These compact little macaws are placed in the group of the ‘mini macaws’, they are said to be like their larger counterpart but in a more miniature and easier to look after body. They are extremely smart little birds and with the right time and training, can be excellent talkers. They are more recommended than other macaws due to their small stature and ease of care, but you need to make sure to socialise them as with many birds as they tend to be ‘one person birds’ and can tend to nip. Many people refer to them as goofy clowns and once properly socialised these birds are fast to become close bonded friends. Although the descriptions of these birds often focus on their small size, they are not as small as one may think, they have an average length of 15-16 inches, smaller than their larger macaw cousins, but not small by any means.
These birds get their name from a bright flush of yellow striping around the back of their necks, like a collar of a shirt. The yellow-collared macaw is mostly green bodied, some have darker bodies, others olive and lime green plumage. These birds have long maroon and burgundy tails with a bright blue tip and yellow under their wings – most often seen when they’re in flight. These birds have dark blue/black foreheads which is in stark contrast to their plumage, they have flesh coloured feet and their beaks are black going to white are the tip of the upper mandible.
These birds are known for being smart, affectionate and somewhat a class clown. They are very resourceful parrots and love whenever they can get some attention – they will find ways to get this and are good at luring you in. You’ll find yourself getting greeted when you come home and will be showered with affection from them. Like with many parrots and birds, the yellow-coloured macaw needs to be socialised from a young age, there are some which can be one-person birds, but they do make good pets for multi-occupancy households. They are friendly birds and they are no stranger to taking humans under their wings to be part of their flock.
As with most birds, the yellow-collared macaw does better when positive reinforcement is behind its training, remember to reward the good behaviours and ignore the bad – keep in mind, sometimes just placing your bird back on its perch is enough to correct behaviour. These birds will learn and if you are patient with them, they will learn the ways they behave in which to please you, which are the heart of it, is all they really want.
As we’ve mentioned, these birds do tend to get quite attached to their owner, much like other macaws. Like dogs, these birds do not do well being left on their own for hours and hours, they do need someone who is there to devote a lot of time and love to them. Although not usually as noisy as the bigger macaws they can be vocal when the mood takes them – you may wish to rethink a yellow-collared macaw if you are living in a flat for the sake of your neighbours.
These birds are more than capable of being great talkers and can learn and recite a multitude of words and phrases, some owners have said they believe the yellow-collared macaw to speak more clearly than larger macaws. No bird is guaranteed to be a talker and no birds should be purchased for their potential ability to learn words and phrases. These birds are great companions and talking should be a considered a bonus.
These birds would have a varied diet in the wild, so it is important that you try as much as you can to replicate this for them as a pet. A wide variety of nuts, fruits, seeds and vegetation should cover this and also make sure that your bird is offered a high-quality extruded pellet with vegetables and fresh fruit daily, you can bolster this with seeds and nuts and always make sure that clean, fresh drinking water is available to them at all times.
Although smaller than larger macaws, these birds still need a lot of space, both in and out of their cage. They are very energetic birds and will need time out of their cage to keep them happy and healthy. Yellow-collared macaws require at least one / two hours outside their cage daily so that they can exercise and spread their wings. That is not to say that when your bird is out of cage you should let it get on by itself, time out of their cage is a perfect time to get on with some training.
These inquisitive little birds need ample sturdy toys to play with and keep themselves entertained, both in and out of cage, toys made from leather, rope, wood are fantastic material to use but make sure you have extras in case they get worn and you can easily replace them. It’s an idea to make sure you have a play stand for them, as it allows them to be involved with what’s going on in the household and provides them somewhere to play. Also keep a dish of water accessible for them, as they will enjoy splashing around in it.