Macaws live only in Central and South America so it’s a good guess that if you find yourself in this region chances are pretty high that you will see one at some point during your stay. They have a wide range of foods available to them while living here but what do they actually eat?
What Do Macaws Eat In The Rainforest?
Like most wild birds, in the rainforest, macaws eat wild foods such as;
- seeds that they forage for themselves in the trees.
- wild vegetables that they can discover and find whilst investigating the tops of tall, rocky trees
When traveling in a group they will feed together so that oftentimes you will see multiple macaws flying around eating figs from the same tree. Macaws also love to steal food from each other when it is available but being intelligent creatures they aren’t easily duped into giving up their food!
What Other Food Sources Are Available In The Rainforest?
These birds aren’t picky eaters and will happily consume a wide variety of food sources to keep them fit. This means that during the rainforest they also have access to;
- Juices from tropical fruits which are abundant in this part of the world.
- Wild animal meat such as insects, rodents and small animals that have been out hunting or exploring for food.
If a macaw has a good food supply that day, they will regularly store extra food in their crop (a pouch near the throat) to be digested later on. An empty crop is usually an indicator of how well-fed they are.
Are There Any Foods That Macaws Cannot Eat?
Yes. Be careful giving a macaw any kind of avocado or garlic as they can be toxic to them.
The other foods I’ve seen listed that are bad for parrots include;
- anything with caffeine and nicotine in it (coffee, tea),
- Raw or cooked eggs are very high in protein but give your bird an egg allergy if fed regularly.
- certain kinds of nuts such as pistachios also should never be given to Birds because the shells contain too much poison such as lead tetroxide which can severely poison them!
Even those organic brands of nuts that are pesticide-free should NEVER be given to birds.
The above statement is based on the testimony of my own veterinarian.
What do macaws eat when they are sick?
When a pet macaw becomes sick, he may need to be hand fed. In this case, you will need to prepare the foods he eats by cutting it up into smaller pieces.
You can try combining the following;
- brown rice
- some olive oil drops
- seeds such as pumpkin , sunflower, and canary
You can also prepare a special paste that includes;
- whole grain cereals
- ground flax seeds
- vegetable oil (8 tablespoons)
If you do not have any other food available, you can prepare a simple mixture of pureed fruits. This is usually enough to satisfy the needs of a macaw.
You can use a bird syringe to feed your sick macaw the mixture or if they are older, a spoon will work fine to put it into his beak.
Do not forget to give them fresh water too.
You can also try heating the food up. Macaws usually prefer their food warm so this could be helpful.
What do macaws eat as babies?
Baby macaws that are being hand-reared and not fed by their mothers are fed different food because of their sensitive stomachs.
If you are raising your baby parrot from eggs or if the mother refuses to feed it because it has been removed, you must offer them a substitute feed.
What you can use for this purpose is a hand-feeding formula that consists of;
- protein products such as enriched egg, milk, or yogurt powder
- fibrous grains and cereals
- small amounts of leafy vegetables and some fruits
What do macaws eat in the zoo?
In the zoo, macaws live in a controlled environment. What they eat is also provided for them as food but there are some limitations to this when it comes to their flight and space requirements.
The food is usually a mixture of seeds, grains, and cereals that are made available to them daily. What the macaws eat in the zoo also depends on what they prefer and what kind of diet their caretakers want to give them.
What the zoo officials choose to feed them will vary depending on their interests. What they love the most is usually made available.
Macaws are native to the rainforest, and they eat a wide variety of different food sources.
They have evolved to be able to consume both plants as well as animals that live in the forest canopy.
In general, macaw diet consists mainly of fruit but also includes small mammals like rodents or birds when available.
The most common foods eaten by these colorful creatures include figs, berries, avocados, guavas, papayas, plantains, and oranges which make up about 90% of their diets!
If you’re interested in feeding your pet bird one day with an exotic dish from its natural habitat then consider giving them some form of jungle fruit salad for breakfast!