Scarlet Macaw

The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Ara macao
  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Location: Central and South America.

Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaw

The Scoop

Noisy and Magnificent

The scarlet macaw is found in the canopy of humid, lowland rainforests near rivers in southern Mexico, through Central America to southern Brazil. It is one of the most beautiful members of the parrot family. This beautiful macaw has a creamy white, almost featherless face, with bright red plumage covering most of its body, wings and long tail. Brilliant blue and yellow feathers also adorn the lower wings. The eyes of Scarlet Macaws are located on the sides of their heads. This bird has wide strong wings and hollow bones that aid flight. Scarlet Macaws can fly at speeds  that  reach 35 miles per hour.  They live in flocks and are very noisy birds indeed. They can make a variety of sounds in order to communicate with other macaw.

The body of a Scarlet Macaw, from beak to tail, can be as long as 33 inches, which is about as tall as an average three year old kid. Nuts, leaves, berries and seeds from the rainforest make up the bulk of the scarlet macaw’s diet. It has a strong, curved beak to crack hard nuts and seed, as well as a tongue that can hold onto the kernel to pull it from the shell. Scarlet macaws also eat clay from riverbanks. 

Deforestation is the he main threat to scarlet macaws, due to the destruction of the rainforest, which are their home. They are also being hunted and caught by humans. Efforts have been made to help these beautiful birds. The World Parrot Trust was formed in 1989 to protect them in their natural environment.


Did You Know?

  • The scarlet macaw can eat fruits that are poisonous enough to kill other animals. This could be because they also eat large amounts of clay, which is thought to neutralize plant poisons.
  • Scarlet macaws, like other parrot species, travel long distances in search of food.
  • Scarlet macaws use a variety of harsh, loud screeching calls, guttural squawks and growls to communicate.
  • Scarlet macaws frequently use their left foot in handling food and in grasping other things. The right foot supports their body when they are using the other leg.


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