Green Winged macaws, Ara chloroptera, are a striking blend of blood red with green and blue stripes on their wings and dark sky blue on their lower backs, which is covered by their wings. Green Winged macaws have dark lower beaks and horn-colored upper beaks, with the portion nearest their facial skin patches black. They have tiny dark red feathers on their bare white facial patches. These feathers are in lines that vary with each individual. When they are excited they can raise up every single feather on their face as well as the ones on their heads. Almost as large as Hyacinth macaws, Green Winged macaws are 36 inches long and have wingspans of 48 inches. They originate in eastern Panama and much of tropical South America.
Typical weights for Green Winged macaws range from 1100 to 1400 grams.
Green Winged macaws are big birds in both size and needs. With a lot of nurturing and consistent, defined boundaries, Green Winged macaws deserve their reputation, along with the Hyacinth macaw, for being the gentlest and steadiest of the large macaws. Green Winged macaws are probably the most intelligent of the large macaws. They are fast learners and their early lessons stay with them, so the quality of their early socialization is extremely important. They observe everything around them and respond appropriately and flexibly to most situations. They may learn to talk well. Many love to learn tricks. They have longer attention spans combined with a bigger desire to please than do most companion birds. Bonded pets are motivated to give their owner pleasure. If they realize something pleases you, they will do it continually without another lesson.
One noted bird behaviorist, Sally Blanchard, states that Green Winged macaws are more intelligent than a significant portion of the human population and therefore are not suitable as pets for just anyone. She feels that Green Winged macaws need owners who are dedicated to meeting their needs for nurturing and stimulation. She refers to them as athletic and artistic, explaining that they make fabulous singers, talkers, dancers, whistlers and tricksters. (My own Green Winged macaw, Skipper, adores bagpipe music and dances when she hears it. Melissa's Green Wing, Phoenix, has learned to ring his bell when he wants something.) Green Winged macaws may spend hours practicing the verbal phrases they know with variations and embellishments of their own creation. They love taking puzzles apart.
Green Winged macaws have intense athletic requirements. They have a lot of energy and must play vigorously. They need the proper apparatus to do so with large dedicated areas for them to play and explore. They love to jump and have very strong legs. Sometimes when we walk past our Green Wings, they jump onto our backs from their play stands. They want to be held, but also find it exciting to jump on us. It gets a reaction. It is something physical to do, and they want the attention!
These large macaws take a long time to mature and need consistent parenting for their security and proper emotional development. Forcing Green Winged macaws to wean too young can have significant long-term behavioral consequences. As they are maturing, Green Winged macaws will occasionally challenge the boundaries you set for them in inquisitive ways as if to make sure you are doing an adequate job. They have a mischievous nature that can get them into trouble. It is always good to have large, tough toys to satisfy their need to chew and destroy. Like all macaws, Green Wings can be exceptionally destructive.
In our experience, Green Winged macaws are especially even-tempered; they know they are big and don't have to prove it. However, they are also very headstrong and stubborn. You just have to be more patient and outlast them. As mentioned above, establishing and maintaining strong boundaries that are consistently reinforced is critical to having a good relationship with a Green Winged macaw.
Green Winged macaws don't reach sexual maturity until they are approximately 8 years old. Usually sexual maturity has only a few signs, like increased interest in overt sexual behaviors and a little more crankiness during breeding season. They also can become more vocal. Green Winged macaw voices are loud. Fortunately, their screams are infrequent.
Socially interactive, both with people and other parrots, Green Winged macaws often possess the sweetest of natures and will make excellent life-long companions. However, as with any parrot, children and birds should not be left unsupervised. With their boisterous, energetic personalities it is important for them to have spacious cages, separate large play stands and plenty of toys available to keep them happily occupied.