’re smaller than other macaws, they need lots of room to move around in. They also need to fly. As a result, you’ll need to get the largest cage you can find to prevent your Illiger’s macaw from feeling cramped. Otherwise, it’ll become destructive.
Illiger’s eat a higher-fat diet than most other macaws, despite the fact they’re smaller. That’s because they’re highly active birds who burn lots of calories, so they need plenty of energy. They get this through oily palm nuts.
The blue-headed macaw is only 16 inches long. On average, it weighs between 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 also have a disproportionately large beak that’s also strong and heavy.
Interestingly, juvenile blue-headed macaws resemble fully-grown adults. The only difference is that they’re slightly smaller. All blue-headed macaws are vivid green throughout the body with a blue head. The flight feathers and primary coverts are also blue.
Blue-headed macaws are one of the rarer species, so they’re not very easy to find in captivity.
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 make popular pets because of their small stature. This makes them relatively easy to care for.
However, like all other macaws, they need a large enough cage that allows them to move about comfortably. Yellow-collared macaws are active birds with lots of energy, so they’ll need a large cage. As a rule of thumb, they need enough space to be able to hop between two perches.
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 a miniature 12 to 14 inches in length and 140 to 165 g in weight, making them incredibly small and light. For that reason, 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 flimsy cage bars with ease.
While they’re super small, they’re noisy and scream whenever they’re frightened. Again, they’re not suited to homes with neighbors too close. Despite their size, Hahn’s macaws have tones of personality and 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. Without the right high-fat, high-energy diet to sustain them, they’re at risk of obesity and aggression. Only the most experienced owners should consider getting a macaw as a pet.