What Are the Three Most Nutritious Nuts for Macaws?

What Are the Three Most Nutritious Nuts for Macaws?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

The original Quora question in full:

What are the three most nutritious nuts for macaws? Should any be avoided and why?

Let’s start with some housekeeping.

“Peanuts have the propensity to grow fungus and should generally be avoided.”

That statement is nonsense!

Any protein can grow fungus.

Leave any protein unattended and you’ll find fungus.

Open a package of Swiss cheese and leave it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks you’ll find fungus.

Party too hard one night and forget to refrigerate the pizza? It will eventually get fungus.

Ask yourself

If South America is the second-largest grower of peanuts and has the largest population of parrots on the planet,  why aren’t they all falling out of the sky from eating peanuts?

‘Nuff said.

Now Let me explain why this question can’t be answered. 

re: “three most nutritious nuts for macaws”

Pet bird keepers are always surprised when I ask “what kind of macaw”?

I’ve identified 43 macaw species found here)

A Hyacinth Macaw is approximately 44 in length the average length of a five-year-old’s height.

They like Brazil nuts and are the only parrots that can crack the shell of a Brazil nut.

Just ask our good friend (of 15 years), Nick.

The only thing a Hyacinth macaw needs is an adult tricycle

Brazil nuts, the fruit are contained in a nutshell and weigh over 4 pounds.


A Hahn’s macaw is the size of a sun conure weighing a little over 5 ounces.

I will let the reader’s imagination define the picture in their mind’s eye of someone offering a Brazil nut to a Hahn’s macaw.

The bird would likely flee thus it would not be a good choice of nut for that particular species of macaw.

Hyacinths can even crack open coconuts and readily accept walnuts and macadamia nuts, in the shell.

Thus narrowing down a list to 3 nuts is a fool’s errand.

There are approximately 19,000 legumes which is the third-largest land plant family 

Peanuts are legumes. 

Then there are tree nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds all composed of a seed surrounded by dry fruit and encased in a hard shell.

The fruits of cashews, almonds, and pistachio plants are not true nuts but are rather classified as “drupes.

Sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, and sesame seeds are seeds all appropriate for Smaller birds like cockatiels and small conures.

Large conures like the Patagonian will probably be interested in both smaller seeds and larger nuts as they are the size of a Timneh African grey.

With close to 800 species of parrots and captive birds in general, matched against 40,000 or so legumes, tree nuts, drupes, and seeds,  only a Ph.D. mathematician writing an A.I. algorithm would be able to produce an accurate matrix to produce a (practical?) list.

A simplified number would come out to 32,000,000 combinations of nuts for pet birds.

“The best type of nut to feed your macaw is the nut your macaw will eat.”

Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

Jenna Young commented on your answer to: “What are the three most nutritious nuts for macaws? Should any be avoided and why?”

There’s a lot to unpack here, and I do actually agree with a lot of what is said.

Let’s start with peanuts. In a nutshell (pun intended), the peanut shells in particular, when crushed, usually harbor specific fungi such as Aspergillus Flavis and A. Paraciticus that often produce carcinogenic aflatoxin. You are just entirely not correct with this one, sorry. Pizza and Swiss cheese are irrelevant, different fungi exist lol…

“The best type of nut to feed your macaw is the nut your macaw will eat.” This is the attitude that gets people in trouble when they feed pasta and steak and hamburgers and chicken nuggets and crackers, etc. Other human food, and then say it’s okay because they’ll eat it. Animals need specific nutrients, and they can’t get that if they’re fed junk food. If your bird only eats a few foods- especially if they’re unhealthy foods- you should put in the work to convert them onto a better diet or offer different treats so they don’t get bored and just stop working for you- which is also a problem with parrots.

I also hope you’re not feeding whole Brazil nuts to your conure or budgie or lovebird or parrotlet or other small birds- that’s common sense, not expert diet advice.

Also, the question wasn’t what was the best size or best whole nut to feed their macaw, but what was the most NUTRITIOUS nut to feed. There’s a major difference- and your answer is pretty irrelevant because of that tbh.

But yeah, a hyacinth macaw can bust through Brazil nuts and can be 44 inches long. Okay. Also irrelevant but great.

I mean, see how irrelevant that last paragraph was??? Your answer is just… so unnecessary tbh. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and doesn’t even answer the question either….

In order to answer the question, I think walnuts are best to just feed in order to balance their diet or as an end-of-day treat, or even as a massive reward for massive progress in training. Other nuts are good for training as they can be sliced, and they might be slightly unhealthier so they’ll make a good little treat. But it’s also fun for macaws to gnaw on a shell and savor their rewards sometimes.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu