The ruby macaw is a beautifully colored bird that is a hybrid cross between a scarlet macaw and a green-winged macaw. The ruby macaw is a first-generation hybrid macaw — its parents are two species of naturally occurring macaws. The scarlet macaw, one of the most highly favored macaws, is striking in its beauty. The other parent of the ruby macaw, the green-winged macaw, is one of the most popular pet birds, renowned for its beauty, as well as for its docile, friendly nature.
Ruby macaws are extremely striking in coloring, with a red head and neck and bright yellow and orange feathers scattered across the center of its back and wings. They are loveable, outgoing, vocal birds that can learn a vocabulary of 15 or more words or phrases. While affectionate, the ruby macaw needs firm, consistent training to help it become a well-socialized bird. It loves to sing and, while it can be somewhat temperamental at times, its fun, loving personality makes it quite popular. It loves to be cuddled and petted.
Hybrid macaws are offspring of the crossing of two macaw species. Hybrid macaws are most often bred for their amazing color. Also, hybridization of macaws in captivity has often been the result of accident, e.g., two species of macaw are kept in the same environment, they bond and produce offspring. Some aviculturists are against hybridization, believing that crossing species muddies the “pure” bloodlines of the parent species. When a naturally occurring macaw species population is threatened, the primary effort is to breed the species to help it survive and, in such cases hybridization could potentially undermine this effort. Those who own and love hybrids explain they are even more beautiful, more intelligent and, in some cases, less prone to disease than the pure species from which they were bred.
Like all macaws, whether naturally occurring species or hybrids, the ruby macaw needs a good deal of consistent socialization and training to make it a well-behaved pet. Because it is large, it needs a sufficiently large cage with plenty of toys to stay engaged with, as well as a great deal of time outside of the cage to exercise and interact with its family. Regular bathing helps to control some of the bird’s feather dander from becoming overwhelming. Like other macaws, this hybrid can have the personality traits of a toddler, including temper tantrums, so patient and consistent behavior training is important.
Photograph courtesy Judy Leach, of PetParrot.com