Buy Macaw in India very carefully! 3 scams to avoid.

To buy Macaw in India turned out to be much harder than we could have imagined! There are a surprising number of people who tried to sell us these beautiful birds, but turned out to be fraudsters and scammers.

My search started one day on one of my pet store visits. I love going to pet stores to cheer myself up when I am feeling low. There is something about being around animals that calms me down. Anyway, it was one of those days and my husband obliged and took a detour to allow me a few minutes at the pet shop. We went around looking at the pet shop’s current residents. As we were browsing with no intention of taking home a new pet we saw this huge Moluccan Cockatoo.

Buy Macaw in India - there are lot of scams because exotic birds fetch lakhs!
We fell in love with the Moluccan Cockatoo

He watched us as we peeked into the windows and saw the other exotic birds. As I got closer to him he walked towards me and I said hello. He seemed to understand and he put his foot out. I offered him my arm and he walked up on to me all the way up to my shoulder. I felt he was telling me to take him.

My husband put his arm out and he walked on to him and it was love at first interaction. We were told he was 4 Lakhs! I was heartbroken, very clearly we couldn’t afford it. We got home and I started reading and researching about owning a Moluccan cockatoo and what it takes to raise one. That is when I came across Macaws and I decided that I wanted to have a pair of Macaws. 

Macaws and other large exotic birds available in India

Buy Macaw In India carefully! Pair of scarlet macaws
Scarlet Macaws

When we started doing our research we realised they were so many large exotic birds in the market and here are few mentioned below:

  1. Hahn’s Macaw
  2. Blue and Gold Macaw
  3. Greenwing Macaw
  4. Hyacinth Macaw
  5. Scarlet Macaw
  6. Severe Macaw
  7. Moluccan Cockatoo
  8. African Grey Parrot

How are exotic birds priced?

The things that affect the price of these already expensive birds is closed ring or open/cut ring and DNA testing

Closed ring is a permanent identification ring that is put on the bird as a hatchling. This is done by the breeder. It has a unique identification number, and is colour coded for the year. Once fitted, they are very difficult to remove.

Open ring/Cut ring has a gap which allows the leg to pass through which is then closed. They carry the same inscriptions as that on the closed rings. This ring can be put on at any moment of a parrot’s life and hence does not necessarily provide information on the bird’s full history.

DNA testing: Bird DNA testing is the easiest and most accurate way to determine whether your bird is male or female. If you are very particularly looking for a male or a female and even if you are looking for a pair of both then DNA testing needs to be done. 

Buy Macaw in India with care! Avoid scams

We started our  research on the Internet. We visited and joined Facebook groups which had individuals, pet shops, farms, breeders selling or exchanging birds. These groups were from pretty much every metropolitan and large city and a few from smaller towns. We spent hours scrolling and liking posts from quite a few of these groups and then slowly started coming across what we were looking for…the large birds. We were excited!

As sellers started to reach out to us, we noticed almost all of them prefer speaking on WhatsApp. WE didn’t think this was strange at first. However we realised later that they don’t talk to you in any other medium.

We were serious buyers and we contacted more than 40 sellers on WhatsApp and received a whole number of pictures of beautiful looking birds with rates and was told the price was higher if they were hand trained birds, ringed, with DNA etc. Our excitement increased but everything was above our budget. 

As we started looking for people offering better prices, we had the experience of different kinds of fraudsters.

Scam #1: Fake buyer references

We came across a Facebook post which had a French telephone number and the quality of the birds and the videos that were posted made us want them more. So we Whatsapped this number and almost immediately we got a reply with pictures and a rate card. We were excited we could afford them. For the price of one  we could actually get a pair.

Without asking he sent us pdf documents, like an incorporation certificate, an identification card with his number, similar to a PAN card. We were being careful. We asked him to share some contacts of people he had sent birds to in India. He was very obliging and he shared a contact.  We promptly called this person and we spoke to him and he was very real. He said he got his birds and they arrived in good condition and it was only 5 months ago and they were well and healthy.

We were hopeful and asked him if he didn’t mind sharing pictures of his birds. We did not have to wait very long. He sent pictures of his beautiful birds on his arm. Something felt strange though the guy who spoke to us sounded like a young boy in his 20s but the person in the pictures looked like he was in late 30s or early 40s.

We called up again just to be sure and were hoping to get some tips on how to look after macaws and we were surprised when he told us he fed his macaws rice and whatever is at home. Huh! Not the answer we were looking for. This raised suspicions.

The ‘French’ person connected with us every day for a fortnight. Something in our gut told us we needed to know more. We searched on google maps for his location, his business ID, but he existed nowhere. When we told him he became defensive and rude. It was at this point we realised something was wrong. We felt let down, not just by this one person because it seems he had a few other people playing this game with him. 

Scam #2: Small advance + Cash on Delivery

Another seller, who shared beautiful pictures of Macaws asked us to book them for a token amount of Rs. 675/- and then we could pay the rest on delivery. Was this really true?! We had doubts, big doubts but the advance amount seemed worth the risk. WE were told that the birds will be delivered in three days.

The next day we got a picture of a bill for the birds we had ordered and the booking amount and how much we were expected to pay on delivery. The guy took all my calls and was cordial and told me not to worry, the birds would be sent in good condition. Then we were asked to pay another Rs 1000/- for food that they would be sending with the birds and we told them we had food already and did not need any. On the day that the birds were supposed to be delivered, the person stopped responding, and then his number went out of service.

Scam #3: Fake address

Another seller showed us photographs of his birds and when we asked him to share his shop address, provided an address in Kolkata. Luckily we had a friend in Kolkata who we asked to go to the location and check. The location had an electrical repair shop and no pet shops.

Warning Signs of Fraudsters

  1. Price sounds very attractive
  2. They only want to talk on WhatsApp
  3. They are not willing to do video calls
  4. They are not willing to share bank details – only want payment through Google Pay
  5. They give strange reasons for not giving physical address
  6. They don’t offer payment on delivery

7 tips to safely buy Macaw in India

  1. Make sure to get their location before giving yours.

In some cases they will ask you where you are from, and then once you tell them they will give you a different location from you. 

  1. Do they have a shop? Are they a breeder? Are they traders?

Ask them to share a pet shop Google map location. If they do this, do your homework and see if you can actually find it. If you have a friend in the mentioned city ask them to go down to the said location. Alternatively you can get Dunzo or Genie to go to that shop to buy some small item, and talk to the shopkeeper through them.

  1. Check truecaller for confirmation

Put their phone number into Truecaller to verify. Know that truecaller is not always credible as well

  1. Ask which cities they have delivered birds to? Don’t reveal your address first.

They will usually avoid mentioning your city if you share your location first.

  1. Ask to do a video call with the actual birds they showed you in the pictures.

You know if they make excuses or they say no something is fishy.

  1. Speak to references who bought the birds from the seller

Speak to the contacts, ask them to share pictures and discuss the birds with them. Ask them how they were shipped? How long did they receive their birds from the time of payment? How long have they had their bird(s)? How much did they pay? 

  1. See if you can do cash on delivery? If not, ask for bank details?

Usually the fraudsters are okay if you pay via Gpay, Paytm etc. This might be more cumbersome but we suggest  you ask for bank details and see if it matches with the said pet store’s /trader’s/breeder’s/individual’s name.

Our search is still on and we will update our article if we find somebody reliable. In the meantime do share your stories or your luck at finding reliable sources. 

Picture Credits – Pixabay

Here is our article about selecting the best pet birds in India

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