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Catalina Macaw

Picture of "Merlin" a Catalina MacawCatalina Macaw - "Merlin"Catalina MacawPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Cheryl Galloway
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I have just recently (1 month) purchased a 6 year old Catalina Macaw. The lady that had him said he belonged to her husband. He passed away and she could not afford... (more)  Rhonda

   The Catalina Macaw is a very colorful parrot. It is a cross between a Blue & Gold Macaw and a Scarlet Macaw.

   The Catalina Macaw has two very popular types of macaws as its parents. The Scarlet Macaw, one of the most highly favored, is described as "beautiful and striking". The Scarlet has been the best known South American parrot for over 100 years. The other parent, the Blue and Gold Macaw, has been has been one of the most popular pet birds in the trade, renowned not only for its beauty but for its gentle, amiable nature.

   Hybrid macaws are bred for color. The Catalina Macaws are a first generation hybrid macaw, though today there are second generation Catalina Macaws whose parents are both Catalinas. Because they are a mixture of more than one type of macaw, the offspring are influenced by the traits and characteristics of both of its parents. Father's have the dominant gene, so this will generally influence the offspring's coloration and overall appearance. The Catalina inherits its gorgeous coloring from these two striking parents.

   The behavior and temperament of hybrid macaws are more unpredictable and uncertain than the coloration. The personality of a Scarlet is such that it requires good socialization and a firm consistent hand in training, especially as it matures. The Catalina can have these characteristics, but it can also have the gentle nature and the speaking ability of the Blue and Gold Macaw mixed in. It can be a very affectionate, inquisitive, and fun pet that is beautiful.

   See hybrid information, breeding combinations, and photos of hybrid macaws on the Hybrid Macaws page.

For information about the care of Macaws see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Macaw

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Scientific name:    The Catalina Macaw is a first generation hybrid macaw.. It is a cross between a Blue and Gold Macaw Ara ararauna and a Scarlet Macaw Ara macao.

Distribution:    ThIs is a captive bred hybrid macaw. Hybrid macaws are rarely found in the wild.

Description:    Catalina Macaws are among the most colorful of the Macaws. They are a full size Macaw and can learn to talk with a general vocabulary of about 15 or more words or expressions.

Picture of a Catalina Macaw
Photo © Animal-World:
Courtesy William Morris

   Because the availabilities of female Blue and Gold Macaws rather than female Scarlet Macaws, the mother is often a Blue and Gold with the father being the Scarlet. With the father's dominant gene, the Catalina usually has yellowish to orangish red on the chest and some on the back. The top of the head and wings has some green moving down into blue greens. They are similar in appearance to Harlequin Macaws, but with the long tapering tail of the Scarlet.

Size - Weight:    A full sized macaw, they can get over 2 lbs. Lengths up to 86 cm (34 inches).

Care and feeding:    A roomy cage is required unless the bird is to be let out for extended periods. Many birds can spend most of their time on a play pen or parrot perch. They eat a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, commercial pellets, as well as the same nutritional foods humans eat. See About Macaws: Housing and About Macaws: Care and Feeding for more information.

Social Behaviors:   They are a typical macaw. Can be cranky at times and may even be a one person bird or only like men or women unless well socialized. To have a well rounded bird that enjoys more than one person, make sure it is well socialized with lots of folks. See About Macaws: Social Behaviors for information on developing a well rounded friendly macaw. (Also information on handling and activities)

Breeding/Reproduction:    This is a hybrid and it use to be that hybrid macaws were generally not bred, however the breeding of hybrids is becoming more common. See About Macaws: Macaw Breeding, Bird Reproduction - Baby Macaws for information on breeding macaws.

Sexual differences:
   No visible differences in the sexes..

Potential Problems:    Can be noisy (as can all macaws). See About Macaws: Potential Problems for information on illnesses.

Availability:    The Catalina Macaw is a popular hybrid that has been successfully bred for many years. It is most commonly a first generation hybrid, but second generation Catalina hybrid macaws are also seen today, whose parents are a cross of two Catalinas. Finding these beautiful macaws for sale is easier than some of the less commonly bred hybrids..

Author: Clarice Brough, CAS
Lastest Animal Stories on Catalina Macaw


Rhonda - 2014-06-23
I have just recently (1 month) purchased a 6 year old Catalina Macaw. The lady that had him said he belonged to her husband. He passed away and she could not afford to take proper care of him. He had NO toys in his cage, he had two perches made out of pvc pipe. I purchased him brought him home and of course set his cage up with plenty of toys. My issue now he is regurgitating on all his toys. It goes all over the toys, cage, floor etc... He will not let me hold him. He will gladly take food out of my hand. Does anyone have any help with the regurgitating on his toys. Will the behavior stop eventually or what should i do ? Thanks in advance for the help.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-06-27
    Regurgitation is a normal and enthusiastic behavior, especially with sexually mature macaws. It's usually directed towards the keeper however, rather than toys. This re-direct may be a sign that you have not yet developed a close bond, so the toys may simply be 'safe'. Trust takes a long time, packed with patience and love to develop. Your best bet is to work on discouraging this habit with gentle remonstrations.

    Make make sure it is regurgitation and not vomiting though, as vomiting is a definite sign of illness and a vet visit would definitely be in order. You can tell it's regurgitation if the bird is often bobbing its head and stretching out its neck to force expulsion of whatever is in its mouth down to the crop, and the food isn't digested. Vomiting on the other hand is more of a spitting action, the bird will shake its head from side to side, and it doesn't look like food anymore:)

    You still may want to take your macaw for a vet visit for a check up to rule out anything abnormal, and for peace of mind. Although regurtitation is usually a normal behavior, it can at times signal a medical problem. And in extremely rare situations, which is not understood at this time, some birds develop a pathology where they regurtitate continually.
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David Mosqueda - 2013-03-03
Recently I purchased 2 Catalina macaws from a man who had the macaws in his bathroom at his business. The birds had full feathers meaning they would fly in his shop. Needless too say they has no human contact (held and preen by human hands), and were independent. Looking at the 2 Catalina situiation I felt that I had to purchase the 2 macaws. Knowing this was not going to be easy, the first thing I did was clip their wings. This allowed me to allow the Catalina's to know they could no longer fly out of range if attempting to get them on my hand. In the beginning they were not trusting me, but like any animal, but I fed them every day and since they were clipped, this allowed me to have more one on one contact with. Every day I would put them outside with the 2 my Green Wings in the front yard. This was something the 2 Catalina's we never allowed before. It was a totally new and well deserved direction for them both, a sense of freedom! Every day I have my 4 macaws are outside with me. Fast forward, it has been 3 months that the Catalina's have been in my home, and to a surprise, the Catalina's now allow me to hold them both and give me kisses at the same time with no jealousy at all. So yes I do feel like the lucky's man in the world!!!

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Janet Tuckwell - 2012-07-18
I have a 10 year old Catalina named Merlin who does in fact know more than 15 words/phrases. He is a rescue bird like most of mine and he was left alone in a cage over filled with toys for at least 10 days at a time. When I got him he hadn't been let out of his cage for about 4 years. At my house he is out on his T-Stand or walks on the floor. He has begun to scream when my rescued Goffin screams but I'm working on getting the Goffin not to scream as much. He LOVES to be held and to be hand fed and demands to drink out of your cup. He LOVES to be sprinkled with water and while you are squirting him he will say 'ahhh rain!' He is so silly! He dances, sings and like my other macaw he hocks up food to try to feed me lol. I breed blue and gold macaws and I'm thinking of saving a female baby from the first clutch to bond/breed with him so I can share with the rest of the world how pretty he is!

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-19
    Catalinas are gorgeous.
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stacie - 2012-05-19
I sure my baby bird. From what I've read it seems they are not supposed to be the best talkers. My Sassy is right now going through her whole long list of words and phrases as I am in here on the computer and not outside with her. She just babbles on and on, "I love you pretty bird", "momma", "hi", "hello", and on and on she goes. She seems to pick up everything I say to her. Today she started saying "peek a boo" because yesterday i was playing peek a boo with her. She says "good bird" or "ow, that hurts baby" Gee, I wonder why she would say that? She does not however say any of the scolding terms I use like "Don't bite" and I've said that a lot. When I got her a few months ago she was so scared and mean it was hard to even get her fed and water filled. Now she takes sunflower seeds right out of my mouth. She comes right up and nuzzles her head in my neck or chest. (always a scary moment at first) She has never yet bit me hard anywhere only wants to nibble on my fingers sometimes. I say "ow" and she laughs. She also yells at the dogs when they are barking "STOP". She is a love and i'm overjoyed to have her.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-05-20
    Just because it is said that they are not the best talkers, does not measn they don't talk. Some are quite vocal and will surprize you with what they can learn. You can actually wind up in a discussion with them.
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