Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes  (psittacines or parrots, cockatoos, and relatives)
Family: Psittacidae (parrots)

Genus/species: Ara ararauna

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: A large parrot ultramarine blue color on their backs and wings, yellow under parts, green forehead feathers, and green tips on the end of their wings. Their under-wing coverts and breast are yellow-orange and they have black beaks, throat, and legs. Their eyes are yellow and their facial area consists of bare white skin with several black feather lines around their eyes.

Length 32-36 inches with a wing span of 41 to 45 inches.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Eastern Panama in Central America south across northern South America, extending to Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. Can be found throughout subtropical and tropical forests, woodlands, and savannas nesting high in trees to avoid predation.


DIET IN THE WILD: Mostly fruits and seeds. They use their strong beaks they break open nut shells and seeds. Consuming riverbank clay detoxifies unripe seed toxins. Dispersing seeds is important to the rainforest.

REPRODUCTION: Blue and Gold Macaws are monogamous mating for life. Females lay 2 to 3 eggs and incubate them for 24 to 28 days, after which the young hatch blind and featherless. Fledglings become independent in 3 months.

LONGEVITY Up to 50 years while their breeding age ranges from 30 to 35 years.

PREDATORS: A. ararauna are attacked while in flight by harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja), hawk eagles (Nisaetus cirrhatus) and orange-breasted falcons (Falco deiroleucus).

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Least Concern (LC) due to their large geographic range.

REMARKS: Their beaks are extremely powerful with a bite force  up to 200 lbs per square inch. Beaks are used as ‘third foot’. Feet are “Zygodactyl”  (2 toes oriented forward, 2 toes oriented backward) are used for climbing, holding food.

 Ara ararauna4039106324_204cd8fb42_b-2

These birds are in the parrot family, and are referred to as Psittacines. They are known for their extraordinary coloration, intelligence, social behavior as well as being very vocal.


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest 2017

Animal Diversity Web

Encyclopedia of Life

IUCN Red List

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