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 larger 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 their vivid blue feathers, the hyacinth macaw can reach 40 inches in length from head to tail, with a wingspan of 4 feet. They weigh between 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.
The hyacinth macaw is rare due to being hunted by indigenous tribes for its meat and feathers. They’re now protected by international law, which prohibits the trade of parrots.
Brazil and Paraguay have laws in place to protect them. 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.
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. Their beaks are powerful, so they can damage cages. You’ll need a cage that’s made of stainless steel that they can’t chew through.
Failing that, let them have an entire room to themselves. Many owners find this an easier way to house a hyacinth macaw. Unless you find a large bird cage, your parrot will feel too cramped.
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 suitable for captivity:
Scarlet macaws grow to 31 to 38 inches 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 and are instantly recognizable.
Scarlet macaws thrive in environments with space. If they’re in a cage that’s too small, they’ll become frustrated and irritable. They may even resort to self-mutilation. Scarlet macaws are active birds.
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 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 that love the sound of their own voice. 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 finding a cage, opt for the largest one you can find. Due to their size, they might be more comfortable for the parrot to live in a secure room where they can roam and fly freely.
The Eclectus is a large parrot that reaches 17 to 30 inches in length and 13 to 19 ounces. They can live for upwards of 30 years in captivity.
They’re 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.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos grow to 15 to 20 inches and weigh 12 to 31 ounces. They have a lifespan of up to 70 years.
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 space for the cockatoo to play because of their large size. If they don’t have enough room, they’ll become agitated and aggressive. They’re prone to picking out their feathers.
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 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. 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, you’ll need toys and puzzles to keep the bird stimulated, alert, and mentally challenged.
African greys are 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.
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 believe that the parrot was about 200 million years old.
It 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 was about as tall as the average four-year-old child.
How Big Can A Parrot Get?
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.
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. The cost for one ranges between $7,000 – $40,000.
While scarlet macaws are less expensive, they still cost $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.
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 by Conservation Physiology, it was found that many cages weren’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.
Parrot Cage Considerations
As well as being the right size, take into account 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.
- 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.
- Take into account that the perches and toys inside the cage will reduce the amount of free space.
After placing your parrot in its cage, monitor its behavior for 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
- Reluctance to get back inside
- Excessive bar chewing
If you notice the above problems, consider whether the cage is the right size for a large parrot’s needs. Give a bigger parrot the space it needs and allow it some out-of-cage time in a parrot-safe room.