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Scarlet macaw

Ara macao

One of the most recognizable of the macaw parrots this bird also has one of the loudest calls. Their beaks are extremely strong and can even crack open hard shells such as those of the Brazil nut.

Interesting fact: Macaws like all parrots tend to use their left foot for holding food while they eat.

Find out more...


Habitat & threats

They live in the forest canopy and are often found at the clay banks of river beds; eating clay helps them digest toxic seeds and leaves. The deforestation of their home range is one reason this bird is endangered. For many years, they have also been very popular as pets and trapped for the trade. Natural predators include small cats, birds of prey and snakes.



They feed mostly on seeds, nuts and fruits in the high canopy of the forest.


Breeding and social dynamics

Forming very strong pair bonds, in the wild pairs can be seen flying so close to each other that their wings almost touch. They live in pairs but can be found in groups of up to 30 individuals when feeding. The pair incubates the 2-4 eggs in a deep nest in the hollow of a tree. Youngsters fledge after around 90-100 days and stay with their parents for about a year.