A pair of South American macaws stolen from a wildlife park in Sydney's west may have been targeted as Christmas presents or for the illegal exotic bird trade, keepers say.
The blue and yellow macaws, valued at $6000 each, were among 10 birds taken by a man who broke into the Featherdale Wildlife Park at Doonside late on Christmas Eve.
Police believe the man knew the park well and targeted the birds he wanted, cutting locks of selected aviaries with bolt cutters.
Also taken were a pair of red-tailed black cockatoos, valued at $1500 to $2000 each, and six white-breasted ground doves.
Senior keeper Jake Webb said the macaws had been at the park for about three years and were gentle birds popular with both staff and visitors.
"They can say 'hello' so people were able to talk to them," he told AAP on Thursday.
"For us keepers, when we went in there they were pretty friendly. They'd lean on our arm and we'd talk to them and hand feed them."
Mr Webb said the large and colourful long-tailed parrots paired for life and would be very stressed if they were separated.
"We're not sure if someone has taken them to give as a Christmas present or to sell them to try and get some extra money.
"We're pretty devastated that our birds are gone. It's kind of a crappy Christmas for everyone. We just want our birds back."
Mr Webb urged anyone who received a blue and yellow macaw for Christmas, or knew that a neighbour got one, to contact police.
He said if the macaws and the cockatoos were put into small cages and did not get their usual food their health would suffer.
All the birds were microchipped so they could be identified.
The thief has been described as being middle aged and of Caucasian appearance, wearing shorts, a hooded jumper and baseball cap.
Police have urged anyone with information on the theft to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.