Macaws have been said to live for up to 100 years; however, an average of 50 years is probably more accurate. The larger macaws may live up to 65 years. They are monogamous and mate for life. In captivity unmated macaws will bond primarily with one person – their keeper, and can often be quite affectionate and cuddly. Pet macaws thrive on frequent interaction and attention from their owners, and a lack of this can lead to their mental and physical suffering.
How to determine a birds age
If age is a consideration for you then learn to tell a young bird, say up to the age of 1 1/2, by simply looking at the eyes. It's the little things that can help you judge age. Here are some tips to use as guidelines that can help you determine if it is really a young bird, or perhaps an older bird. Both the young and old make good companions, so this is not which is best or which to choose. It's merely a guide to show you how you may be able to determine which is which.
If it is a baby bird, is it completely weaned? Never buy an unweaned bird if you have no experience with hand feeding. The old wive's tale that a baby bird will bond better with the person who hand feeds it is just that - an old wive's tale.
The fastest way to help distinguish a bird under the age of 1 year is to check the eyes, beak and feet.
The things that jump out and indicate it's a young bird, rather than an older one, are first the eyes, the dewy, soft look of the overall bird.
In a young bird the ring around the eye will be brown, not a light gray, which in the Blue and Gold's is an indication of a bird over a few years of age. Dark eyes, young bird.
The bill, when felt, will have a softer feel to it. The color will be darker and deeper. Babies have a smooth, shorter beak, while most older ones have a longer hook and may also have some normal sloughing.
The feet will be a darker black than in the older birds. If they are a lighter grey and scaley, then this is an indication of an older bird. In a younger bird, the feet will usually be smooth and supple, without the thick callouses which result from perching. The nails are not yet very long.
Also look at the tail feathers. Young macaws will often have very ratty looking feathers, especially the tail feathers, as they are somewhat clumsy. Caring for that long tail is something that has to be learned.
One trait that is common in handfed youngsters is that they will bob their heads up and down. This is a feeding behavior and not a phobic problem.
It may also offer a small little squeak. Further, a younger bird will normally not be as quick to strike out if a stranger approaches.