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What Is a Catalina Macaw?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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A Catalina macaw is a type of hybrid parrot popular in the pet trade. Extremely colorful, these large birds are a cross between a blue and gold macaw and a scarlet macaw. Although many Catalina macaws are first-generation hybrids, meaning their parents are not Catalinas, second and third generation Catalinas are also bred.

Brilliantly colored, a first generation Catalina macaw has a vibrant orange or yellow-orange chest and a green head and neck. The green feathers blend into the rich blue feathers of its back, wings, and long, tapering tail. Their cheeks are white, often with thin black banding, and the top of their thick hooked beaks may be wholly black or partially bone colored. The birds average 34 inches long (86 cm) and weight about two pounds (0.9 kg). Subsequent generations have more varied coloring.

The coloring of Catalina macaws is a result of a combination of the blue and gold macaw — which has dark blue plumage on its wings and back and a golden chest and underparts — and the scarlet macaw, which is primarily red with banding of yellow, blue, and green coloring on its wings. Female scarlet macaws, however, are not readily available. As a result, most breeding pairs for this cross consist of a female blue and gold and a male scarlet.

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In addition to blended coloring, the temperament of a Catalina macaw is a blend of the scarlet and blue and gold macaws. Scarlet macaws tend to be high strung and easily stressed, but are one of the more intelligent macaw species. Blue and gold macaws, on the other hand, tend to be very friendly and easy going. Catalina macaws usually have a temperament somewhere in between: though they are friendlier than the scarlets, they are usually more obviously intelligent than the blue and golds. Like any macaw, they can be taught to talk.

In addition to fruits and nuts, the Catalina macaw eats seeds and commercial pellets. These pets should be housed in a large cage and be provided with plenty of toys and, if possible, a play area outside of the cage where they can spend the majority of their time. Interaction and socialization with their human family is essential for healthy birds.

Since Catalina macaws are intelligent, they can become easily bored if not provided with effective stimulation. They are also social, so they can become lonely if ignored for extended periods. Like most pets, they may misbehave when bored or lonely and become destructive to themselves, violent to others, or exceptionally noisy.

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