The Blue-and-gold macaw is named for its beautiful blue body with a dark lemon-yellow chest. It is also known as the blue-and-yellow macaw. It has a black beak with a strip of green feathers just above it and a feathery black "beard" just below it. Part of its face is without feathers and when it is excited its face will blush pink. Its feet are black or dark gray.
These macaws are native to Central and South America, and their range includes Venezuela south to Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and also parts of Panama. They live in woodlands and forests.
These parrots form close-knit groups in the wild. They are gregarious and will spend time together with others in their flock, playing, bathing, and hunting for edible fruit in the forest. Macaws tend to enjoy being with their flock mates but during the breeding season they do partner off to raise their young. These birds communicate with each other by loud screaming and squawking calls. Pairs will fly so closely to each other that their wings almost touch. They are active during the day. When looking for food they may form small, noisy flocks in the early morning. By the middle of the day they begin looking for shade. These macaws are extremely cautious and at the merest sign of danger they take off into the air, screeching as they go.
These birds form monogamous pairs and mate for life. The breeding season is from January to July and they breed every year or second year. Nests are made high up in trees, usually in holes made by other animals. 2 to 3 eggs are laid and they are incubated for 24 to 28 days. The young hatch featherless and blind, feathers beginning to develop after 10 days. Fledglings become independent within 3 months. Both males and females look after the young and are very aggressive towards intruders when protecting their family. They gain sexual maturity when they are 3 to 4 years old.
The major threat to Blue-and-gold macaws is habitat loss due to Amazonian deforestation. They are suspected to lose third of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (38 years). The other biggest threat is poaching and illegal pet trade. 55,531 wild-caught individuals have been recorded since 1981 when their trade was restricted by CITES.
According to IUCN Red List, the wild population of Blue-and-gold macaws has not been quantified, but it is believed to be more than 10,000 adult birds, with a decline over the past 10 years of less than 10%. IUCN Red List describe this species as uncommon throughout its range and classify as Least Concern (LC) with decreasing population trend.
Blue-and-gold macaws are important seed eaters in tropical forests. They can have an influence on forest dynamics through eating and spreading seeds.