The Hahn’s Macaw, scientifically described as Diopsittaca nobilis nobilis (previously Ara nobilis nobilis) is the smallest of all the macaw species. There are three sub-species of Diopsittaca nobilis.These mini macaw parrots are collectively known as the Red-shouldered Macaws.
The Hahn’s Macaw is not only the smallest of the macaw species, but is the smallest member of the Red-shouldered Macaw group. It is a very tiny macaw reaching only about 12″ (30 cm) in total length. The other two subspecies, the Noble Macaw D. n. cumanensis (previously A. n. cumanensis) and the Long-winged Macaw D. n. longipennis (previously A. n. longipennis) are slightly larger, reaching about 13″-14″ (31-33 cm).
The Red-shouldered Macaw subspecies are very similar in appearance. All three of these parrots have a green body that becomes more yellow underneath. They also have blue on the forehead and crown, and along the outer primary feathers of the upper wings. The name “red-shouldered” is derived from a red accent along the bend of the wing. The main color distinction between these three is that the Hahn’s Macaw has a black bill, as opposed to the pale cream colored upper beak on the other two.
Because of their small size and coloration, the Red-shouldered Macaws are occasionally confused with conures of the genus Aratinga, particularly the Blue-crowned Conure Aratinga acuticaudata. This is not surprising as they have a close morphological relationship. In fact, the Blue Crown Conure is actually an inch or two larger than these macaws, reaching up to 14 1/2″ (37 cm) in length.
Hand reared Red-shouldered Macaws are considered the easiest of all the macaws to care for, and make an excellent pet. They become extremely tame and are very easy to manage. They are also very clever mimics, capable of a very large vocabulary for a macaw. In his book All About the Parrots, author Arthur Freud tells of a Noble Macaw with a vocabulary of over 50 words. The vocabulary of most macaws consists of only about 15 to 20 words.
A hand raised Hahn’s Macaw is an ideal bird for a beginner. They are small and easy to handle, and are very social birds with a friendly and comical nature. They will breed readily both as a single pair or when kept in a group. “Lu” shown above was hand raised and is a male, he has been DNA sexed. The Hahn’s Macaw is an all around good choice for the inexperienced person who wants a larger parrot.