Close up green wing macaw eating walnut

What Are the Three Most Nutritious Nuts for Macaws?

Last Updated on by mitchrezman

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 a propensity to grow fungus and should generally be avoided.”


That statement is nonsense!


Any protein has a propensity to 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 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 long 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 weighing 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 to narrow down a list to 3 nuts is a fool’s errand.


There are approximately 19000 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, treenuts, 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

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