Are Macaws Louder Than Cockatoos?

When I think of parrots, their noises are typically one of the first things I think of; everything from the classic squawking sounds to cheeky statements and even songs.

Different breeds of parrots certainly make different sounds, with some parrots being significantly louder than others.

Macaws, known for their large bodies, brightly colored feathers and long tails are also recognized for their typically raspy sounds.

By contrast, cockatoos, the macaw’s less-colorful crested cousin, tend to make screams and screeching noises.

Which of these birds are louder, however?

To answer simply, macaws are not louder than cockatoos. Macaws and cockatoos are both among the most noisy parrot breeds, but most of the time cockatoos are louder than macaws are.

Let’s look into that into a little more depth. Here’s the topics we’ll cover in this article:

Why are cockatoos so loud?

Are macaws noisy?

What noises do macaws typically make?

What noises do cockatoos typically make?

Which type of cockatoos are the loudest?

How can I make my macaw or cockatoo quieter?

Which parrots are quieter than macaws and cockatoos?


Why are cockatoos so loud?

In the wild, cockatoos use their screeches to call out to one another.

This can be a way to chat to each other or to alert one another to dangers, amongst other things.

These sounds are so loud that they can be heard from an astonishing 5 miles away!

It’s normal for cockatoos generally to make quite a lot of noise day to day, as they are very chatty creatures.

Some studies have found that cockatoos are more intelligent than the average human toddler, so they are easily bored as well as being very sociable.

If your cockatoo is being unusually loud however, it may be a sign of stress.

If they are screaming they may be in pain or anxious, so it is worth visiting a veterinarian if your cockatoo seems to be screaming more than usual.

Cockatoos are also just naturally loud, partially due to their high vocal range.

A parrot’s vocal range is the amount of sound they can vocalize.

In a cockatoo, that’s thought to be up to a whopping 135 dB (decibels). This is incredibly loud – it’s the same level of noise as the average air raid siren.

For humans, listening to any sound above around 90 dB can do damage to our inner ears, so it’s no wonder that we perceive cockatoo screams as so ear-splitting!


Are macaws noisy?

Despite having a vocal range which is 30 dB lower than that of a cockatoo at 105 dB, macaws are still capable of producing a lot of noise.

For context, we can expect that a loud rock concert will often be around 115 dB, so it’s not a surprise that some people find macaws far too noisy.

As well as the louder sounds they produce, macaws tend to make various chattering noises.

Macaws really enjoy socializing with people and with other birds, and they do this by ‘talking’.

Macaws can also frequently call out if they are feeling lonely.

In the wild, macaws and other birds would screech to one another as a way to find and return to the flock if they got lost.

When parrots are kept in people’s homes, particularly when they are the only bird, they can feel abandoned when they are left alone.

Macaws will then call out using this same method to try to rejoin their social group.

Macaws also like to mimic the noises they hear around them.

For macaws that live in human homes, these might include repeating certain words or mimicking household noises such as the whistling of a kettle.


What noises do macaws typically make?

Macaws will make a range of different sounds throughout the average day.

Typically, macaw noises may sound like screams and squawks.

Some macaws can make whistling sounds.

When macaws are happy, they can make low growling noises at times, similarly to how cats purr when they are content.


What noises do cockatoos typically make?

Cockatoos screech, scream and can imitate speech sounds, although they are not as skilled at this as some other types of parrot and these sounds will often not be discernible as words.

In the first few years of their lives, cockatoos will scream very little or perhaps not at all, but after they have reached a couple of years old they will begin to do so.

Generally, cockatoos will scream each day at night time.

When several cockatoos live together or when they are part of a flock in the wild, they will all take part in this ritual.


Which type of cockatoos are the loudest?

If you’re looking for a quieter type of cockatoo, Citron-crested cockatoos are generally said to be the quietest, and Galah cockatoos are also often less noisy than many others of their species.

However, as cockatoos they are still among the more noisy parrots.

By contrast, Moluccan and Umbrella cockatoos are thought to be the loudest species of cockatoo and therefore should be avoided if you’re wanting to welcome a more peaceable parrot into your home.


How can I make my macaw or cockatoo quieter?

As we’ve already discussed, macaws and cockatoos are both naturally noisy.

It’s important to recognize that if you choose to bring a cockatoo or macaw into your home, they will be pretty loud.

Unfortunately, people often purchase these birds thinking they will be able to make their parrot much quieter, and ultimately this leads to the parrot being rehomed.

Make sure before you buy a bird that you and anybody who you live with will be comfortable with their natural noise levels.

That said, there are some particular situations that can make your macaw or cockatoo noisier than usual, and changing these environments can help them to quieten down a little.

Screaming can be a sign of boredom in parrots, so making sure they have plenty of time outside of their cage and are given engaging toys and activities will help to lessen the amount of noise your macaw or cockatoo makes.

They need plenty of playtime as well as time to exercise by flying around.

Other ways to prevent boredom also include ensuring they are in a big enough cage and providing them with a companion bird if this is appropriate.

It can also at times be a sign of stress, anxiety or pain in your parrot, so if you are concerned that your bird is being unusually loud or producing a lot of screaming sounds, it is worth paying a visit to the vet to make sure that your parrot is healthy and that their environment is safe for them.

Which parrots are quieter than macaws and cockatoos?

Many species of parrot are quieter than both macaws and cockatoos as they are among the noisiest types of parrot.

If you’re looking to bring a parrot into your home who will be a little quieter, opting for a smaller sized bird generally helps.

Often, the smaller the bird is, the less noise they will be able to produce.

Budgies, also known as parakeets, are a common choice of pet parrot, partially because they are relatively quiet.

They are able to learn to speak, which many parrot owners enjoy, and tend to talk quietly throughout the day rather than screeching.

Cockatiels are another very small breed who are known to be significantly quieter than macaws or cockatoos.

Their little bodies also give them a little vocal range, making a cockatiel a great option for parrot owners who live in apartments.

Instead of the “screechy” sounds made by many larger breeds, cockatiels tend to make sweet chirping noises throughout the day as well as being very good at mimicking words and household sounds.

If you’d prefer a larger sized bird, senegal parrots are also a good option for quiet parrots, and tend to be calmer than many other medium to large sized species.

They have very sweet dispositions and love to socialize with their owners.

So there you have it; macaws are definitely not louder than cockatoos, but like cockatoos they are capable of making a lot of noise due to their high vocal ranges.

Both species are among the louder species of parrots generally, while smaller types of parrots such as parakeets are less noisy.

If you’re interested in owning a macaw or a cockatoo, expecting them to make a range of different sounds throughout the day including screams, screeches and mimicking household noises.

Do be aware, however, that if your macaw or cockatoo is screaming an unusual amount this could be a sign of discomfort or distress.

Keeping them happy, engaged and well exercised will help you to maintain a more peaceful home environment.

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