Macaw specific communication?


Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
Alberta, Canada
Pixie the White Bellied Caique
Hi everyone,
Just wondering if I can read more about this somewhere. How do your McCaw's differ from your other birds in terms of communication style?
Thanks Ahead,
Shauna, I'm not quite sure what exactly it is you're asking. Macaws 'can' be a tad bit louder when they want to communicate, but other than that, mine communicate with me just like my Amazons do (via body language and sounds/words) :)

PS. I fixed the spelling of 'macaw' in your thread title.
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Thank you! We are beginning to research what type of parrot we may consider as a rescue well ahead of time here. One of our local rescues has a Scarlet Macaw looking for a home and they made reference to wanting any prospective families to "understand the language of Macaw ". I thought perhaps there was a literal aspect to this but perhaps they are meaning something else? I will enquire further.
Thanks I wondered if my question was too vague.
Any chance I get to share my favorite Macaw video... I appreciate.
I would love to have a Macaw.... if I was not a beakophob!
Scarlets tend to be a bit nippier and communicate with their beak quite a bit.

Yep. What Karen said.

That's probably the form of communication they were talking about.

Scarlett's are the beakiest of the bunch, and if a bird that puts it's large beak on you all the time just to communicate scares the crap outta you, that's probably not a good fit.
I second the above..but they are all lovable when properly cared after and well trained. You can't fear the beak!
I second the above..but they are all lovable when properly cared after and well trained. You can't fear the beak!

BEAKY is different from BITEY.

BEAKY is we put our beaks on everything, and explore everything with our beaks, and we use our beaks to express our likes, our dislikes, and our frustrations...

It is especially CRITICAL with the "beaky" species to bite pressure train. Otherwise, when they communicate "frustration" you end up bleeding...

I second the above..but they are all lovable when properly cared after and well trained. You can't fear the beak!

Yeah, that's the biggest mistake you can make with a big mac.

Respect the beak, but never fear it.

And what happens is people tend to scream and fuss every time a scarlett beaks at them. "OMG! THAT BIRD HATES ME/IS GOING TO BITE ME" and then you create the problem...

The bird learns he's in charge, and all he has to do is "bluff you" or apply a little bite pressure once or twice... and he gets to do as he pleases.

You just lost control of the macaw!

At some point after that, the bird is left festering in a cage because "it bites" and then "it" becomes cage bound and territorial, and the downward spiral begins.
When you think of a macaw beak, you have to think of it as a multi-purpose tool. It's primarily a third hand.

It can be used as a crow bar.

The sharp point on the end of it can puncture and slice things open.

It is used to test the strength of things before stepping on them.

It's used as a vice grip pliers to hold onto things, and rip them open.

And it's used to crack and crush things like nut shells... (or fingers that are someplace they are not supposed to be and/or are annoying us.)

The "beakier" macaws are just especially coordinated with their beaks, and tend to use the beaks as a first option, before they use their feet.

The beakier macaws tend to be a tad less patient, so when you "argue" with them, while they're putting their beaks on you, they tend to be a little more forceful about it. (Yeah, don't try pulling your arm away from a buffons or a scarlett after asking him to step up. Cuz they'll grab your arm first with their beak, and hold it steady while they step up... how hard they have to hold it to keep it steady, is completely up to you.)

And are more likely to use it to communicate:

Pinch! Hey, share some of that stuff you're eating with me.

Pinch! Let's go outside for a walk.

Pinch! I don't like that scarey thing. Don't you see how scarey that is? Pinch, get away from it. Can't you tell I'm trying to protect you?

Pinch! Pay some attention to me.

Pinch! Not now. I'm not interested.

HARD PINCH and/or BLOOD DRAW: What part of NOT NOW didn't you understand?! Can't you take a hint?! Must I draw blood to make my point?!
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