Military Macaw


 Military Macaw

Scientific Name

Ara militaris


The Military macaw is a medium-sized macaw found in Mexico and South America. They are usually found in pairs or in small flocks of up to ten birds. Roosts consisting of much larger numbers of birds are found on cliffs or in large trees.

The scientific name, Ara militaris, was inspired by the olive green colour of the macaw’s feathers, which is similar in colour to military uniforms. Adult males and females are similar in colour, size and weight. All macaws are monomorphic, meaning there are no obvious differences between the sexes. The plumage of young birds is duller in comparison to the adults. Young macaws will have dark brown pupils while the adults have yellow rings around their pupils.

Military macaws communicate through sight and sound. They are often heard before they are seen. They are a very noisy bird making a variety of loud cracking and shrieking sounds, including a loud ‘kraa-aak’. When a flock becomes aware of a potential predator it falls silent before noisily exploding from cover. The sudden movement and noise temporarily confuses the predator. They show emotions through numerous ways such as flashing their eyes (voluntary narrowing their pupils), cocking their head, fluffing feathers and head bobbing.

A wide variety of parrots visit earth banks to take mineral rich soil. This has a very important function as it helps neutralise the toxic effects of poisons that are ingested from fruits and plants.


Macaws are herbivores so they eat a selection of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables daily.

Size Fact

They reach up to 70cm in length.

Food Fact

Monkeys and other tree-dwelling mammals and snakes can take parrot eggs and young chicks.

Fun Fact

Their faces turn red in a “blush” if they are excited.

IUCN Red list

The Military macaw is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The main cause of the decline in numbers of these birds is the pet trade

Where do I live?

The military macaw is found in the rainforests of Mexico and South America where it inhabits humid forests, wooded foothills and canyons 

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