Illiger’s Macaw

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Illiger’s Macaw

up to 17 inches
50-60 years
Bird Species
Green; blue & red details
Vocal, Chirping, Noisy
Social, Energetic, Affectionate
Comparable Breeds
Sun Conure, African Grey Parrot
Illiger’s Macaw General Info

The Illiger’s macaw, also known as the Blue Winged macaw, is one of the smaller macaws in the family. It’s also well known for its goofy and mischievous nature and fun tricks. These macaws are very intelligent, and they will learn all the rules you set early on. Their energetic and inquisitive nature calls for a lot of free space and a little bit of patience, all of which will be rewarded by their friendly and cute personality. They are loved worldwide, and with their long lifespan, they make a lifelong companion to their owners.

These Macaws might be smaller than others, but they have a lot more spirit. Be ready for a lot of energy and a lot of fun.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

Illiger’s macaw is found mostly in the lower part of Brazil. Some small populations also exist in Paraguay and Bolivia, in small regions. They prefer living in deciduous and gallery forests which are most common in the area. These macaws are a near threatened breed. This is caused mostly by increased industrialization and destruction of forests, by illegal capture and trade and killings by local farmers.

Overall Description

With an average length of up to 17 inches (43 centimeters), and a lot of that size taken up by a long tail, these macaws can be considered medium to large. When it comes to the macaw family, they are visibly smaller than most of their very large cousins. They still require a lot of space and exercise, and a roomy cage is a must. They also have a distinctive stubby look which gives them an unmistakable dose of cuteness.

Speech and Sounds

Most macaws can be noisy pets. It’s the same with the Illiger’s, although it’s not too serious. They usually just chirp and mumble on their own, and produce a variety of their usual calls. Overall, the level of noise is moderate and quite acceptable. Most of their attention can be given to playing and wooden toys which they absolutely love.


The Illiger’s macaw is almost entirely colored in green. Some of the details though, give it a distinct and unique look. The cheeks and top of the head have a prominent blue shade, while the forehead sports a bright red patch. They also have a white patch of bare skin on their face – a trait all macaws share. There are also small red patches on the belly and the back. The lower wing has a few bright blue feathers, which give them the nickname – Blue Winged macaw.

These pet birds might not be as showy as some of their cousins, but they’re stunning nevertheless!

Care and Feeding

In the native habitat, these macaws love to eat fruits, seeds, and nuts, as well as maize and corn crops. You can take care of the basics with a commercial macaw seed mix which contains all the essential nutrients. On top of that, you’d want to add fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some commonly cooked foods, like rice, chicken breast, and corn.

A lot of room, enough exercise, and top-notch hygiene are the primary aspects of proper care for your macaw pet.

Health and Common Conditions

These parrots are quite adaptable and boast a hardy build. This gives them a good health basis. To keep a happy pet in prime condition, you’ll need to take care not to neglect their basic needs. These include a balanced and healthy diet, a lot of social interaction and plenty of room. As a precaution, look out for some of the common symptoms of illness – apathy, difficulty breathing, loss of feathers or a dirty vent.

Make sure your pet macaw has all it needs – a healthy diet, lots of room and good and caring friendship.

Personality & Behavior

The Illiger’s macaw is the perfect parrot friend. They can be cuddly and quite affectionate with their favorite person but are also the number one goof of the household. There’s a lot of energy, fun, and intellect trapped in these parrots, so a right amount of toys is a good choice. Make sure those toys are wooden though because they love to chew and exercise their sharp beaks. If you’re looking for a cheeky little friend for a lifetime, then the Illiger’s macaw is a great choice with their 60-year lifespan. But have no doubt, they will need your love and commitment!

Photo credit: Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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