Ask Lafeber


February 2, 2021

Yellow Collar Macaw

I have a male yellow collar macaw, 24 years old. He sleeps under newspaper every night in a separte area and shreds kleenex into thousands of small pieces. Is this normal and safe behavior for a macaw.


Hi Tracy,

This is very normal behavior, although it is based on hormones. In general, macaws are cavity nesters – meaning they find a hole in a tree or in some cases a cavity in a cliff. The smaller species do have more of a tendency to sleep under something, or sleep while hanging on the side of the cage. While parrots do not use nests other than for breeding, for whatever reason, the captive macaws will sleep as if in a cavity, year round. It may be ongoing hormonal behavior, or it may have to do with their sleeping habits in the wild. So much is still unknown about the habits of individual parrot species. Since your bird is a male, the main problem would be behavioral, since hormonal parrots can also be aggressive while their hormones are stimulated. Although he could become frustrated and this can lead to feather destructive behavior(Feather plucking). But if this has gone on for years with no ill effects, then I wouldn’t worry about it. If you are concerned, you can try turning his energy to toys and other forms of enrichment. With a female, I would strongly discourage allowing the hiding at night or the shredding, as it could cause egg laying. We will be covering hormone triggers this coming Friday in our webinar presented by Dr Stephanie Lamb.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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