Ara ararauna Blue and Gold Macaw

Family

  • Psittacidae

Lifespan

  • 35-60 years

Size

  • Length

    • 33-34 inch body

    • 20 inch tail

    • 40-45 inch wingspan

  • Weight

    • Over 2 pounds

Range

  • Mid to Northern South America and Southern Central America

HabitatBlue and Gold Macaws

  • Forests in tropical or sub-tropical regions along swamps or rivers

Diet

  • Wild

    • Fruits, seeds, berries, and nuts

  • Zoo

    • Mazuri brand parrot chow and fresh produce

Reproduction

                It is believed that Blue and Gold Macaws do not reach sexual maturity until 3-4 years.  These birds form solid pair bonds and are thought to mate for life.  1-2 eggs are laid in a nest made in a hollow cavity of a tree trunk.  Females are believed to solely incubate the eggs, but both parents will aggressively defend the eggs from predators or intruders.  After an incubation period of 25 days the chicks hatch.  Chicks are hatched blind and featherless.  Chicks will become fully feathered around 10 weeks old.  Parents care for the young until they become independent.

Special adaptations

  • The Blue and Gold macaws beautiful plumage actually helps camouflage it against the brilliant colors found in its home
  • Macaws have a patch on their faces that lack feathers, which can act as a heat dissipater and for communication amongst other macaws

Facts/info

  • Strong pair bonds are formed and reinforced with mutual grooming and displays of affection

  • Our pair of Blue and Gold macaws are often seen interlocking beaks – a form of affection

  • These birds are reported to be wary of humans in the wild, tending to avoid populated areas

Blue and Gold Macaws kissing

Conservation status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Common in the pet trade, illegal capture and exportation of these and other tropical parrots is still a major problem with wild populations today

    • Approximately 70-80% of animals illegally transported over borders for the pet trade die either en route or shortly after arrival.  The United States is one of the top destinations for these birds and other illegally transported animals. 
  • Deforestation is a common threat to these animals, destroying nesting and feeding sites, often killing nest-bound young in the process

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. World Parrot Trust. Accessed December 2012. www.parrots.org
  4. Audobon. Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide. New York, New York. DK Publishing. 2007.
  5. Ara ararauna (Linnaeus, 1758). Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed December 2012. www.eol.org/date_objects22840166