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Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw- Which One Will be The Best pet?

Similar to the trend of keeping cats and dogs as pets, huge birds like a harlequin and scarlet macaws are also considered some of the best pets one could own.

Both harlequins and scarlets are beautiful and smart and may live for decades. So no wonder they are a popular choice for pets.

But what if you can keep only one of the birds between these two beautiful species?

If you are wondering which one to choose between two, Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw, then read on to discover their key similarities and differences.

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw: Species Overview

Details Harlequin Macaw Scarlet Macaw
Life Span 50-80 years 40-75 years
Size (Adult) 76-101 cm 79 – 97 cm
Weight (Adult) 2 lbs approx. 4 lbs approx.
Exercise 2-5 hours 2-5 hours
Dander Free? Yes Yes
Pet Friendly? Yes Yes
Trainability Relatively easier than other macaws Easy to train, more or less
Price $3,500 to $5,000 $2,000-$4,000+


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Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw: Personality & Behaviour

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw Personality & Behaviour

Harlequin Macaw Scarlet Macaw
The Harlequin Macaw is notably calmer and less active than other macaw species.

Despite this, their owners often regard their parrots as amusing and charming.

However, if they are only exposed to men or women, they may become monogamous or develop a sexual preference. Or, in other words; a one-person bird

Sometimes they can be grumpy and moody, but that’s not as common as it is with other macaw species. 

Typically, these birds reflect a pleasant character.

The scarlet macaw is a lively and perceptive bird. They are social birds that flock together in the wild, yet they only form monogamous pairs.

As a result, they often develop a close relationship with their owner and get a reputation for being loyal companions.

Scarlet macaws, on the other hand, are birds that can develop an obsession with a single human. To prevent this from happening, teach them early on to get along with everyone in the household.

Moreover, the bird might become destructive and violent without proper training and socialization.

Like other macaws, scarlets can be very loud and noisy.


Key similarities: 

  • Very intelligent and entertaining.
  • Affectionate and great companions.
  • Can become a one-person-bird if not trained to socialize properly.
  • Very noisy

Key differences:

  • Harlequin macaws are relatively calmer than scarlet macaws
  • Scarlet Macaws are more energetic compared to harlequin macaws

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw: Colors and Markings

Harlequin Macaw Scarlet Macaw
The male parent of a harlequin determines whether he will have blue and gold or greenwing coloring.

The offspring of Green-Winged males tend to have paler orange breasts, whereas those of Blue and Gold-Winged males tend to have brighter orange-red breasts in their offspring.

Their heads are orangey-red, while the remaining feathers consist of bright blue and green on the backs.

Additionally, it is nearly impossible to distinguish between males and females by appearance alone.

Scarlets’ bodies are brilliant red, while their wings are yellow and blue at the edges.

A diagonal stripe could accompany some birds’ transition from yellow to blue. 

The upper mandible is pale white in color, while the lower mandible is black. It also has a huge white eye patch.

There is no visible indication of whether a bird is male or female; instead, genetic or surgical sexing is required actually to understand their difference.


Key similarities: 

  • Without DNA testing, it is nearly impossible to differentiate a male macaw from a female macaw.

Key differences:

  • A harlequin’s coloring mostly depends on the male parent, while the scarlet macaws are generally vivid red with bright yellow and blue edging on their wings. 

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw: Speech & Vocalizations

Harlequin Macaw Scarlet Macaw
The Harlequin Macaw, like its species, is an expert and loudspeaker.

Intelligent and curious, they adapt to learning new tricks quickly and can acquire a vocab of up to 15 words or phrases.

These parrots enjoy the spotlight and are likely to yell more than chat.

If you are easily irritated by loud noises or live in a high-rise building, the Scarlet macaw may not be the best choice of pet.

Although all parrots can be very loud, Scarlet macaws are the model species for shattering cries.

Do not get a Scarlet macaw as a pet if you do not want to be rudely awoken each morning by a piercing screech.

On the other hand, Scarlet macaws are the perfect pets if you want a parrot that can have intelligent conversations. With proper training, these birds can learn up to 5 to10  words.


Key similarities: 

  • Both the macaws surely love to talk!
  • Extremely noisy and may cause trouble with neighbors.

Key differences:

  • Harlequin macaws can learn to speak 15 words on average, a bit higher than scarlet macaws, which can speak 5 to 10 words on average.

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw: Size

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw Size

Size is an important factor when purchasing a macaw as a pet. On average, harlequin macaws can grow up to 76-101 cm, while scarlet macaws can grow up to 79 – 97 cm.

Even though the sizes of both macaws are very similar, harlequin macaws usually tend to be bigger than scarlet macaws. Hence if you do not have much space in your house or prefer smaller pets in general, then clearly, scarlet macaws may be the right choice.

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw: Life Span

On average, harlequin macaws can live as long as 50 to 80 years, which is more than half a century!

Again, scarlet macaws also live for many decades, about 40 to 75 years, to be exact, which is a bit lower than the lifespan of harlequin macaws.

Therefore, macaws live longer than typical pets such as dogs and cats. So if you want a pet that almost lives as long as humans, macaws are your best bet ( and harlequin macaws are a better option since they live longer than scarlet macaws).

Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw: Price

Macaws are very expensive for a pet since they are considered exotic animals. The price range of macaws is between $1000 to $18000, depending on several factors such as species, color, markings, age, weight, etc.

Nevertheless, the price for a harlequin macaw ranges from $3,500 to $5,000, while the price for a scarlet macaw ranges between $2,000-$4,000 (a bit lower than harlequin macaws).

Scarlet macaws would be a good choice if you have a low budget and still want a macaw. However, it is important to remember that harlequin macaws are much calmer than scarlet macaws and live longer. So choose wisely!


Macaws are regarded as one of the most gorgeous birds in the entire world, and it also has a wonderfully adorable attitude!

However, not all macaws are the same. Some may prefer the harlequin macaw because of its personality or some may even go for scarlet macaws for their color markings.

Nevertheless, we have provided you with a detailed review of Harlequin Macaw vs Scarlet Macaw, so it’s up to you to choose which one you want for yourself.