Military Macaw
Name: Military Macaw
Scientific name: Ara militaris
Range: Northern South America
Habitat: Tropical Zones
Status: Endangered
Diet in the wild: fruit, vegetable matter, nuts and seeds 

Diet in the zoo: herbivore diet

Location in the zoo:  Upper walkway just beyond Raptor Canyon


Physical description:

  • Length is 28" from beak to tail

  • Wing length is 14"

  • Green in color with a red forehead and small amounts of white, black, blue, and yellow on other parts of the body.

  • The young's plumage is duller in color than that of the mature macaws.
General information:

Military Macaws inhabit an area from Mexico southward, especially Colombia, northwestern Venezuela, northern Peru, and eastern Ecuador.  They can live in pairs, in families, or in flocks as large as forty.  They prefer to roost in the highest outer branches of trees, and are easily identified even out of sight by their loud screeching and croaking.  Military Macaws do not have to hunt for their food, they eat fruit and nuts that are available in the area. The name "military" may have been given to the birds when they were first imported into Europe by military personnel.  

Special behaviorial and
breeding information:

Military Macaw FWZMilitary Macaws are very social birds, as illustrated by the fact that they can live in large groups.  Their loud noises can almost be thought of as conversation.  Military Macaws are also not easily frightened.  It takes a very large threat to get them to leave their perch, especially when they are feeding.

The breeding season of the Military Macaw is from about January to March.  The female can lay as many as four eggs which are tended for about a month, 28 days before they hatch.  The female is the only one who tends the eggs and the young.

Macaws in captivity may frequently be hybridized with related species. In the photo above, the bird behind the military macaw is a hybrid.

Personal Observations: 

The Military Macaws are an extremely loud group of birds.  Their noise gives them away long before you see them.  They blend in very well with their surroundings.  If they are on a high limb of a tree, they almost seem to disappear.  However, when you do see them they are beautiful birds who seem to be communicating with each other.  They also seem to be a little bit aggressive.

Source Materials:

     Oliver L. Austin Jr. 
     Birds of the World
     Golden Press Inc., 1961, p.147 

     The Online Book of Parrots
     H.J. Pfeffer 
     February 1996 

     The Military Macaw Page
     Thomas Caris 
     July 29, 2000

Page author: female hackerMelissa Bearden 

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