Macaw Species: With Overview and Status

Listing of common and rare macaw bird species with links to informational pages. This macaw parrot occurs naturally in open and semi-open habitats in central and eastern South America.

Blue and Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Spix's Macaws (Cyanopsitta spixii)

Below listed are all living (and most of the extinct) Macaw Species; starting with the rarest and largest of them all – down to the smallest living macaw species.

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    The Rarest Macaws: Extinct or close to extinction

    Genera Anodorhynchus and Cyanopsitta:

    The members of these groups include the rarest parrots still in existence; they are either in danger of extinction or are already extinct in the wild. These parrots occur naturally in open and semi-open habitats in central and eastern South America.

    They are often referred to as the “Blue Macaws” based on their predominantly blue plumage.

    Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)

    Body Length: about 1 meter (40 inches)

    The largest living parrot species with a bright blue plumage, bare yellow eye rings and the base at the lower beak forming a yellow crescent giving the illusion that this bird is smiling.

    The large, powerful beak defies its reputation as a “Gentle Giant” because of its gentle dispositions.

    These parrots are rare and endangered; and captive birds are expensive, costing (in the United States) up to $12,000.

    Hyacinthine Macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)

    Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari)

    Body Length: 70 – 81 cm (27.5–32 inches)

    One of the rarest parrots in the world with a limited range in Brazil, South America. It is estimated that less than 1,000 of these birds still exist due to trapping for the exotic bird trade and hunting.

    Glaucous Macaws (Anodorhynchus glaucus)

    Body Length: 70 – 72 cm (27.5 – 28.5 in)

    These large South American macaws are generally considered extinct or on the verge of extinction, as the last reliable sightings date back to the 1960. They were found in the border region of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and possibly also Uruguay.

    Genus Cyanopsitta:

    Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii)

    Body Length: 55-60 cm (22 – 24 inches)

    By far the rarest Macaw in the world with no known wild specimens remaining. They are currently listed as Critically Endangered (IUCN, 2004).

    Genus Ara:

    Ara are macaws from Central and South America, with eight extant (living) species and at least three extinct species.

    Large Macaws (sorted by plumage details and size – largest first)

    Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloropterus), also known as the Green-winged Macaw

    Blue / Yellow / Red Macaws

    Green-winged Macaw (Ara chloropterus/ chloroptera)

    Body Length: 86.4 – 99 cm (34- 39 inches)

    One of the larger species. They are very intelligent and readily learn tricks. They are very skilled escape artists and owners will be challenged to keep them locked up in their cages or flights.

    Even though they are noisy, they vocalize far less often and not as prolonged as other macaws. All things considered, this is one of the quieter macaws.

    Status: Least Concern; however, their numbers in the wild are decreasing. (IUCN).

    Scarlet or Red and Yellow Macaw (Ara macao)

    Body Length: 80 – 96.5 cm (31.5 – 38.4 inches)

    These beautiful birds are said to be more sensitive than other macaws and neglected or abused birds can become belligerent and prone to biting. They don’t tolerate other birds, pets or children well. Well-adjusted and cared-for birds are generally very affectionate and absolutely devoted to their owners.

    Status: Least Concern; however, their numbers in the wild are decreasing. (IUCN).

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      Blue and Gold or Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

      Body Length: about 76 – 91.5 cm (30 – 36 inches)

      They are adaptable, playful and generally sociable; the most commonly kept pet macaw in North America.

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        Status: The most common and most available macaw. Currently listed as “Least Concern (IUCN); however, their numbers in the wild are decreasing.

        Blue-throated or Caninde Macaw or Wagler’s (Ara glaucogularis)

        Body Length: 75–85 cm (30–34 in)

        It looks very similar to the Blue and Gold above. Some describe this parrot as being somewhat better natured – but this may very well be a case of individual experiences and opinion. No matter what – this parrot is just as beautiful and amazing as their relatives.

        Status: These macaws are very rare in the wild, but breed well in captivity. Their numbers have somewhat stabilized in recent years, but because of their small population and limited range, they are listed as “Critically Endangered.”

        Cuban or Cuban Red Macaws (Ara tricolor)


        Green-winged or Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloroptera)

        Green Macaws:

        Captive birds are sometimes seen, but they are very rarely seen as pets, even though they are said to be calmer and quieter than many of the better known and more common macaws. They are only recommended for experienced breeders and handlers.

        Status: Endangered Species with decreasing population trend (IUCN)

        • Military Macaw (Ara militaris) – Body Length: 70 – 84 cm (27 – 33 inches)

        Maybe not as flashy as some of their cousins, the Militaries are nonetheless beautiful parrots and are appreciated not only for their good looks, but for their talking abilities and pleasant disposition.’

        Status: Vulnerable; their population trend is decreasing (IUCN).

        Status: Highly endangered South American macaws with decreasing population trend (IUCN). Estimates of their numbers in the wild range from 150 to less than a thousand.

        Small Ara Macaws

        This smallest member of the “Ara” family also has a mostly green plumage. This species is usually considered part of the mini macaws.

        • Severe Macaw or Chestnut-fronted Macaw (Ara severus) – Body Length: 40 – 50 cm (15.6 – 20 inches)

        Status: Relatively common in the wild; therefore listed as “Least Concern”, with a stable population trend (IUCN).

        Hahn's Macaw

        Genera Primolius and DiopsittacaMini Macaws

        The members of this genus are native to South America. Their plumages are mostly green with blue, red and yellow highlights. In aviculture / captivity, macaws with a body length of less than 20 inches or 50 cm are commonly referred to as “miniature macaws” or – in short – “mini macaws.”

        Genus Primolius

        The members of this genus approximate the size of an African Grey.

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          Yellow-collared Macaw (Primolius auricollis) – Body Length: 38 – 40 cm (14.96 – 15.75 inches)

          Illiger’s or Blue-winged Macaw (Primolius maracana) – Body Length: 35.6 – 43.2 cm (14 to 17 inches)

          Blue-headed Macaw (Primolius couloni) – Body Length: 40 – 41 cm (15.6 – 16 inches)

          Genus Diopsittaca

          The smallest of all mini-macaws and, in fact, all macaws, the Hahn’s Macaw is barely larger than a cockatiel.

          Hahn’s Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis nobilis) – nominate race and the smallest macaw species – Body Length: 30 – 31 cm (12 – 14 inches)

          Noble Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis cumanensis)

          Long-winged Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis longipennis)

          Captive-bred Hybrids Large Macaws

          Further Macaw Information

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