Blue-and-gold Macaw, Ara ararauna

Image Credit: Luc Viatour (

The Blue-and-yellow Macaw or Blue-and-gold Macaw (Ara ararauna), is a species of parrot that is found in tropical South America from Trinidad and Venezuela south to Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. In Central America, it is restricted to Panama. In Trinidad it is endangered, and in western Ecuador it is possibly extinct. It remains widespread and common in most of mainland South America. Its habitat is forests and woodlands.

The adult can reach a length of 30 to 34 inches and weigh between 2 and 3 pounds. It has blue wings and tail, dark blue chin, golden yellow underparts and a green forehead. The bare face is white, and will turn pink when it gets excited. Its black beak is very strong and used for crushing nuts, climbing, and hanging from branches. Some variances in color in the underside exist throughout the range of this species.

The Blue-and-gold Macaw usually mates for life. Mating takes place in the springtime and lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. These birds can be aggressive around this time. Its nest is a hole in a tree and the female lays two to three eggs and incubates them for about 28 days. The young fledge the nest at about 90 days old. The diet of this bird consists of seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and some greens and roots. Captive birds will also eat bird pellets, fresh vegetables, bread, and even pasta.

This bird is popular in the pet trade mostly due to its striking appearance and ability as a talking bird. However, the large size makes housing a problem. They require more effort and knowledge from the owner as well. It is an very intelligent and social bird, so for the right person, this species could make a loving companion. This can be a noisy bird and emits a high-pitched scream and other loud noises. It should be known too that these birds have destructive chewing habits.

Owners of this species should avoid feeding foods with high fat content. There are also some foods which are highly toxic to these and other parrots. Cherries, avocados, chocolate, and caffeine should be avoided. Some other safe foods are oranges, apples, peanuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.

Image Caption: Blue-and-Gold Macaw in flight. Credit: Luc Viatour/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)