9 Difference between Parrot and Macaw (With Table)

Parrots and macaws belong to one of the largest orders of birds known as the Psittaciformes. The order includes; parrots, macaws, parakeets, and cockatoos.

They include very many species. The birds in this order all have flexible muscular tongues in a thick hooked beak; two of their toes face forwards while two face backward.

These features make them appear different from other bird types. The order is further divided into three subgroups whereby one of the groups is Psittacoidea.  Parrots and macaws both belong to this group.

So, what is the main difference between parrots and macaws? Parrots range in size from small pygmy parrots to large macaws while macaws are comparatively large in body size.

All macaws are parrots but not all parrots are macaws. Some parrots are as small as sparrows while macaws can measure over a yard in length.

This article is going to give you the difference between parrots and macaws in tabular form and you will also get to learn about the similarities.

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Comparison Table (Parrot vs. Macaw)

Basic TermsParrotMacaw
SizeThey range from small size as sparrows to large macaws.They are comparatively large in body size.
ClassificationIt is a large family bird that includes parakeets, macaws, and cockatoos.It is a type of parrot.
HeadsTheir heads are covered with feathers, cere around the nostrils.Bare skin on the face reaching down to the base of the beak.
TailsThey are proportionate to the body length.They longer.
Number of eggsThey lay between 6 to 9 eggs twice per year.They lay one brood of 1 o 2 eggs per year.
NestsThey build their nests in burrows or cavities.They build their nest in tree hollows or sometimes riverbank holes.
What they feed onThey feed on seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects.They feed on seeds, fruits, nuts, insects, stems, leaves, flowers.
ColorThey range from dark coloration to bright coloration.They appear in bright colors.
Geographical distributionThey are found in the southern hemisphere in a variety of habitats.They are found in tropical rainforests or woodlands.

What is a Parrot?

Parrot is used as a general term to refer to birds that belong in the family Psittacidae. They include small birds such as parakeets to large ones such as macaws.

They have unique bills, cere around their nostrils, grasping feet, and always live in gregarious groups. There is no visual difference between the males and the females.

They mostly feed on seeds, but they also feed on nuts, fruits, insects, and nectar. They can produce short squawks and melodious songs in some cases with different vocalizations.

They use the sounds in communication along with the movement of tail feathers. They are social and have the ability to learn with ease.

They can be found in a wide variety of habitats, from deserts to urban jungles. They produce 6 to 9 eggs per brood and it takes between 19 to 30 days to incubate the eggs.

The hatchlings stay in the nest for long as the parents feed them by regurgitation until they are able to feed themselves is when they leave the nests.

What is a Macaw?

They are found in the parrot family and they are the largest birds in the family. They are big, have bright colors and are very intelligent.

They are more closely related to parakeets than other parrots. They are distributed from South America to central Mexico.

They have a distinct section of bare skin on the face and it extends to the base of its beak. They have fine rows of feathers over their face that reaches the base of the bill.

They also have long tail feathers and these features distinguish them from the rest of the parrots. They mostly inhabit tropical rainforests and woodlands.

They mostly feed on what other parrots feed on such as seeds, nuts, fruits, nectar, and insects but they also feed on stems, leaves, and flowers.

Most of the macaw species are endangered. Five of the species have already been extinct. They lose their habitats due to deforestation.

Main Differences between Parrot and Macaw

  1. Parrot is a general term used to refer to birds in the Psittacoidea family while macaw is one type of parrot.
  2. Parrots have different sizes ranging from the small pygmy to the largest macaws while macaws are comparatively large in body size.
  3. Parrots have feathers covering their heads with cere around the nostrils while macaws have bare skin on the face reaching down to the base of the beak.
  4. Parrots have their tails proportionate to their body length while macaws have longer tails.
  5. Parrots’ colors range from dark to bright while macaws are brightly colored.
  6. Parrots build their nests in burrows or cavities while macaws build their nests in hollows or riverbank holes.
  7. Parrots lay between 6 to 9 eggs twice per year while macaws lay between 1 to 2 eggs once per year.

Similarities between Parrot and Macaw

  1. They both belong to the same family.
  2. They both have a flexible muscular tongue in a thick hooked beak.
  3. Both have two toes facing forwards and two facings backward.
  4. They both feed on the same stuff.
  5. They both lay eggs.

Conclusion

Parrots and macaws belong to the same family. All macaws are parrots but not all parrots are macaws. They both possess flexible muscular tongues in a thick hooked beak.

However, the two are different from each other. Parrots’ size ranges from small size to large while macaws are comparatively large in body size.

Their colors are also different whereby parrots’ colors range from dark to bright while macaws’ colors are bright.

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