Macaw’s spectacular appearance and fluidic body structure often render them as one of the most heavenly creatures on earth. Their boisterous personalities and gaudy feathers are the reason why we are easily drawn to these intelligent birds. Some of their senses are heightened while others can be fairly dull when compared to humans. Their senses are perfect for their survival. Here is an insight into the senses of the macaw species:


Macaw Facts - Eyes

Eyesight is extremely important for birds to survive. A macaw has a vision which may not be as great as that of the raptors but it is adapted to the needs of the macaws. Macaws are born with their eyes shut for several days after birth. This makes them highly dependent on their parents in the early days. While the basic plan of a macaw’s eye is similar to that of humans, there are certain features which set them apart.

What an amazing cover!

Macaws are birds who are more active in the day so the bulb of their eye is flattened and substantially shallow. Parrots have a narrow skull and their eyes are set at the sides of their heads. This allows a macaw to see with only one eye at a time. The strategic positioning of the eyes of macaws gives them the ability to view almost 360 degrees. This means that they can see most of what is in their front, back, above and below.

Another feature about a macaw’s eye is that it can move the eye bulb inside its socket. Not all birds can boast of this amazing capability. It helps macaws keep an eye out for danger without turning their heads.

Macaws can also see almost two to three times better than us. Their eyesight is excellent when it comes to perceiving details and motion. In addition to their keen eyesight, birds also have the ability to see a different spectrum of colors. Humans can see red, green and blue wavelengths while macaws can see violet wavelength in addition to the other wavelengths that we can see.

HearingMacaws Ear, Spix, red, blue, scarlet macaw ear

Hearing gives macaws the ability to look out for imminent danger and socialize with other parrots in the flock. They have funnel-shaped ears which allow them to focus sound. The ears of macaws are located slightly behind the head and they are protected with soft feather known as auricular feathers. A macaw often senses danger by listening to different sounds.  

They can hear a smaller frequency range than us however, their acute recognition skills makes them intent listeners. Their perception of pitch, tone and rhythm in sounds allow them to recognize sounds at a much higher level than humans.

The variation in tone and pitch created by macaws help them recognize other macaws in a flock. They also look out for different sounds, songs and calls which make them aware of different situations. It helps them differentiate certain calls as warnings of predators or offering food or claiming a territory.

Hearing is important for birds to survive in their natural habitat so that they can look for food, avoid danger and converse with others in the flock. Macaws are highly vocal creatures and they can be easily identified in the forests because of their endless screeching and squawking. For birds who enjoy making themselves heard so much, their sense of hearing could hardly be dulled. A macaw senses different pitch and tones and responds accordingly.

TouchWeather of a Macaw bird

Touch is not used as extensively by macaws however, it remains vital especially during flight. They are very sensitive when there is a change in the temperature in the air of the pressure and wind speed. These changes can be felt by macaws as it is transferred down its feathers to the extensive nerves in the skin.

Most of the macaw species like to preen themselves and their partners. It is often seen as a courtship behavior as well. You will find them perched on tall branches, busy preening their partners and their fledglings to ensure their feathers are clean and bright.

There are fewer nerves in a macaw’s feet which makes it easy for them to perch on different places without feeling to hot or too cold.


Birds have a comparatively poor sense of taste. Macaws have around a 100 taste buds while we have more than 10,000. Birds have the ability to taste sweet, sour as well as bitter flavors but they usually depend on the texture of food. They can determine which food sources are good for them by the taste. While taste matters, birds usually depend on sight and hearing to look for food.

Macaws often choose their food depending on how it feels because the taste does not play a very important role. This is one of the reasons why a parrot can bite into hot peppers without feeling a thing. Most of the food choices of macaws depend on factors like the food is easy to acquire, it fulfills the dietary needs of the bird and their beaks are better equipped for eating particular foods.


Parrots are known to have olfactory organs that are better developed than those of other birds. While they may not have an extraordinary sense of smell, it is still well developed. Smell is not used by macaws to look for food. It depends of sight and hearing for that. It is a macaw sense which is used in a limited way because it does not play an important role in the survival of the macaws.

According to macaw facts, a macaw – bird of beauty and intelligence – uses its sense of vision and hearing the most. The other three senses in birds must not be undermined, and they are still important for the bird however their use is not as widened as the other two. When we understand the ways in which macaws use their senses, we can help them in a better way to survive and enjoy their company. If you have a macaw pet, you must know the way they use their senses so that you can help them grow in a better way.

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