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Scarlet Macaw

Fact File

Continent: The Americas
Habitat: Forests
Weight and Length: 1kg, 0.8m

Diet: Herbivore
Incubation: 25 days
Number of Young: average of 3 eggs

Conservation Status: LC


  • They produce special pigments to make their feathers red, which are only found in parrots.
  • They tend to fly individually or in pairs, but may occasionally gather in flocks, especially at clay licks.
  • Have large strong beaks that can move well to crack open nuts and fruit.
  • Vocalise in a variety of ways to communicate across the forest.

Scarlet Macaw

Ara macao

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

Scarlet macaws are a large type of colourful parrot that inhabits rainforests of South and Central America. Macaws have long tails and strong beaks, and the scarlet macaw is no exception. They use their large beaks to break hard shells of nuts. Scarlet macaws are red, blue and yellow, with bald white eye patches. Some individuals have a small number of green or green-ended feathers below their band of yellow.

They are social animals, but in flight either an individual or a pair is normally spotted. They sometimes gather at clay licks. Scarlet macaws usually mate for life.

Their conservation status is “least concern” as they have an extensive range. However, their numbers are decreasing and conservation is needed to ensure that they don’t become threatened. They have a very slow reproductive rate and rely on large, mature trees to hatch their young, so suffer strongly if deforestation or collection for the pet trade occurs.

Habitat: Rainforest. They rely on forest with mature trees to nest within.

Vital Statistics:
–Average weight: 1kg
–Average length: 0.8m

Life Expectancy:
In the wild up to: 45 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 in the very south of Mexico through to parts of Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil.

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