Macaws are one of the most loving and affectionate breeds of parrots. Known as gentle giants, they’re a loyal and loving species. However, some types of macaws are friendlier than others.
The hyacinth macaw is the friendliest macaw. They have a sweet, gentle personalities and love to shower their owners with affection. Other friendly macaws include Hahn’s, Illiger’s, and yellow-collared macaws. With consistent training, handling, and socialization, all macaws can develop strong bonds with their owners.
Macaws can be shy birds at first, but they make warm and devoted companions once they get to know you. However, they require high levels of care, so they’re unsuitable for beginner parrot owners.
Which Macaw Is The Friendliest?
As mentioned, the most friendly type of macaw is the hyacinth. Despite its large size, it’s known as the most gentle macaw due to its sweet and friendly temperament.
Some owners are intimidated by their 40-inch frame and sharp, powerful beaks. However, they soon realize that their size is nothing to worry about.
Due to their docile nature, hyacinth macaws are easy to train with positive reinforcement. This allows owners to build strong bonds with their macaws.
It also teaches hyacinth macaws good habits, preventing them from becoming bored or nippy. However, this isn’t a trait they’re usually associated with. Hyacinth macaws are:
- Loving: They enjoy attention and hugs.
- Affectionate and form strong bonds.
- Capable of purring, especially when they’re comfortable around you.
- Vocalize when happy.
- Docile and easy-going once socialized.
- Loyal and eager to please.
However, hyacinth macaws can become one-person parrots, especially if all household members don’t handle and care for them when they’re young. Due to their naturally friendly nature, they become bonded to one person and get jealous when they’re not the center of attention.
They’re prone to nipping when they’re not handled properly, but this can be trained out of them while they’re growing. So, while hyacinth macaws are the friendliest macaws, owners must provide training and socialization to ensure that their macaw exhibits these positive traits.
Other Friendly Macaw Species
While the hyacinth is the friendliest macaw, many others are affectionate and loving, enjoying human company. Friendly macaws include:
Hahn’s macaws are the smallest of all macaws, but they’re also one of the friendliest.
Despite being so little, they’re packed with personality. They’re also gentle and love being petted and scratched under the chin once they’ve bonded with their owners. Once they’ve formed that bond, they become very attached.
When trained from a young age, Hahn’s macaws become highly affectionate. However, it does take time, effort, dedication, and consistent training to get them to this point. Hahn’s macaws are:
- Easy to train
However, Hahn’s macaws can become one-person birds if they’re not socialized from a young age. If all family members don’t handle them, they can become jealous or even aggressive.
They’re also nippy once they’ve been weaned. In a journal published by Natural Encounters, parrots normally bite due to aggression or play. As a result, owners need to train them to stop biting. If they don’t, Hahn’s macaws carry this behavior to adulthood, where it becomes a bad habit that’s hard to drink.
Illiger’s macaws, also known as blue-winged macaws, are known for their friendly, clown-like personalities. They enjoy human interaction more than other macaws, especially if they’ve been hand-fed from a young age.
As long as their owners provide them with constant care and attention, they form strong bonds. These bonds are so strong that some Illiger’s macaws feed off their owners’ emotions, mimicking them.
Whenever your Illiger’s macaw wants to play, it’ll call out to you like a crow. They’ll also greet their owners whenever they walk by the cage as a way to gain attention. Illiger’s macaws are:
While Illiger’s macaws are loving and friendly, they require high levels of mental stimulation. Without it, they get bored and agitated. They’ll also become aggressive if their owners don’t show them the same kind of affection they give their owners. Similarly, they can hold grudges.
As a result, Illiger’s macaws aren’t suitable pets for people who are away from the house all day.
Though yellow-collared macaws are mischievous, they’re friendly and affectionate. That’s because they have strong pairing and flocking instincts that extend to their human owners.
They thrive from their owners’ attention and will cuddle up to them and preen them to show their appreciation. However, for yellow-collared macaws to be so friendly and loving, owners must train them first. When you put the time and effort in, they can become deeply bonded to their parrot. Yellow-collard macaws are:
- Quieter than average
Yellow-collared macaws are good at learning words from their owners and enjoy reciting their newly-learned words and phrases back to them. As goofy birds, they love showing off their new tricks.
Like most macaws, yellow-collared macaws are at risk of becoming one-person birds if everyone in the household doesn’t spend time with them socially. Similarly, they become noisy if they’re not given enough attention.
Are Male Macaws Friendlier Than Females?
While some owners are adamant macaws can tell the difference between the sex’s personalities, the truth is, it’s almost impossible to determine how each macaw will behave as it matures.
Hormones are also to blame for sudden personality changes. Even the friendliest, sweetest macaws can experience cycles of unwanted behaviors during hormone surges.
Female macaws can become hormonal and aggressive when they reach sexual maturity. This usually happens around the springtime.
Similarly, females become broody and territorial when the breeding season approaches and won’t allow their owners to come near them. However, other female macaws become overly friendly and see their owners as their mates.
Each parrot reacts differently, but these behaviors will pass once hormone levels regulate. However, males are also affected by similar hormones and may show signs of aggression or sexual stimulation during this time.
There’s no way to tell how male and female macaws’ personalities will develop, so don’t be put off if you experience some mood changes while they’re going through hormonal surges.
Do Macaws Love Their Owners?
Many macaws are affectionate towards their owners. The macaw species doesn’t necessarily determine this – it’s mostly down to handling, socialization, and training. While a macaw’s natural personality makes it easier to form a bond, owners can build one if they’re patient enough.
Because macaws are so large, many owners mistakenly believe that they’re not as capable of showing love and affection as cockatoos and budgies, both of which are well known for bonding with their owners.
That being said, macaws only show love to people they know the best. Macaws rarely show their owners love straight away, especially as adults, so they need to feel comfortable around you before they start showing signs of affection.
Cockatoos, on the other hand, are happy to cuddle up to strangers. So, when a macaw shows you love and affection, they mean it. Signs that macaws love their owners include:
- Preening and grooming
- Whistling and singing
- Clicking their tongue
- Making eye contact
- Pupil dilation
- Bowing their head
- Flapping their wings and tail
- Hanging upside down
- Stretching their wings
- Puffing up their feathers
- Grinding their beaks
- Regurgitating their food
If your parrot does the above, your macaw feels bonded with you.
Are Macaws Cuddly?
Macaws are among the cuddliest parrots. As with how they display love and affection, they only cuddle up to people they know well. If you haven’t formed a close bond with your parrot, it won’t cuddle up to you.
However, macaws become overly cuddly when they’re feeling sexually frustrated. This is most likely to happen when young parrots are experiencing hormonal changes. Alongside cuddling, macaws that are sexually frustrated will:
- Quiver or shake
- Cluck or make a mating call
- Raise their tail or wings
- Mount your hand or another nearby object
- Drop wings
- Begin panting
According to the Italian Journal of Animal Science, these are all signs that your parrot is sexually stimulated. As a result, you should avoid cuddling up to your parrot until this behavior stops.
To turn your macaw into a cuddly pet, follow these steps:
Spend Time Socializing
Parrots need to be socialized to become tame, cuddly birds. To do this, talk to your parrot every day and play with it as much as you can using its favorite toys and games.
Similarly, get your parrot out of its cage and stay close to it as it explores its surroundings. Your macaw will eventually associate this fun behavior with you.
Handle Your Parrot
Handle your macaw as much as you can until it learns that you’re a friend, not a foe. Give your parrot regular cuddles while gently rubbing its chin, and hold it as much as you can until it starts acting relaxed and comfortable around you.
There’s no better way to encourage your macaw to give you a cuddle than with its favorite treats. Incentives make a great training tool – and they’re also a good way to reward your parrot every time it cuddles you.
Are Macaws Affectionate?
As mentioned, while some macaws are affectionate by nature, you can train all parrots to be loving. That being said, some macaws are naturally shy and timid. It all depends on your parrot’s personality.
One way that macaws show their affection to owners is by regurgitating their food. Food regurgitation is a sexual behavior associated with paired-up parrots. Therefore, when it comes to captive macaws, it’s also a sign of affection.
Unfortunately, this behavior is unpleasant for most owners, who mistake regurgitation for illness or a behavioral problem. As a result, they tell off their parrot or clean up the mess without acknowledging the parrot’s affection.
Similarly, while many macaws show affection, some demand it back. This means they require constant attention, becoming vocal if they don’t get what they want. This constant need for attention is why macaws aren’t suitable for owners that are away from home a lot or don’t have much time to spend with their owners.
When neglected, macaws get bored and agitated and will pluck out their feathers in response. They may also bite the cage’s bars in an attempt to chew through them.
What’s The Least Aggressive Macaw?
Macaws aren’t naturally aggressive. They’re a stubborn species of parrot, but they’re far from mean-spirited.
That being said, some macaws attempt to bite their owners more than others, such as the Hahn’s macaw. They’re simply displaying one of their natural behaviors.
However, most macaws have large, strong beaks, so their bite can be painful. If you’re dealing with an aggressive macaw, it’s likely because its:
- Not socialized properly
- Feeling scared or threatened
- Jealous of other animals or people
- Attempting to dominate you
- Bored and lacking mental stimulation
- Been mistreated in the past
While all macaws can be trained to make them less aggressive, you might want to consider a calmer parrot. The least aggressive macaw species include:
- Green-winged macaw
- Blue-and-gold macaw
- Blue-throated macaw
- Hyacinth macaw
These macaws are more docile and friendly, making it easier for owners to build bonds with them while correcting any aggressive tendencies.
What Is It Like To Own A Macaw?
As long as you have the time and patience to care for a macaw, they make good pets. Macaws are often overlooked in favor of smaller parrots, like budgies and parakeets.
However, owners with parrot-handling experience find macaws full of personality, providing hours of fun and entertainment. They’re also comical and eager to please. Owners love raising macaws because they show their affection physically.
While macaws are friendly, they demand constant attention and become clingy. If you don’t provide them with enough attention, they can become misbehaved and hard to manage. They’ll also become jealous of other pets and people in the household. They’re naturally loud birds, so they’ll vocalize their displeasure.
Caring for a macaw is hard work. Once you’ve put the time and effort into bonding with your parrot, you’ll have a sweet and loving friend for life.