Blue-and-Gold Macaw

Blue-and-Gold Macaw

Blue-and-Yellow macaw

Ara ararauna
Population size
above 10,000
Life Span
50-60 yrs
24 km/h
900-1.500 g
76-86 cm
81.28-91.44 cm

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.

Blue-and-Gold Macaw habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

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.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

These macaws eat mainly nuts, seeds, and fruits. Their strong beaks are used to crush seeds and break open nut shells. Sometimes they consume clay from riverbanks to help them digest toxins from unripe seeds they have eaten.

Mating Habits

24-28 days
3 months
2-3 eggs

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.


Population threats

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.

Population number

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.

Ecological niche

Blue-and-gold macaws are important seed eaters in tropical forests. They can have an influence on forest dynamics through eating and spreading seeds.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Macaws crack open buts with their strong beaks. They are also good at chewing up things in your house.
  • When a macaw pair can't find their own nest, they take another bird's nest and kill the hatchlings.
  • The fruit of the Jabillo tree is a favorite for macaws.
  • As with humans, macaws do not talk when they are eating, and so it's not easy to see them at that time.
  • The macaw likes to remain inside a deep hole in a crumbling tree where he is out of sight.
  • Palm trees provide a perfect hiding place to avoid predators like eagles.
  • Mating pairs can be easily spotted within a flying flock, as they stay very close to each other.
  • Avocados and cherries are toxic for macaws. They can eat apples, oranges, grapes, walnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.


1. Blue-and-Gold Macaw Wikipedia article -
2. Blue-and-Gold Macaw on The IUCN Red List site -

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