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Blue-Throated Macaw

Scientific Classification

Common Name
blue-throated macaw, Wagler's macaw, Caninde macaw (though this common name is associated with an inappropriate species classification - see 'Genus Species' below for more info)
Psittacidae (true parrots)
Genus Species
Ara (macaw) glaucogularis [Some sources cite caninde, though this delineation is likely an inappropriate translation of Felix de Azara's 1802 to 1805 species account. 'Caninde' references a specific Tupi-Guarani name for the blue & gold macaw, Ara ararauna. Azara's description likely references A. ararauna.]

Fast Facts

This is a large parrot. The forehead, crown, neck, wings and tail light greenish-blue. The naked face is striped with dark greenish-blue feather lines. In color, the breast, body and the underparts of the wings are all yellow, and the underparts of tail feathers are orange. The beak is strongly hooked and the feet zygodactylous (with 2 toes that point forward and 2 toes that point backward).
Approximately 85 cm (34 in.)
Approximately 750 g (1.7 lbs.)
Includes seeds, fruits, nuts, and berries
Approximately 29 days
Clutch Size
2 to 3 eggs
Fledging Duration
Approximately 4 months (then remain with their parents for up to a year)
Sexual Maturity
Approximately 2 to 4 years
Life Span
May live to 80 years or more
Northern central Bolivia
Inhabits swampy lowlands to savannah grasslands
Global: Estimated at 50 to 249 birds
IUCN: Critically Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
USFWS:  Critically Endangered

Fun Facts

This species was unknown to aviculture until the 1970s and still today a limited number of ornithologists are unsure if it is truly a separate species, but rather a subspecies of the blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna).

Macaws are 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.

While habitat loss is a concern for the small, splintered blue-throated macaw populations, the species' primary threat is capture/harvest for the international pet trade. Though protected, the macaw's rarity actually drives their price in the private pet market particularly high, encouraging illegal capture and trade.

In 1990, Defenders of Wildlife began a campaign in which more than 100 commercial airlines agreed to stop carrying birds. This stopped the delivery of new birds to dealers and forced some of them to breed the captive species they already had. In 1995 the Wild Bird Conservation Act was enacted and it halted the import of endangered birds, especially macaws. 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.

Yamashita, Carlos & Machado de Barros, Yuri. "The Blue-throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis: Characterization of its Distinctive Habitats in Savannahs of the Beni, Bolivia". Ararajuba 5(2): 141-150. December 1997.