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Shamrock Macaw

Shamrock Macaw named 'Beauty'Shamrock Macaw - "Beauty"Shamrock MacawPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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I have a Ruby macaw and 2 Blue and Gold Macaws and have been a macaw owner for around 30 some years now and when they get testy with me or snappy they have to go in... (more)  DK

     Shamrock Macaws are top quality pet birds - very handleable, curious, and affectionate!

   The Shamrock Macaw is a very popular pet bird with two very popular types of macaws as its parents. The Scarlet Macaw, one of the most highly favored macaws, is described as "beautiful and striking". The Scarlet has been the best known South American parrot for over 100 years. The other parent, the Military Macaw, is also a long time favorite pet macaw with a good temperament, very trainable and highly intelligent.

   Hybrid macaws are bred for color. Shamrock Macaws are a first generation hybrid macaw, meaning its parents are two species of naturally occurring macaws. 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 Shamrock inherits its striking coloration from these two attractive parents, the Scarlet influence providing lots of contrasting reds to the greener tones of the Military.

   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 Shamrock can have these characteristics, but it can also have the good nature, intelligence and trainability of the Military Macaw mixed in. It can be a very affectionate, inquisitive, and fun pet that is beautiful. As with all macaws however, 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 Shamrock Macaw is a first generation hybrid macaw. It is a cross between a Scarlet Macaw Anodorhynchus macao and a Military Macaw Ara militaris.

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

Description:    Shamrock Macaws are a very colorful hybrid Macaw. The combination of both parents contribute to the striking colors of their offspring, though the father's have the dominant gene and this will influence their final appearance. A Shamrock Macaw, being a cross between a Military and a Scarlet Macaw, has lots of fiery reds contrasting nicely with the Military greens.

Size - Weight:    A full sized macaw, they can get over 2 lbs. Otono seen below weighs 1.75 lbs.

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, and 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:    The Shamrock Macaws socialize and bond closely with one person but do well in a family situation also. They are a typical macaw, however. They 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).
   Here are some very personable and intelligent Shamrock Macaws we've had the pleasure of working with:

Otono (Tonya) is a female Shamrock Macaw
Shamrock Macaw - "Otono" (Tonya)
Photo © Animal World: Courtesy David Brough
  • Female Shamrock Macaw - "Otono" (Tonya)
       "Otono" is a full size Macaw and has learned to speak several phrases including: hello, hello love, goodbye, pretty bird, and "how are ya".

       Otono is a top quality pet bird, very handleable. She likes to go for walks. She likes to swing upside down while your are holding her by her feet. She is very curious and enjoys reading books with you (as long as you don't mind chewed books!). ...and Otono feels everything with her tongue and gives kisses!

       Otono came to our store as an orphan looking for a good home since her owners couldn't keep her. When we got her we were told she was a "Shamrock Macaw" and that the parents were a Scarlet and a Greenwing macaw. Well, she is definitely a Shamrock but the parents are actually a Scarlet Macaw and a Military Macaw.
Vincent is a male Shamrock Macaw
Shamrock Macaw - "Vincent"
Photo © Animal World: Courtesy David Brough
  • Male Shamrock Macaw - "Vincent"
        "Vincent" came to our store as a young 'not quite weaned' baby. We finished his weaning and really fell in love with him.

       This fellow has a really sweet personality! Vincent's parents were also a Scarlet Macaw and a Military Macaw Vincent turned out to be a male (DNA sexed). He was born in May of 1996, so in his picture he is less than a year old. Vincent's colors will continue to get much brighter as he gets older.

       After a bit of investigation, we found out that Otono (seen on the right above) is actually a sibling to Vincent (seen on the right here). Otono, born in May of 1995, is about one year older than Vincent.

       Otono and Vincent had never met though, as they each lived with their own human families!

Breeding/Reproduction:      This is a hybrid and it use to be that they were generally not bred, however the breeding of hybrids is becoming more common. The Shamrock Macaw has been bred for a number of years and is one of the most common hybrid macaws found today.
   Some second generation hybrids are also now being produced, where the Shamrock Macaw is crossed with other first generation or other second generation macaws. These include the Shamrock x Scarlet Macaw and the Harlequin x Shamrock Macaw. Currently there are no common names for these hybrid macaws.

   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.

   The Shamrock Macaw is a popular hybrid that has been successfully bred for many years. It is one of the most common first generation hybrid macaws seen today. Finding these beautiful macaws for sale is easier than some of the less commonly bred hybrids.

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

DK - 2012-09-02
I have a Ruby macaw and 2 Blue and Gold Macaws and have been a macaw owner for around 30 some years now and when they get testy with me or snappy they have to go in a cage lower than what I stand for however long it takes them to humble down. This puts you in charge and the head of them and they then realize they cannot abuse or dominate you. It is true during normal breeding season is when this occurs in our home most. It seems like a hormone reaction.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-09-03
    Whether human or feathered, we have our moods.  I have found during mating season or molting season - I just like to drive my human up the wall.  It is just fun. 
  • mary - 2015-04-27
    I have my first b&g for about three weeks now. He is a wonderful addition to my family. How do I get him to stop trying to bite me. He's nice when I have food. He won't step up for me. What should I do. He thinks he's the boss I think. Lol
Wanda Reveron - 2014-06-03
I rescued my Shamrock Macaw 16 years ago, even though at times it was difficult to handle her, I will never regret rescuing her. She came to me from a mutual friend that could not handle her, the poor bird was malnourished and her feathers look terrible. Hard work, patience, proper diet and love 'Goose' has turned into the most amazing bird ever. Of course, temperamental at times, she is lovable and fun to be around.

Mark Copley - 2014-06-02
I too have a shamrock ... He is a true lover, he falls to sleep in my arms and is always very excited to see me. He mimicked cats, dogs, chickens, afflack duck. He is a wonderful bird that likes your fingers in his mouth, he has never bitten me.

L'oiseau Rebelle - 2005-09-09
I wondered for years what my macaw "Carmen" was; I was told when I got her that she was a Catalina macaw and I remember thinking that she didn't look like any Catalina I'd ever seen. I saw her parents (her mother is a Military and her father is a Scarlet) and I asked the breeder if "Catalina" was also a name applied to a Military/Scarlet cross and he said it applied to all hybrid macaws. I didn't quite believe this but didn't give it any more thought until I ran across this page. I can't believe how much "Tonya" looks like Carmen! They could be sisters!! Thanks for helping give my girl the right identity! :)