There are over 350 known parrot species, all of which are different sizes. Some are small, while others have a much larger stature. This is one of the many things that makes parrots such fascinating animals.
Growing up to 40 inches in length, the hyacinth macaw is the largest parrot in the world. At 1 meter in height, the Heracles inexpectatus is the largest parrot ever lived. It existed more than 200 million years ago.
Other large parrot species include the scarlet macaw, blue-and-yellow macaw, and the Eclectus parrot. Larger parrots have a longer life expectancy than small parrots, often surviving for several decades in captivity. Also, the biggest parrots, such as the African grey, are among the most intelligent, emotionally advanced birds.
What Is The Biggest Parrot?
The world’s largest parrot is the hyacinth macaw. Characterized by its vivid blue feathers, the hyacinth macaw reaches 40 inches in length from its head to its tail, with a wingspan of 4 feet. It weighs between 2.6 – 3.7 lbs.
The hyacinth macaw can be found in central and eastern South America. In the wild, it lives in palm swamps and woodland, preferring to avoid dense forests.
The hyacinth macaw is rare after being hunted by indigenous tribes for its meat and feathers. It’s now protected by international law, which prohibits the trade of parrots. Brazil and Paraguay also have laws in place to protect the parrot. The hyacinth macaw has a lifespan of around 60 years.
If you do acquire a hyacinth macaw, extra care and attention will be required. They’re not your standard exotic pet, so you’ll need to find a specialist breeder to get hold of one.
The hyacinth macaw will need somewhere spacious to live. As large parrots, they need more space than an average bird. Most standard cages are too small and claustrophobic. Also, their beaks are powerful. They can damage cages, so you’ll need a cage that’s made of strong stainless steel that they can’t chew through.
Failing that, let the bird have an entire room to itself. Many owners find this an easier way to house a hyacinth macaw. Unless you find a large bird cage, the parrot will feel too cramped in one that’s too small.
Like most parrots, hyacinth macaws are easy-going birds that enjoy companionship. They need social interaction to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive.
Other Large Parrot Species
Hyacinth macaws may be too large to keep as pets. While they’re beautiful, they’re best left in the wild or kept in zoos that can offer them specialist care. Here are some other big parrot types that are more manageable in captivity:
Scarlet macaws grow to 31 to 38 inches in length and weigh 32 to 39 ounces. They can live for up to 75 years in captivity.
Their feathers are vivid red with blue and yellow flashes on the wings and tail. Scarlet macaws are one of the most striking parrots in existence and are instantly recognizable.
Scarlet macaws thrive in environments with lots of room. If they’re in a cage that’s too small, they become frustrated and irritable. They may even resort to self-mutilation. Scarlet macaws are active birds, so they need large swings and toys to keep them occupied and provide exercise.
Despite their formidable size, scarlet macaws can escape from their cage. Not only do you need to choose a cage that’s large enough, but the bars can’t be too wide.
Reaching lengths of 30 to 36 inches, the blue-and-yellow macaw is one of the largest parrot breeds. They weigh between 28 and 46 ounces and live for up to 65 years in captivity. Everything about the blue-and-yellow macaw is larger than life, from their size to their attitude and voice.
They’re loud parrots and love the sound of their own voice, meaning they make lots of noise. The noise can be ear-piercing, and they often resort to screaming to get attention. However, blue-and-yellow macaws are soft and loving with sensitive natures. When nurtured, they make wonderful pets.
When finding a cage, opt for the largest one you can find. Due to their size, it might be more comfortable for the parrot to live in a secure room where it can roam and fly freely. Here’s how to care for a macaw.
The Eclectus is a large parrot that reaches 17 to 30 inches in length and 13 to 19 ounces in weight. They can live for upwards of 30 years in captivity.
These parrots are well-known for their vivid feathers. Not only are they bright and colorful, but they look like fur. The feathers are sometimes fluffy and fuzzy. Male Eclectus parrots are green, and females are red.
Eclectus parrots are gentle birds with a sweet nature. They’re good with children but don’t like too much noise. They’re also active birds and need space to move about within the cage. As large creatures, they become restless and destructive when confined in a cage that’s too small.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos grow to 15 to 20 inches in length and 12 to 31 ounces in weight. They have a lifespan of up to 70 years in captivity.
Greater sulphur-crested cockatoos are among the largest cockatoos. Lesser sulphur-crested cockatoos reach 15 inches. While they’re not as big, they’re still one of the largest parrots.
When it comes to housing your sulphur-crested cockatoo, roomy cages are required unless they’re allowed out for long periods of time. Your chosen cage should allow the parrot to expand its wings without hitting the sides.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos are an affectionate parrot species, but it takes time before they’re ready to be handled. They’re not good with children, especially those that like to stroke their pets.
Umbrella cockatoos reach lengths of 18 inches and weights of 18 to 26 ounces. With the right care, they can live for up to 60 years in captivity.
Umbrella cockatoos are affectionate pets that like a lot of attention. They love to cuddle up to their owners and become attached to them. However, they need discipline and boundaries. As fickle birds, their personalities can change quickly. One minute that can be playing, the next, they can be screaming and nipping.
They need a sturdy, well-built cage that offers plenty of space for the cockatoo to play because of their large size. If they don’t have enough room, they will become agitated and aggressive. They’re prone to picking out their feathers, so small spaces often accelerate this behavior.
Look for a cage with a top opening to a play stand. Also, ensure they can flap their wings freely inside it.
African grey parrots grow to approximately 9 to 14 inches in length and weigh between 11 to 19 ounces. A well-cared-for African grey can live for up to 80 years in captivity.
They’re one of the most recognizable parrots in the world. They also have a reputation for being one of the most intelligent. They talk in words that humans can understand and are sensitive to people’s emotions.
When keeping an African grey as a pet, you’ll need to provide plenty of toys and puzzles to keep the bird stimulated, alert, and mentally challenged.
African greys are also easily affected by stress and require a quiet spot to live in. They like their cages to be against a wall where they feel they can hide. They like to wander about in their cages.
What Is The Largest Parrot That Ever Lived?
The biggest parrot that ever lived along a river in southern New Zealand. Two fossilized bird legs were found, which provided enough DNA for the scientists to analyze its genetics.
They discovered that the bird belonged to the Psittaciformes order, which encompasses all parrot species. They also estimated the parrot to be 200 million years old.
The parrot was twice the size of its largest modern relative. It was 1 meter in height and estimated to have weighed approximately 7 kilograms. This is double the weight of the kākāpō, which is currently the world’s heaviest parrot. It’s also about as tall as the average four-year-old child.
How Big Can A Parrot Get?
Because there are so many parrot species in the order Psittaciformes, their sizes vary widely. Parrots living in captivity may not grow to their full extent, especially if they’ve been bred from captive parents. However, parrots range from 3.5 to 40 inches and weigh between 2.25 and 56 ounces.
Due to how big they look, it’s easy to over-feed larger parrots. Therefore, owners must regularly weigh their parrots to ensure they’re not putting on too much weight for their height. Also, provide larger parrots with time outside the cage to get enough exercise.
How Much Does A Big Parrot Cost?
The hyacinth macaw is the most expensive large parrot. They’re one of the most sought-after parrots globally – not only because of their size but also their beauty. The cost for one ranges between $7,000 – $40,000.
While scarlet macaws are less expensive, they still cost around $2,000 – $4,000. The price depends on where you buy one from, but you’ll only find scarlet macaws at specialty avian stores.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos range from $2,000 – $4,000 depending on the age, tameness, and the breeder’s reputation. A blue-and-gold macaw will set you back between $1,000 – $2,000.
Eclectus parrots aren’t as common as other breeds, so they reach between $1,000 – $3,000. You can find them from adoption agencies, where owners haven’t considered the difficulty of owning one. Umbrella cockatoos cost the same as the Eclectus. African greys cost around $1,000 – $1,500.
How Big Does A Parrot Cage Need To Be?
Choosing the right sized cage is one of the most important decisions. Parrots struggle in cages that are too small. In a study conducted by Conservation Physiology, it was found that many cages aren’t big enough to provide parrots with enough space for aerobic exercise, resulting in parrots developing oxidative stress that’s linked to obesity.
Experts agree that owners should get the largest cage they can afford. As a minimum requirement for big parrot breeds, they should be able to flap their wings freely. A cage that’s 36” wide, 24” deep, and 40” high is optimal.
The spaces between the bars should range between 0.75 to 1.5 inches. If space is a concern inside your home, you should consider getting a smaller parrot. As well as being the right size, consider the following factors:
- The cage should be made of sturdy materials, such as stainless steel. Parrots have strong beaks and claws that can pulverize cages that are too weak. Ensure that your parrot’s claws are the right length.
- If painted, non-toxic chemicals must be used. Chemicals such as lead, chromate, and zinc are toxic to parrots.
- The cage shouldn’t be too heavy so that you can move and clean it easily.
- It needs to have a waste tray for droppings, allowing you to move it and clean it separately.
- Take into account the perches and toys you’ll have inside the cage, as this will reduce the amount of free space.
After placing your parrot in its cage, monitor its behavior for any undesirable behaviors that may indicate the cage is too small. Signs your parrot cage is too small include:
- Self-mutilation, including feather plucking
- Screaming and screeching
- Attempts to escape the cage
- Reluctance to get back in the cage
- Excessive chewing on the bars
If you notice any of the above problems, consider whether the cage is the right size for your parrot’s needs. Give a large parrot the space it needs and give it some out-of-cage time in a safe room.