Green-Winged Macaw

Green-Winged Macaw

Red-and-green macaw, Gentle Giant

Ara chloropterus
Population size
50-500 Thou
Life Span
30-60 years
Top speed
km/h mph 
g oz 
cm inch 
cm inch 

The red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus ), also known as the green-winged macaw, is a large, mostly-red macaw of the genus Ara.

This is the largest of the genus Ara, widespread in the forests and woodlands of northern and central South America. However, in common with other macaws, in recent years there has been a marked decline in its numbers due to habitat loss and illegal capture for the parrot trade.


This magnificent and easily distinguished parrot is one of the largest species of Macaw. The Green-winged macaw has yellow eyes, surrounded by bright red bars, made up of rows of small feathers, covering the white patch on the bare skin. The bird's chest, upper wings, upper back, and head are red. The legs of the bird are colored grey. The feathers of the middle wing are green with blue tips. The tail consists of motley plumage, surrounded by red feathers. The horn-colored upper beak is black on the sides while the lower beak is colored in black or dark grey.



The area of the Green-winged macaw distribution is partly Central and South America, stretching from eastern Panama to Colombia, Venezuela, and the Guianas, across the western part of South America from eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru to northern and eastern Bolivia. Throughout eastern South America, including Parana and Mato Grosso in Brazil, reaching Paraguay and Formosa in northern Argentina. The natural habitat of these birds is tropical rainforest, lowlands, and foothills. They are mainly found in interior regions, rarely occurring in coastal areas.

Green-Winged Macaw habitat map

Climate zones

Green-Winged Macaw habitat map
Green-Winged Macaw
Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

Habits and Lifestyle

Green-winged macaws are social birds, living in pairs as well as gathering into family groups or small flocks, consisting of 6-12 individuals. In feeding trees and at clay licks, however, these birds can occasionally be seen in even larger flocks, mixing with other macaws and making a lot of noise, each bird demonstrating its full vocal range. Green-winged macaws are diurnal, spending most of the time under the dense cover of rainforest, where they find shelter as well as socialize and feed. They also spend a lot of time, playing and cleaning each other's plumage, removing lice and ticks from the feathers. If you see 3 or 4 macaws together, it will probably be a pair, and their young. These birds are extremely shy, and rarely seen in the foliage. Feeling danger, the bird immediately flies off, emitting loud screeches.

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Green-winged macaws are herbivores (granivores and frugivores).Their diet mainly consists of seeds, fruits, nuts, and a wide variety of green plants. In addition, they consume the clay and bark of trees.

Mating Habits

28 days
3-4 months
2-3 eggs

Green-winged macaws have a monogamous mating system. They mate once in a lifetime, remaining and traveling together even out of the breeding season. They breed in December, nesting high in tree hollows. Usually, 2-3 eggs are laid and incubated for 28 days. The female is on the nest while the male provides her with food, regurgitating it from his throat pouch. By the end of the incubation period, the eggs begin hatching at 1-5 days intervals. The parents feed the chicks by means of regurgitation, provided that the firstling is always fed prior to others. During the first 3-4 months of their lives, the hatchlings stay in the nest, where the parents feed and care for them until the young leave the nest to find mates. Sexual maturity is reached at about 2-3 years old.


Population threats

Deforestation is among the major threats to this species, leading to the loss of their natural habitat. The bird is frequently hunted by the indigenous tribes due to its motley-colored feathers. Along with other parrot species, this bird has been captured for the pet trade. Presently, this macaw is protected by CITES II, prohibiting its capture and trade. And finally, the Green-winged macaw is nowadays extinct in some parts of its original range such as Argentina.

Population number

According to IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Green-winged macaw is 50,000-499,999 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

Feeding upon a wide variety of tree fruits, Green-winged macaws play a significant role in dispersing seeds of these fruits, thus sustaining many tree species.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • In its size, this bird is the second largest parrot only to the Hyacinth macaw.
  • The area of their range is one of the largest among macaws.
  • The Green-winged macaw can be easily confused with the Scarlet macaw since both species are mainly red in color.
  • This parrot possesses an extremely strong and powerful bill, allowing the bird to easily crack hard-shelled nuts like Brazil nut. The beak of the Green-winged macaw can generate a pressure of 2000 pounds per square inch.
  • They possess so-called “zygodactyl” feet, where two middle toes point forward and two outside toes face backward.
  • They use various vocalizations, some of them being quite similar to these of Common crows, such as cowing, shrieking, and yelping.
  • These parrots are not good imitators. As a matter of fact, macaws, living in the wild, do not imitate the calls of other birds. Mimicry is common only in captive individuals, who try to imitate human speech.

Coloring Pages


1. Green-Winged Macaw Wikipedia article -
2. Green-Winged Macaw on The IUCN Red List site -
3. Xeno-canto bird call -

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