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Blue & Gold Macaw

Fact File

Continent: The Americas
Habitat: Forests
Weight and Length: 1.2kg, 0.8m


Diet: Herbivore
Incubation: 27 days
Number of Young: average of 2 eggs


Conservation Status: LC


  • Communicate by loud calls.
  • Have a complex set of social vocalisations and behaviours like all macaws.
  • The brighter they are, the more likely they are to find a mate.
  • Their colour is made by the structure of their feathers, not by pigments.

Blue and Gold Macaw

Ara ararauna

Animals — Aves (birds) — Psittaciformes (parrots) — Psittacidae (true parrots)

Blue-and-Gold Macaws are a large species of parrot native to South America. They are instantly recognisable because of their striking colouration- blue on top and yellow underneath. They also have bald faces with a few lines of small black feathers near the eyes.

They are a social species with complicated sets of communications. Though they spend most of their time with their mate in the breeding season, they often flock outside of that time. They mate for life and sometimes even select their mate before they are reproductively mature.

Though fairly common over most of its large range, giving it the conservation status “least concern”, their numbers are decreasing and they are likely to become extinct in certain areas. They rely on a certain species of palm to lay eggs within, and often only lay eggs in dead palms. Deforestation threatens these palms and their natural habitat and food sources.

Habitat: Rainforest and tropical woodland. They rely on the presence of palm trees to nest within.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 1.2kg
–Average length: 0.8m

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 35 years
In captivity up to: 50 years

Diet: They are herbivores and so eat plants. They tend to almost exclusively eat fruits and nuts.

Distribution: Found throughout tropical and sub-tropical South America from Venezuela to Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Paraguay.

Conservation: Safari Zoo Nature Foundation(SZNF) supports the Tambopata Macaw Project in South-east Peru. This is a long running research project that was started in 1989.

This project is vital to understanding the wild behaviour of macaws and how best to conserve them. Due to macaws’ low reproductive rates this project aims to discover methods to maximise their breeding success. This aids macaw conservation world wide.

How we are Protecting Wild Animals
Throughout most of tropical America large macaws have suffered major population declines as a result of habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade.

The Tambopata Macaw Project is a long term research project, which studies the behaviour, ecology and diet of wild parrots and macaws. The research includes monitoring of home range and habitat use, using GPS surveillance technology, and the study of breeding behaviour through the use of specially designed bird nest boxes with the inclusion of remote cameras.

The project also works to protect the forest – in particular the bird’s nesting and feeding sites. This is largely done by promoting ecotourism in the area – this boosts funds and awareness for the local wildlife as well as providing higher security from illegal logging and poaching.

The information our scientists have uncovered so far has been invaluable to the care and protection of these threatened species, both in this area and across the globe.

Safari Zoo Animals Protected by This Project

Other Wild Animals Protected by This Project