Ara ararauna



Scientific name: Ara ararauna

English names: Blue-and-yellow macaw

Spanish and local names: Guacamayo, Papagayo o Paraba azul-amarillo

Residents at la Senda Verde: +10

Size: 76–86 cm (30–34 in)

Weight: 0.900–1.5 kg (2–3 lb)


The Ara Genus of the Parrot Family

Blue-and-yellow macaws are one of the eight members of the Ara genus of the Pssitacidae, or Parrot family, and can be commonly named macaws. The Macaw is the largest of all parrots; they have the largest beak, the longest tail and are overall greater in size.

Habitat and Distribution

Blue-and-yellow macaws occur in most of the Amazon River basin, in countries like Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. Some populations exist in Panama and western Ecuador, and some were introduced to the Miami-Dade County in Florida. This species used to exist in Paraguay but it is believed that they are now extinct in that country.

Image taken from Macaulay Library (ML) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Life and Behaviour

Macaws are adapted to the rainforest. They have very large beaks for breaking the shells of palm tree nuts and seeds. Their tongues have a bone in them and are used to take meat off of fleshy fruits. They have large claws to cling to the tree branches and can use both the claws and the beak to climb up the trees. Their plumage has bright colors and the brighter and bolder they are, the more successful they will be in attracting a mate. Macaws are monogamous, they will choose a mate and stay with them for the rest of their life, if one of them dies, the partner will stay alone and never find another mate again.

Like most parrots, macaws are very intelligent birds, they are social and live in flocks of 10 to 30 individuals. They nest in hollow palms and trees or in burrows in wall faces. They will fly together during the day to feed, and can produce all sorts of calls, squeaks and yells to communicate, to mark territory and identify one another. Macaw clay licks are very well known, which are exposed clay sites that are visited by Macaws to eat such clay. Some sources believe it is a way they can get salt, other believe that it is a way for them to have better digestion or to neutralize poisons from certain fruits they eat.


Macaws in general have a long history of being sold and traded as pets, and the Blue-and-Yellow Macaw is one of the most traded and readily available macaws on the market. Their beautiful colors, intelligence and ability to imitate human voice are the reasons why they have been sought after for so long. They are also easy to reproduce in captivity, which makes them even more

Blue-and-Yellow macaws are listed by the UICN as LC or “Least Concern” meaning they are not considered an endangered species due to the large populations still existing. This however does not mean that their numbers are shrinking. Entire countries like Paraguay have seen this species disappear from their territories, mostly from habitat loss.

At La Senda Verde we have more than ten Blue-and-Yellow macaws, all rescued victims of illegal wildlife trafficking. These birds have suffered a lot because of people thinking that having a macaw as a pet is a good idea.

View Conservation Assessment on this species


LOVE BIRDS- Macaws have only one mate in life. If their partner dies they will stay alone the rest of their life


NUTCRACKER- Macaws play an important role in seed dispersion in tropical forests. Their beaks are so strong they can crack open a coconut.


ONE BY ONE- Macaws lay two to three eggs, but they will only feed the strongest chick. The other eggs are there in case one of them doesn’t hatch or dies.”



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