Scarlet Macaw: characteristics, dangers and much more

The scarlet macaw is a beautiful bird which normally lives in America, since it is native of there, its scientific name is “Ara Chloroptera”. It is currently distributed from the lush jungles of Panama to the north of Argentina. (See Article: Ibis Eremita ).

This majestic bird is highly appreciated as a pet, since its colors are very striking, in addition to its physical characteristics, mainly its long plumage and large size. This bird has existed for many decades, but was officially introduced as a species in 1859, although many people were aware of its existence, it had never been studied or specified in records.

This type of bird is highly desired by people, so its population is decimated due to the great demand for it, although in many places the sale of these animals is illegal, it is still practiced and is something to which the authorities have paid attention in recent decades, since before it was not an important part of society, now that the species is under threat have emerged organizations seeking the protection of the same.

This bird receives other names such as “Red-winged green macaw”, “Red and green macaw” and finally “aracanga”. These are the names most commonly used in traditional Spanish, since depending on the region where this bird is located, different names may be presented and depending on the individual or individuals who appreciate them. Among the most common names in other languages can be found in English as “Red and Green Macaw” and in Portuguese are known as “Arara vermelha grande”.

Let’s know their characteristics

This bird is considered as strong and powerful, within the Macaw family is one of the largest species that exists, compared to other species of birds may not have a size so decisive, but to be considered included within the macaws its size is something phenomenal. (See Article: Birds in danger of extinction).

The size of these animals can vary according to the individual and the sex that has the same, but according to established standards, these animals can measure between 73 cm to 96 cm in total length and its weight can be between 1300 grams and 1700 grams, being very rare when an animal of these reaches 2 kg of body weight.

If the male and female are compared in physique and general appearance, there is no distinction between the two, since they can be seen with the same characteristics, you have to make a deeper inquiry to determine the sex of the animal and not just anyone can determine it, you have to have a minimum of knowledge about this type of birds.

When this type of bird is seen up close, the individual must be closely examined to be able to distinguish its sex. A smaller beak can be seen in female macaws, which has a curved shape and is wider than that of the male. The weight of females is less than that of males in most cases, as well as the lengths of females are usually much shorter. (See Article: Parakeets).

Males have stronger features than females, mainly the beak, which is stronger than that of females. The age between both sexes does not vary, it will depend on the lifestyle and individual conditions of each specimen, but according to parameters, it is estimated that a macaw of this species can live up to 100 years and more.

There is a macaw of this type that is called “Pink Macaw” and is very similar to the Red Macaw, but can be differentiated by the feathers of the wings, which are green and not yellow, you can also see that the Red Macaw in the face has small feathers that border the eyes and these do not have the Pink Macaw.

As the name of this macaw indicates, it has a dark red color, the feathers of the shirt type are of a blue tone, the large feathers that are called wing coverts are of an olive green tone. The feathers on the tail are of a different characteristic, the outer feathers have a light brown base color and the tips have a blue tone, but the underside of the feathers retain the natural dark red of the bird.

The legs of this animal are gray, the skin that does not have feathers on the face is white, the face has small red lines that decorate it, which is made by very small feathers, presenting different patterns in the plumage on one side and the other. (See Article: chicks).

The beak of these animals has a white upper jaw and has a black triangle with the edge touching the lower jaw, which is also black.

The eye of these animals presents a great contrast with the body, since it also has a diversity of colors, the iris of the eye itself has an ivory hue, which is surrounded by an outer ring that has a curious pale golden hue. The beak is generally black in color contrasting with the mandible.

These birds are considered as large within the macaw family, they can reach total lengths between 73 cm to 96 cm and their weight is between 1.3 kilograms and 1.7 kilograms, being a bird of considerable proportions. The diet of these birds varies a little depending on the region where they are located and the availability of food in the area, but in general they feed on large seeds and a wide variety of fruits, the places where they live are usually tropical forests that have lowlands and in some mountainous areas have been seen to inhabit.


The natural habitat to which the scarlet macaw has been accustomed is the particular climate of the Amazon rainforest, which is why it can be found in areas of Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and the Guyanas.

This species of bird was located in other areas where it had the same living conditions, but is currently declared extinct in them, this fact occurred in Argentina, which was somewhat shocking because it was a bird well known in this environment, according to some facts recorded are birds migrated by weather conditions, and even recorded returns of large flocks, but has not yet established an official reason that explains the migration of the same. (See Article: Gallina Piroca).

The humid forests and jungle areas are the regions in which this species develops in perfect harmony, generally at altitudes between 500 and 1500 meters above sea level. Some of these birds inhabit mountainous areas, but almost always inhabit jungle areas.


Like many species of birds and animals, scarlet macaws mate seasonally, so during the mating season this bird usually returns to the same territories every year. Depending on the area where it is located is that these birds prepare the nest, in the jungle areas the nests are made in the holes that have the trees and in the mountainous areas the nests are made in the rocks or clay ravines.

The female of this species can lay 2 or 3 eggs per reproductive cycle, these eggs are hatched for about 26 days until they hatch, the female is in charge of hatching the eggs, the male’s task is to get food and watch the female while she does her job.


These birds feed according to the region in which they are located and the abundance and ease of acquisition of food. In general, these birds like to eat large seeds, sunflower seeds, varieties of nuts, hazelnuts, wheat, corn, oats and many varieties of fruits.

They are in danger of extinction

Birds are very sensitive animals, mainly are susceptible to any change that applies to them, due to the ability to feel that these birds have, they can behave strangely if the ecosystem around them has experienced any change, leading them to destabilize until it is caused his death and even has been seen as some species of birds have migrated in large numbers due to changes within their ecosystem and sometimes have returned at the time of stabilizing the ecosystem.

Climate changes and various environmental factors are perceptible to birds, they have an incredible ability to foresee these events moments before they happen, so there are many external agents that can affect them. One of the great consequences that has been seen today in birds is due to global warming and it is caused by us humans, the drastic change that has occurred in the climate in recent decades has led to the disappearance of large numbers of birds of various species. (See Article: Stork).

Some elements that we use daily drastically affect the lifestyle of birds, most seabirds are affected by plastics and waste that are not recycled and end up on the shores of the seas, this greatly affects their way of feeding, leading them even to death by suffocation or capture with plastic elements that can not perceive and are found in the water.

Indiscriminate logging affects the ecosystem of birds, even in those areas that are not deforested, whether it is a legal or illegal practice, it always affects the surrounding fauna. Currently we see how large amounts of trees are cut down, huge sectors of forests are reduced to plains, either for the use of extracted resources or to exploit the land for the construction of urban spaces, the birds are being affected and the government ignores the negative effects this can cause.

The indiscriminate hunting of species has drastically reduced the number of members within huge groups of bird species found today and has even driven species to extinction, Although some governments have taken action on hunting and have imposed legal hunting seasons so that those who wish to can hunt as many species as they wish and after the season is over give the species a chance to reproduce, there are still people who break the rules and hunt even out of season and even hunt species which are not allowed.

Some governments, besides setting hunting seasons and establishing which species of animals are allowed to be hunted, have established hunting methods for some species which encourage a more dignified death for an animal and thus limit its suffering. This was due to the fact that they used ruthless hunting methods in which they devastated large groups of animals in a bloodthirsty way. (See Article: Gallo Giro Blanco).

Another determining factor in the extinction of animals is the breeding as pets, there are a large number of users of these animals who want them as pets, although this has been a practice that in some places has been suspended depending on the species in question, we continue to see how animals are captured illegally and sold to the highest bidder.

Depending on the rarity and beauty of a bird, the price is higher, this means that the birds that are in greater danger are much more valuable and therefore are the most sought after, there are some specimens of birds that are so beautiful that every person would like to have one at home to admire it, but unfortunately this practice of capture led to the extinction of many species of birds and has led to a critical state to those species that even today can be found but in small quantities.

Every day more and more people are becoming aware of the damage being done to animals with the deterioration of ecosystems, including campaigns have been developed in recent decades against deforestation and against the damage to the various species that are affected, coming to emerge some organizations clearly responsible for ensuring the safety of animals in the various regions where it reaches its jurisdiction.

Each one of these organizations has achieved significant changes in the stability of the species that are in danger, although in some regions they do not achieve many results since it is out of their hands to make a change, but in the culture of the people a great change has been achieved and more and more organizations are being created to safeguard the diverse species of animals that exist.

In some countries there are birds that are declared as national heritage or are adopted as symbols of some entity or organization, this campaign has created a little preservation of the species of these birds, motivating people to help this species to prosper.

Some places in various countries have been responsible for raising animals that are endangered, achieving that a race thrives, although some of the offspring are obtained in captivity, after they are stable and can stand on their own are released so they can procreate and continue the legacy of their species.

The scarlet macaw is currently considered an endangered species due to two factors, mainly the deforestation that have suffered the areas in which they are, either for resource exploitation or for land use, large numbers of these animals have been evicted from their natural habitat to benefit the human race, some companies responsible for deforestation forests are forced to plant a certain number of trees for each one they cut down, this is a law that has been applied in some parts of the world for some time.

Although in many occasions the profit motives outweigh the welfare of the natural environment, the fact of imposing that trees are planted for each one that is felled has meant that not so many trees are affected or at least a livelihood is left for those trees that are felled and taken advantage of. (See Article: Feeding the Geese).

The second determining factor that has decreased the population of scarlet macaws is the great demand that they have for the common public, due to its great beauty are many users who want to have one of these magnificent birds at home and even get to have more than one specimen depending on their taste for the animal. Although in many regions the capture and above all the sale of these animals has been prohibited, they continue to be done due to the high cost that they can have.

Most of the birds that are captured and sold eventually die because they have been adapted all their lives to the natural environment and are generally placed in cages which free them from the freedom and mobility to which they have been accustomed for many years. In most cases the captured specimens are placed unaccompanied by other birds of the same species, so the loneliness to which they are not accustomed affects them and these among other determining factors for these birds are those that end their lives, as they are animals so sensitive to changes and can perceive things with greater sensitivity, they die because they can not withstand the conditions to which they are subjected.

It has been studied that this species of Macaw in relation to other large Macaws is the one that can worse handle loneliness, so even though its capture is always advisable to place it in pairs, it is also suggested that the cages where they place them are spacious to allow the mobility of the same, and the more birds are in the same cage the larger the space should be so that all can move without causing damage to each other.

There are some lovers of these birds that breed them, but do not keep them in captivity, even though they are animals of wild origin they adapt very well to the social environment, the constant interaction with humans makes them docile, allowing them to stay in an open space without the need to flee. This practice is not frowned upon, since you can raise an animal in an open space with conditions similar to those of its natural environment, the same animal will be able to procreate with peace of mind and because it will be within a safe area, unexpected casualties will not occur due to the sudden change of its environment, unless some inconvenience occurs that is beyond our control.

We also got a red and yellow one

Although this Macaw is clearly classified as “Red Macaw” its color is more than that, since it shows contrasts that go beyond the red color, but even so the color that was taken into account to give it its characteristic name is the dark and strong red that represents it so much.

Within the Macaw species we can also find a scarlet red Macaw that has feathers of different colors, this is known as the “Ara Macao”. The plumage of this bird has a different red than the red Macaw, since it is a scarlet red, some of the feathers that highlight it may have yellow or blue tone and are found on the wings and tail of the same.

This bird lives a little distant from the scarlet macaw, since it can be found in areas from southeastern Mexico to central Bolivia. Because its most prominent colors and what is most often found in specimens are red and yellow is that this bird received its popular name of “Red and Yellow Macaw”, but the same should not be confused with the Red Macaw, despite having similar names are very different species of birds.

Scarlet Macaw in Argentina

The scarlet macaw is a bird that can be found in tropical areas, so the jungles of Argentina are a suitable place for it to develop, in addition to the climate is perfectly suited to this bird inhabit this region for many years.

Currently it is declared as an extinct bird in Argentina, its presence has been completely eradicated from the country, although this specimen is found in other parts of the world, apparently these areas are no longer suitable for their development and it is unknown if the reason why they left, it can be assumed that they are the logical reasons for deforestation and capture of these majestic birds, but in some cases were seen large numbers of birds evacuating areas, ie migrating and is believed to be due to a drastic climate change in the area. (See Article: Cacatua).

Although there is no official reason for the disappearance of this bird in this region, nowadays it is very rare to find it, it could be that it is seen but only in captivity by a natural person who decides to keep it as a pet.

Scarlet Macaw in Cuba

Cuba had its own Macaw, which has been called “Cuban Macaw” or more popularly as “Cuban Red Macaw”, although the Cubans also called it “Ara tricolor” (by its scientific name) and the aborigines called it “Cahuey”.

This bird existed in Cuba until the late nineteenth century, from that time was declared extinct in that region, this bird was majestic for the color of their feathers so showy and for that reason is that it was driven to extinction, this animal was constantly hunted for the colorful feathers that composed it.

In addition to obtaining its feathers, this specimen of Macaw was very desired among people to keep them as pets, not only in Cuba, in other parts of the world there was a great demand for these animals due to the beauty presented by the same and the imposing size in relation to other birds.

The capture of these birds to take them out of Cuba led to a great reduction in the number of local inhabitants, the constant hunting created countless deaths of the same and added to these the deforestation that existed at the time for the use of forest products created that the natural habitat of these animals was destroyed to the point of extinction for not having a place to take refuge and reproduce freely.

Currently the only known specimen of this bird is stuffed in Cuba, exactly in the collection of the Institute of Ecology and Systematics of CITMA.

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