Special Diet - Hyacinth Macaw

There's just something about the innocencence and playfulness in their eyes that endears this bird to the hearts of all (sigh).

They have some special diet requirements though, so here's some information on how to feed the "Gentle Giants."

 

A hyacinth macaw is the largest parrot in the world as far a length goes. This bird is typically around 100 cm (3.3 ft) long from the tail to head and they weigh between 1.2–1.7 kg (2.6–3.7 lbs). Its feathers are entirely blue, however, the neck feathers can sometimes be slightly grey. The yellow boarder around the eye and small patch near the lower mandible gives the bird a clown-like appearance that only adds to its charm.

 

The majority of the hyacinth diet  in the wild is nuts, from native palms, such as acuri and bocaiuva. Cattle like the husk surrounding these nuts but their digestive system is unable to process the hard shell so the nut passes undamaged and is left on the ground where hyacinth macaws pick them up and crack them open to eat the nutritious nut. For the macaws this is more convenient than peeling the messy outside of the nut. ​

Studies show that in addition to nuts, hyacinth macaws in the wild eat fruits, nuts, nectar, and a variety of vegetable matter. They have a dry, smooth tongue with a bone inside that they use as a tool for tapping into fruits. But, while they do eat a variety of fruits and other vegetation, their diet primarily consists of several types of palm nuts. 

 

Since we can't feed them what they would be eating in the wild, experienced aviculturists recommend feeding a variety of fruits and vegetables along with a mixture of nuts in shell to give that beak a workout. These birds have incredibly strong beaks, in fact they are so strong they can crack coconuts, large brazil nut pods, and macadamia nuts! Hard shells and lots of opportunity to chew will keep the beak in good condition and stimulate the bird's natural behaviors and tactile experiences.

Most people will say the Hyacinth diet should be higher in fat than other macaws. Well let's take a look at the staple of their diet compared to the standard tree nuts that we recommend for a healthy diet.​

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