- Common Name
- blue & gold macaw, blue & yellow macaw
- Psittacidae (true parrots)
- Genus Species
- Ara (macaw) ararauna
- This is a large parrot with long tail feathers and mainly blue and yellow in color. The forehead is green; the upper part of the body a brilliant blue; the sides of the neck and body is golden yellow. These macaws also have black around chin and cheeks, and the naked skin of cheeks is pinkish-white with lines of very small, isolated black feathers. The blue and gold macaw has a strongly hooked beak and zygodactylous feet (2 toes that point forward and 2 toes that point backward).
- Approximately 85 to 90 cm (34 to 36 in.); wingspan 102 to 112.5 cm (41 to 45 in.)
- Approximately 900 to 1200 g (2 to 2.7 lbs.)
- Feeds on seeds, fruits, nuts, and berries
- Approximately 29 days
- Clutch Size
- 2 to 3 eggs
- Fledging Duration
- After 4 months; young then remain with parents for up to a year
- Sexual Maturity
- Approximately 2 to 4 years
- Life Span
- Up to 80 years
- Eastern Panama through Columbia, Ecuador, and Brazil
- Found in forests and swamps
- Global: Unknown
- IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Appendix II
USFWS: Not listed
Macaws are often monogamous, remaining bonded for life. They are often seen flying in large flocks and the bonded pairs fly close together, their wings nearly touching.
In the wild, macaws often flock to mountains of clay known as "macaw licks."
When disturbed, these bright birds screech loudly and circle overhead with their long tails streaming.
Macaws are playful and inquisitive and are able to mimic human vocalizations very well.
Macaws are extremely messy eaters - their incredibly strong beaks are perfectly adapted for eating all sorts of nuts and seeds, as seen in their ability to crack open incredibly hard-shelled nuts with ease.
Macaws are able to reach speeds of up to 56 kph (35 mph).
Ecology and Conservation
In the course of daily feeding, macaws allow plenty of seeds (while eating, as well as in their droppings) to fall to the forest floor, thus generating much of the forest growth.
The U.S. Wild Bird Act forbids the commercial import of any bird listed by CITES which includes most parrots, which are endangered or threatened.
Forshaw, J.M. Parrots of the World. New Jersey. T.F.H. Publications Inc. 1978.
Marrison, C. and A. Greensmith. Birds of the World. New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc. 1993.
Perrins, C. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Publications. 1985.