Scarlet Macaw (Ara Macao): Guide and Supplements

It is native to the moist evergreen forests of the Neotropics. Its range extends from 500 m (1,600 ft) (at least in the east) to 1,000 m (3,300 ft) from southeastern Mexico through Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Brazil, as far as the Caribbean Islands. . Trinidad. Coiba as well as the Pacific Islands. The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is a large yellow, red, and blue Central and South American parrot, a member of a large group of Neotropical parrots.


Macaws are the largest parrots in the world – Scarlet Macaws have a body length of up to 33 inches from beak to tail. This beautiful macaw has a creamy white, almost featherless face, with bright red feathers covering most of its body, wings, and long tail. Bright blue and yellow feathers also adorn the lower wings. The bird’s strong beak is adapted to crack the hard nuts found in the rainforest.


The scarlet macaw can be found from southern Mexico to Peru, as well as in Bolivia, eastern Brazil, and the island of Trinidad. They prefer to spend their time in forests and near rivers, in large groups in tall, deciduous trees. Macaws also mate for life, nesting in holes in dead canopy trees from January to April. Mated adults lay two eggs per year, and hunt each other and their offspring for hours, cleaning insects from their feathers.

Diet and Nutrition

Nuts, leaves, berries, and seeds of the rainforest make up the bulk of the scarlet macaw’s diet. Its strong, hooked beak is perfect for cracking nuts and seeds. Interestingly, the scarlet macaw can eat fruit toxic enough to kill other animals. This may be because they also eat large amounts of soil, which is believed to neutralize plant poisons


The primary threats to the scarlet macaw are habitat loss from rainforest destruction and heavy exploitation of the pet trade. In Costa Rica, these birds, which are often stolen from their nests, are sold on the black market for $200. In the United States, baby birds smuggled into the country can be sold for up to $4,000. Since tourists bring in about $14,000 a year to see birds like the scarlet macaw in the wild, biologists hope local governments will pay more attention to protecting these spectacular birds.

Origin and History

Scarlet macaws are native to tropical rainforest regions of Central and South America. Its preferred habitat is a moist evergreen forest at an altitude of about 1,000 to 3,000 feet. In the wild, it lives mostly in the canopy and topmost layers of trees.

This species has a wide natural range but is threatened in many areas due to deforestation and illegal trapping for the pet trade. The red macaw is on the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix 1 list. Commercial trade of these wild birds is prohibited, meaning that these birds are not available in the U.S. Import is illegal.


Scarlet’s striking plumage may initially grab your attention, but its personality keeps you enthralled. Scarlet macaws are intelligent birds with an abundance of energy and character. They make great companions with sweet natures.

In the wild, red macaws live in small flocks. If you keep this bird as a single pet bird, you become its flock mate and can form a strong bond. To support this bird as a pet housemate, you must be observant and interact with it daily. If not properly trained and socialized it can become aggressive and destructive. Scarlet macaws are temperamental birds that can latch onto a person. To avoid this behavior, train them from an early age to socialize with each member of the family.

The impressively large beak of this bird is powerful. It may bite if provoked. This bird may not be a great fit for families whose children are too young to understand bird warning signs or boundaries. All make noises like macaws at times. They can learn to talk, although its blue and gold macaw cousins are known to be more prolific talkers.

Common Health Problems

Scarlet macaws, like other large parrots, are prone to self-mutilation and feather plucking when bored or neglected. These birds are susceptible to a variety of nutritional disorders and diseases, such as macaw wasting syndrome (proventricular dilatation disease), parrot fever (psittacosis), and cetacean beak and feather disease (viral infection).

An enlarged beak is also sometimes a problem; This can be prevented if you provide the macaw with hard chew toys and rough surfaces to peck on.

Scarlet Macaw (Ara Macao)


Macaws are large birds and need plenty of space and time to play and stretch their muscles. These are active birds by nature. These birds need the means to burn energy. A scarlet macaw should be allowed outside the cage for at least two hours a day; Five hours is optimal.

Rotate a diverse supply of chew toys to help exercise his powerful beak and jaws. Bumpy toys that can be thrashed help the jaw muscles while providing an outlet for the chewing instinct. A play gym or a parrot cargo net that allows your macaw to play and climb on can be a great activity to help your bird meet his exercise needs.

Caring for the Scarlet Macaw

Macaws are the largest of parrots. A scarlet macaw is best suited to a large space and will not thrive in a cage that is too small. Get a cage that is at least 2 1/2 feet by 3 feet. It needs lots of time outside the cage, and if it doesn’t get it, the bird can develop behavioral problems. It would resort to feather plucking and other forms of self-mutilation. They can get bored quite easily, so give them big swings and toys. Once a week, bathe your macaw using the fine-mist setting of a hand-held shower sprayer or bathe your bird with lukewarm water.

Speech and Tone

Confident and friendly, Scarletts are usually eager to learn tricks and develop a vocabulary of 5 to 10 words. Scarlets can be very loud which may make them a questionable choice for apartment or condominium dwellers. If you are sensitive to loud noises, you may want to consider getting another species of bird.

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