Animal-World > Birds > Macaws > Harlequin Macaw

Harlequin Macaw

Harlequin Macaw with a Green-winged Macaw FatherHarlequin MacawHarlequin MacawPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Lorette van Leuven
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We are owned by a 13 year precocious, mischeivious, hilarious, bratty harlequin. She's got a great sense of humor and rules this roost. We love her madly. Great... (more)  terri

   The Harlequin Macaws are some of the most beautiful and well behaved of all the hybrid macaws.

   The Harlequin Macaws are a cross between a Blue and Gold Macaw and a Green-winged Macaw which makes for a very affectionate, energetic, and captivating youngster.  Both parents of the Harlequin Macaw also contribute to the striking colors of their offspring, though the father's have the dominant gene and this will influence their final appearance.

   Harlequin Macaws can all be good "talkers" as are the parents. If handled by more people and by both sexes when young, they will tend to be friendly to others rather than to just one person or one gender. However every macaw, as do people, have their own personality. As with all macaws, they will require good socialization and consistent training to make good pets.

   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


Scientific name:    The Harlequin Macaw is a first generation hybrid macaw. It is a cross between a Blue and Gold Macaw Ara ararauna and a Green-winged Macaw Ara chloroptera.

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

Harlequin Macaw - with a Green-winged Macaw father
'Frida' - Harlequin Macaw
(with a Green-winged Macaw father)

Photo Courtesy S. Geldman

Description:    The Harlequin Macaw is a full size Macaw. Harlequin Macaws are a very colorful Macaw. In the mating pair of macaw parrots, the males have the dominate gene which affects the appearance of the offspring.

   "Frida", shown on the right, has a Green-winged Macaw father. Harlequin Macaws with a Green-winged Macaw father, have a breast color that is orangish. The breast color is a bit more reddish-orange for Harlequins having the Blue & Gold Macaw as the father. Frida is a very sweet, affectionate bird and a wonderful pet.
   To learn about "Frida's" hand rearing experience along with her first experiences in her new home, visit here: Frida!

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:    Harlequin Macaws are quite intelligent, trainable, and adept at learning tricks . They can learn to talk with a general vocabulary of about 15 or more words or expressions. The word 'harlequin' is defined as 'clown', and these playful birds can truly live up to that reputation.
   Though the temperament and behavior of hybrids is uncertain, the Harlequin Macaw typically takes on the natural docile side of the Green-winged Macaw. But it also takes the natural clownish personality of the Blue and Gold Macaw.
  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 Harlequin Macaw is a popular hybrid that has been successfully bred for a number of years. It is a first generation hybrid macaw, and finding these beautiful macaws for sale is easier than some of the less commonly bred hybrids..

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

terri - 2005-09-17
We are owned by a 13 year precocious, mischeivious, hilarious, bratty harlequin. She's got a great sense of humor and rules this roost. We love her madly.

Great creature, but .......VERY high maintenance. While quite lively and entertaining, they require--no, demand-- a great deal of time, care and attention. It's like having a 4 year old under foot at all times. This includes both the good and bad behaviors. So if you aren't ready to engage in a full time relationship, this is not the bird for you.

That being said our little "monster" (her name is Spanish for a mythical boogie man monster) is truly a great addition to our family. FYI: we do not have children in our home. She knows all our cats by name and calls for them. Often telling on them when they have done something wrong. Or blaming them for something she has done wrong. One afternoon she had opened up the lock on her cage and quietly ventured into the bathroom where she proceeded to chew off an entire corner of the door! Created a hole the size of a large fat cat. When I found her, I said "What happened here?" She said, "The kitties."

Recently we had to travel overnight and left her alone. Mind you, overnight only. She was stocked up with plenty of food, water, toys and classical music playing softly. When we got home, she had no voice. We took her to the vet to be sure she wasn't sick. She wasn't. As it turns out she screamed herself hoarse. Needless to say we enjoyed the respite from the earsplitting noise she shares with us.


  • Suzi - 2013-06-13
    I like the way you started out with 'We are owned by'. Haha We, too are owned by a Harlequin Macaw named Harley. She is 21 years old, and is the life of the household. She loves my daughter dearly, and is her great protector. I even took her to school once for 2nd grade halloween party. She loves children, all of them got to pet her. She also cannot stand when people get loud - no fighting in our house. Haha I really enjoy talking to other people who have friends like our Harley. Thank you!
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Janet - 2003-11-13
I have a 1 1/2 year old Harlequin named Dolly. She is drop dead beautiful and has rich deep colors, she is very intelligent and has
a huge vocabulary. She knows many words and can say serveral small
sentences. I bought her when she was 3 months old. She is very bonded
to me and wont let anyone else touch her. She does like men but only
if they have a beard or mustache, otherwise they can forget it.
Harlequins are so hard to find.Only a handful of people breed them and they usually get deposits on the eggs before they even hatch. I recently brought mine to a huge bird show in Orlando to have her microchipped. I had a crowd around me the whole time. I could have sold her 6 times over. She gathered a crowd at every turn. Luckily I would never part with her for any amount of money

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Bob Young - 2007-11-16
Why a bird? I have heard that question more than once and by different people.
After my last cat died I was upset over it. I get that way after all my companion friends die. I have had several in my life and I really hate when I loose them. After a year or so, my wife and I talked about getting something. She wanted a dog, I would of liked another cat. I spent some time on a farm and cats where all over keeping the rodents in check. My dad always had dogs and I have nothing against them, just wasn

  • Sarah - 2011-06-03
    Great story!! I hope you have many, many more years with Jasmine. Whatever may spring up in life, kids, new career, etc., please see her as a member of your family and keep her through any new life experiences, never give up or turn her away for something new.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-04
    I love my macaws and always have and my story is similar. I went into the store to buy a dog bone. Mine went in the car with me, was potty trained (to go on command) and I would take him right into the store etc. He would walk down to the bustop to play with the kids getting off the bus from school and stayed right with me. Sometimes he would even sneak out the doogy door. A friend of mine did pretty much the same thing with her macaw but her macaw for whatever reason decided to fly off her shoulder and fly into a car wash. The bird was fine but wet but it took them several hours to get him after he flew through the car wash. Just a suggestion - you might want to do the leash and get him used to it.
    I think birds are absolutely wonderful and the harlequin is gorgeous with an excellent personality. You did the totally right thing getting it that young. I am glad your happy and congratulations.
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Katie - 2009-10-04
I recently got a 'rehomed' Harlequin named Bailey, after he was given up due to the economic situation. Seems this is happening more and more, sadly. I was lucky to be there at the right time as a local rescue did not have room for him and I was willing to give him the large cage and other amenities he needs to live happily. I've had him 3 months now, and it's been very interesting and fun to get to know him. I also have a rescued African Grey who has had a very difficult time adjusting, he was in the rescue for several years after being given up. Bailey has done wonders for the African grey who now vies for the attention he sees Bailey getting. They talk back and forth when I am not in the room and seem to enjoy one another. My personal approach to a relinquished bird is to feed them, spritz them, take the cage outside and let them get some sun and air, speak to them, whistle, sing and generally pass the time with them but not to touch them or otherwise put my hands in their face except to give them treats until they start coming to me. Once Bailey was settled in and not relieving his stress by crushing up a large multi level wooden block toy every week, he started coming out of his cage to see me little by little. He WILL NOT step up. Nothing I do will get him to step up so far, but he is to the point he puts one foot gingerly on my arm. Little by little, he is hanging upside down when I open the cage and grooming my sleeve feathers, he rubs his beak on my arm and will let me scritch him till he closes his eyes in ecstasy. Today, he showed me his wings one at a time by stretching a foot back and extending the wing over it. Then he dunked his head in his water dish over and over and shook water all over the place when I said I had to go to work. He says "Hi Bawee" and tells my dogs to shut up when they bark, and tries very hard to mimic me when I speak to him, he mouths and sounds out what he hears all the time. He dances when he hears music he likes (Margaritaville is a fave) but he can be evil if not babied a bit before the actual approach. I find if I talk to him sweetly for a few minutes, he comes running out and is in the mood to be companionable. If I rush it, his eyes pinpoint like crazy and he can be a little pisspot, at which point I generally leave him alone for a while and then try again. He has called me MOM! or screamed several times when I've walked away from him.

I was dismayed to read on another site that a Harlequin or any hybrid should not bred and that the site owner would not buy one or otherwise own one. I can't imagine this combination hasn't occurred in the wild a time or two naturally! Strange things do happen in the wild. I honestly think this guy is full of it, and dead wrong. And once they are here, they deserve to be well cared for and enjoyed.So far, from my experience I think a Harlequin is a wonderful, smart and enjoyable pet - but does require the same kind of time, care and patience one would give to a toddler. The same kind of safety, feeding, medical and long term housing considerations have to be made in a home to allow one of these magnificent pets to live happily in confinement. I have a very large room on the upper level of my house that would allow Bawee to fly should he want to - so far when he has been up there it's been enough to look at the view, he has not tried to fly - altho I did think he was bouncing around and looking at the curtain rods like he was thinking of going up there and I was willing to allow it just to see him do it. But as I said, this is a new relationship, altho I hope a very very long one. I am lucky to have had large bird experience babysitting a neighbor's blue and gold macaw over the years, and have wanted a macaw for a LONG time. By getting involved with a rescue and by being willing to deal with some behavioral issues, I have been very very fortunate to now have my sweet Bawee buddy. And I may have listened to too many popular songs, but with pets I have found in dogs, cats and now birds that a lot of love and compassion - tempered with some facts about the animal's needs - is about all it really takes to mend their trust and build a life together.

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Whitney Pelszynski - 2003-07-26
My first macaw was a Harlequin. They are awesome birds with wonderful personalities. If I ever got a hybrid macaw again, I would defintely get a Harlequin.

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