How Big Are Hyacinth Macaws? (Wingspan + Size)

How Big Are Hyacinth Macaws? (Wingspan + Size)

The Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is famed for its rich blue plumage. These rather uncommon parrots are isolated to three regions in South America, but they regularly appear in zoos.

A member of the true parrot family Psittacidae, the Hyacinth macaw is remarkably intelligent and sometimes uses tools to forage for food. So here, we’ll answer: how big are Hyacinth macaws?

Hyacinth macaws are exceptionally large parrots. In fact, at around 1m long and weighing in at roughly 1.3 to 1.7kg, they’re the largest of any flying parrots. That’s because the flightless kākāpō of New Zealand is considerably heavier.

The Hyacinth macaw’s length is flattered by its long tail - the body is moderately sized. But this parrot is still strikingly large, with a wingspan of 120cm to 155cm or so. Even the Hyacinth macaw’s hooked beak is huge and strong enough to break through most steel cages!

Of course, there is much more to learn about this wonderful parrot - read on to find out!

Hyacinth Macaws are the largest flying parrot species in the world

Hyacinth Macaws are the largest flying parrot species in the world

Hyacinth Macaw wingspan

Hyacinth macaws have a wingspan of around 120cm to 150cm (4ft to 5ft).

This is very large - just slightly smaller than a Turkey vulture. Both males and females are almost identically sized, with no substantial difference in wingspan.

Hyacinth Macaws have impressive wingspans that can reach 5ft

Hyacinth Macaws have impressive wingspans that can reach 5ft

Hyacinth Macaw weight

Hyacinth macaws weigh around 1.55 and 1.6kg (3 to 3.5lb).

This makes them the heaviest flying parrot with a slight edge over other macaws. Several other macaws approach the 1.5kg mark, but none are quite as heavy as the Hyacinth market - albeit the margin is slim.

Hyacinth Macaw length

Hyacinth macaws are around 1m (3.3ft) long. Their huge tails largely account for their long length.

They’re the longest of any parrot and have the biggest wingspan, but are not the heaviest - that title is reserved by the flightless kākāpō of New Zealand.

Close up of a Hyacinth Macaw perched high up in a tree

Close up of a Hyacinth Macaw perched high up in a tree

How big are Hyacinth Macaws compared to a human?

Hyacinth macaws are large birds at around 1m (3.3ft) long and with a wingspan of around 120 to 150cm (4ft to 5ft).

Humans can hold them relatively easily - they’re not especially heavy at roughly 1.5kg. The wingspan is around the same size as a 12 to 13-year-old boy is tall.

So while Hyacinth macaws are large parrots, they’re not particularly big among birds in general - with the exception of their huge booked beak.

How big are juvenile Hyacinth Macaws?

Hyacinth macaws live a long life of over 50 years and don’t reach full size for 2 ½ to 3 years. The nestling period is exceptionally long, at over 100 days.

A juvenile Hyacinth macaw looks similar to an adult but with scruffier plumage with some bare patches. Their size varies from just a foot (30cm) or so at fledging to near-enough full size at 1m (3.3ft) long.

Hyacinth Macaw in flight

Hyacinth Macaw in flight

How big is the biggest Hyacinth Macaw ever recorded?

Hyacinth macaws regularly obtain a weight of 1.6kg (3.3lb), or slightly higher. However, there’s no formal recording of the largest Hyacinth macaw.

Why are Hyacinth Macaws so big?

Hyacinth macaws are large birds, but not as large as others in the same region, such as the Harpy eagle. Most macaws are quite large, but Hyacinth macaws are the very largest.

It’s not just their large length and wingspan which sets these parrots apart from others - but their colossal beaks too. A macaw’s bite exerts around 500 to 700 pounds per square inch, similar to a large dog bite and stronger than a human bite.

In fact, Hyacinth macaws can easily chew through a broomstick or a human finger. They need custom-made steel cages as they can bend and break most typical steel bird cages!

In the wild, this enormous bill helps the macaw crack and crush strong nuts and seeds. Their bills make light work of large brazil nut pods and macadamia nuts.

They can even crack through coconuts. While Hyacinth macaws are generally docile when kept as pets, you’ve got to keep a close eye on their bill, as even a playful bite could cause serious damage.

Hyacinth Macaw eating fruit of Acuri palm

Hyacinth Macaw eating fruit of Acuri palm

Hyacinth Macaws, compared to other parrot species

Macaws are some of the largest types of parrots, and several are similar in size to the Hyacinth macaw. Most of the large macaws belong to the genera Ara and Anodorhynchus, which contain:

  • Blue-and-yellow macaw
  • Blue-throated macaw
  • Chestnut-fronted macaw
  • Cuban red macaw
  • Glaucous macaw
  • Great green macaw
  • Hyacinth macaw
  • Indigo macaw or Lear's macaw
  • Military macaw
  • Red-and-green (green-winged) macaw
  • Red-fronted macaw
  • Saint Croix macaw
  • Scarlet macaw

For example, the Blue-yellow macaw also reaches 1.5kg in weight but isn’t as long as the Hyacinth macaw. The Blue-throated, Scarlett, Great-green, and Military macaw are all large birds but aren’t quite as large as the Hyacinth macaw.

A pair of Hyacinth Macaws perched in a tree together

A pair of Hyacinth Macaws perched in a tree together

Why do Hyacinth macaws have large bills?

Hyacinth macaws have massive hooked beaks. These powerful beaks aren’t just for show - they’re very strong and will crunch right through a human finger!

In fact, a Hyacinth macaw’s bite is so strong that it will easily break through a standard metal cage. So when these gigantic parrots are kept in captivity, they’re kept in a custom-built heavy gauge cage that prevents them from escaping.

Their massive bill enables them to crack through nuts and seeds like macadamia and Brazil nuts. They can crack coconuts too. Parrots are adept at cracking nuts and seeds - which account for a major component of their diet.

One thing is for sure - don’t let a Hyacinth macaw think your finger is a tasty treat!

Hyacinth Macaws use their large, powerful bills to eat nuts and seeds

Hyacinth Macaws use their large, powerful bills to eat nuts and seeds

Is the Hyacinth Macaw the largest parrot?

The Hyacinth macaw is the largest flying parrot. The flightless kākāpō of New Zealand is considerably heavier, at around 3.5kg vs 1.5kg.

Many macaws are similar in size to the Hyacinth macaw, such as the Red-and-green macaw, Great green macaw, Blue-and-yellow macaw, Scarlet macaw, and Military macaw.

However, the Hyacinth macaw just edges it on length and wingspan. In terms of weight, many other large macaws reach a similar weight of 1.5kg.

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