There are over 350 known parrot species, all of which come in various shapes and sizes. Some are big, while others have a smaller stature. This is what makes them such fascinating creatures.
The hyacinth macaw is the largest parrot in the world. It can grow up to 40 inches in length. Other large parrot species include the scarlet macaw, blue-and-yellow macaw, and the Eclectus. The Heracles inexpectatus is the largest parrot ever found and existed 200 million years ago. At 1 meter in height, It was the same size as an average American four-year-old child.
Larger parrots tend to live for several decades in captivity. Make sure you’re fully clued up on their care requirements so that you can provide a healthy home for the duration of its life.
What Is The Biggest Parrot?
As already mentioned, 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.
Today, the hyacinth macaw is rare after being ruthlessly hunted by indigenous tribes for its meat and feathers. Thankfully, 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.
A hyacinth macaw has a lifespan of around 60 years and often outlives its owners. As a result, you’re more likely to find them in zoos than in homes. The reality is they require too much care to be kept as a household pet, and most homes aren’t big enough to house them.
If you do manage to acquire a hyacinth macaw, extra care is required. They’re not your standard exotic pet, so you’ll need to find a reputable specialist breeder to get hold of one.
When it comes to care and maintenance, they’ll first need somewhere spacious to live. As large creatures, they need more space than standard birds. Most standard cages are too small and claustrophobic.
Also, their beaks are powerful. They can turn cages to rubble without much effort, so you’ll need one made of strong stainless steel that they can’t chew through.
Failing that, it’s sometimes best to let the bird have an entire room to itself. Many parrot owners find this an easier way to house their birds. Unless you find a large birdcage, the parrot will feel too cramped in one that’s too small.
Like most parrots, hyacinth macaws are easy-going birds that enjoy human companionship. They need plenty of social interaction to prevent them from becoming destructive. Parrots that are left on their own for too long begin to self-mutilate, which is something you’ll need to avoid.
Other Large Parrot Species
Realistically, hyacinth macaws are too big to keep as pets. While they’re beautiful, they’re best left in the wild or in specially tailored zoos that can offer them the care and attention they need.
Large parrots are popular pets, so here are some other big parrot types that are more manageable in captivity.
Scarlet macaws grow to 31 to 38 inches in length and 32 to 39 ounces. They can live for 30 years or more 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’ll become 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 plenty of 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, or the parrot may get its head stuck by trying to get out.
Reaching lengths of 30 to 36 inches, the blue-and-yellow macaw is one of the largest parrot breeds. They weigh between 28 to 46 ounces and live for up to 30 to 35 years.
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 great 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. It’s challenging to find parrot cages large enough.
The Eclectus is a large parrot that reaches 17 to 30 inches in length and 13 to 19 ounces in weight. They can also live between 30 to 50 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. Green Eclectus parrots are green, and females are red.
Eclectus parrots also make great pets. They’re gentle birds with a sweet and loving nature. They’re good with children but don’t like too much noise.
They’re also active birds and need plenty of space to move about within the cage. As large creatures, they become restless and destructive when confined in a cage that’s too small. They also need lots of toys to chew and destroy for distraction.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos grow to 15 to 20 inches in length and 12 to 31 ounces in weight. They also have a lifespan of around 80 years when properly cared for.
Greater sulphur-crested cockatoos are fully sized and 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. Even then, larger cages offer enough space and comfort for bigger parrot breeds and should be prioritized over smaller cages.
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 also need alone time to learn how to be self-sufficient. They’re not too good with children, especially those that like to stroke their touch their pets.
Umbrella cockatoos reach lengths of 18 inches and weights of 18 to 26 ounces. With the right care, they live between 70 to 80 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 quickly.
However, they need discipline and boundaries. As fickle birds, their personalities 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.
When choosing your café, look for one with a top opening to a play stand. Also, make sure 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.
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. African greys also love to wander about in their cages, so their living space should accommodate this.
However, as complex parrots, African greys aren’t right for everyone. Only experienced parrot owners should attempt to keep one as a pet.
What Is The Largest Parrot That Ever Lived?
According to ScienceMag, researchers discovered 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 the creature’s genetics.
They discovered that the bird belonged to the Psittaciformes order, which encompasses all parrot species. They also estimated the bird to be 200 million years old.
The parrot came in at twice the size of its largest modern relative at 1 meter in height and is 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 American four-year-old child.
The scientists responsible for discovering the fossilized remains christened the parrot “Heracles inexpectatus.” The name pays homage to the Greek demigod Hercules and that it was such an unexpected find.
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, as a rule of thumb, 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, pet owners must regularly weigh their parrots to ensure they’re not putting on too much weight for their height.
Also, provide larger parrots with plenty of time outside the cage to get enough exercise.
How Much Does A Big Parrot Cost?
Unsurprisingly, the hyacinth macaw is the most expensive parrot as well as the largest. 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’re still costly. They can be purchased for around $2,000 – $4,000. The price depends on where you buy one from, but you’ll only find scarlet macaws from specialty avian stores or reputable breeders.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos range from $2,000 – $4,000 depending on the age, tameness, and the breeder’s reputation.
Similarly, 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 parrot owners haven’t considered the difficulty of owning one. Umbrella cockatoos also 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 an owner needs to make. Parrots suffer in cages that are too small. Their lifespan can even be reduced if they’re not given the right mental care.
In a study conducted by Conservation Physiology, it was found that many cages are not 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 parrot 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 good cage size is 36” wide, 24” deep, and 40” high.
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 things before choosing a suitable cage for large parrots:
- The cage should be made of strong, sturdy materials, such as stainless steel. Parrots have strong beaks and claws that can pulverize cages that are too weak. Make sure 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. Always use parrot-safe paint.
- The cage shouldn’t be too heavy so that you can move and clean it easily.
- It needs to have a waste tray for parrot droppings, allowing you to move it and clean it separately to maintain good hygiene.
- 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 after some time outside
- Excessive chewing on the bars
If you notice any of the above, consider whether the cage is the right size to meet your parrot’s needs. Give a large parrot the space that it needs.