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What Is The Biggest Parrot? (Largest Ever vs. Alive Now)

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2023)

There are about 400 parrot species, all of which are different sizes. Some are relatively small, while others have a much larger physical stature.

Larger parrots have a longer life expectancy. Also, bigger parrots like macaws and African greys are among the most intelligent, emotionally advanced birds.

What Is The Largest Parrot That Ever Lived?

The Heracles inexpectatus is the biggest parrot that ever lived.

It made its home 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 believe that the parrot was about 200 million years old. 

The Heracles inexpectatus was twice the size of its largest modern relative.

It was 1 meter in height and estimated to have weighed 7 kilograms. This is double the weight of the kākāpō, the world’s heaviest parrot, and as tall as the average 4-year-old child.

What Is The Largest Breed of Parrot?

The world’s largest parrot is the hyacinth macaw, which is characterized by vivid blue feathers. They’re 40 inches long from head to tail, have a wingspan of 4 feet, and weigh 2.6-3.7 lbs.

The hyacinth macaw can be found in central and eastern South America. In the wild, they live in palm swamps and woodland, preferring to avoid dense forests.

Hyacinth macaws are rare due to being hunted by indigenous tribes for their meat and feathers. They’re now protected by international law, which prohibits the trade of parrots.

The hyacinth macaw has an average lifespan of 50-60 years.

what is the largest member of the parrot family?

Other Large Parrot Species

Hyacinth macaws are usually too large to be kept as pets. While beautiful, they’re best left in the wild or kept in zoos offering specialized care and attention.

Here are some other big parrots that are better suited for captivity:

Scarlet Macaws

Scarlet macaws grow to 31 to 38 inches and weigh 32 to 39 ounces.

Their feathers are vivid red with blue and yellow flashes on the wings and tail. Scarlet macaws are among the most striking parrots and are instantly recognizable.

Scarlet macaws are active birds that thrive in environments with lots of space. They’ll become frustrated and irritable if they’re in a too-small cage, perhaps resorting to self-mutilation.

They can live for 40-50 years in captivity.

scarlet macaw

Blue-and-Yellow Macaws

Reaching 30 to 36 inches, the blue-and-yellow macaw is one of the largest parrot breeds.

They weigh between 28 and 46 ounces and can survive as pets for 30-35 years. Everything about blue-and-yellow macaws is larger than life, from their size to their attitude and voice.

They’re loud parrots; their noise can be ear-piercing, and they often scream to get attention. However, blue-and-yellow macaws are soft and loving with sensitive natures.

When finding a cage, opt for the largest one you can find. Due to their size, blue-and-yellow macaws might be more comfortable living in a secure room where they can roam and fly freely.

Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

Eclectus Parrots

The Eclectus is a large parrot that reaches 17-30 inches long and weighs 13-19 ounces.

They’re 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, while females are red.

Eclectus parrots are gentle birds with a sweet nature. They’re good with children but don’t like much noise. They’re also active birds and need space to move freely.

They can live for up to 30 years in captivity.

Eclectus Parrot

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos

Sulphur-crested cockatoos grow to 15-20 inches and weigh 12-31 ounces.

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 among the largest parrots.

When it comes to housing a sulphur-crested cockatoo, roomy cages are required unless they’re allowed out of their cage for long periods.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are an affectionate parrot species, but it takes time before they accept handling. They’re also among the best-talking cockatoos.

They have a lifespan of 65 years in captivity but 20-40 years in the wild.

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Umbrella Cockatoos

Umbrella cockatoos can reach 18 inches and weigh 18-26 ounces.

Due to their large size, they need a sturdy, well-built cage that offers space for the cockatoo to play. They’ll become agitated and aggressive if they don’t have enough room.

Look for a cage with a top opening to a play stand. Also, ensure they can flap their wings freely inside it.

Umbrella cockatoos are affectionate, but they need boundaries. As fickle birds, their personalities can change quickly. One minute they’re playing; the next, they’re screaming and nipping.

They can live in captivity for 40-60 years with the right care.

Umbrella Cockatoo

African Greys

African grey parrots grow to 9-14 inches and weigh between 11-19 ounces.

African greys are easily affected by stress and require a quiet living spot. They like their cages against a wall to feel safer and more secure.

They’re one of the most recognizable intelligent parrots. They talk in words humans can understand and are sensitive to people’s emotions.

You’ll need toys and puzzles to keep an African grey stimulated, alert, and mentally challenged.

A well-cared-for African grey can live an average of 60 years in captivity.

African Grey

How Big Does A Parrot Cage Need To Be?

Choosing the right cage is vital because parrots struggle in too-small cages.

A study by Conservation Physiology found that many cages weren’t big enough to provide parrots with enough space for aerobic exercise, resulting in them developing oxidative stress.

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 36″ wide, 24″ deep, and 40″ high is optimal.

The spaces between the bars should range between 0.75 to 1.5 inches.

Parrot Cage Considerations

As well as being the right size, take into account the following factors:

  • The cage should be made of sturdy materials, like stainless steel.
  • If painted, non-toxic chemicals must be used. Chemicals such as lead, chromate, and zinc are toxic.
  • The cage shouldn’t be too heavy for ease of movement and cleaning.
  • It needs to have a waste tray for droppings and mess.
  • Factor in the perches and toys inside the cage.

Monitor the parrot’s behavior for behaviors that may indicate the cage is too small, like:

  • Self-mutilation, including feather plucking.
  • Screaming and screeching.
  • Attempts to escape.
  • Reluctance to get back inside.
  • Aggression.
  • Excessive bar chewing.

If you notice the above problems, consider whether the cage meets a large parrot’s needs. Give a bigger bird extra space and allow it some out-of-cage time in a parrot-safe room.

How Much Does A Big Parrot Cost?

The hyacinth macaw is the most expensive large parrot. They’re among the most sought-after parrots, costing between $7,000 and $40,000. 

While scarlet macaws are less expensive, they cost $2,000 – $4,000.

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 $1,000-$2,000.

Eclectus parrots can command $1,000-$3,000. Umbrella cockatoos cost the same as the Eclectus, and African greys cost around $1,000-$1,500.