Blue and Gold Macaw

Ara Ararauna

Scientific Name

Blue and Gold Macaw:  
Ara Ararauna

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Blue and gold macaws can be found in areas of South America, specifically Eastern Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, northeastern Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina.

Natural Habitat

This species of macaw prefers to inhabit forests that grow in swampy ground or along rivers.

Physical Characteristics

  • Macaws are the largest and most colorful members of the parrot family.  The blue and gold macaw has a rich blue-colored crown, nape, back, wings and upper side of the tail.  The forehead is bright green.  The sides of the neck and the underparts of the feathers are a golden yellow.  The skin around the eye is bare except for small, scattered black feathers in narrow lines.  There is a large black patch on the throat.  They have a large head, short neck, and large, black, hooked beak.  Each foot has sharp, grasping claws; two toes in front and two behind.  They have distinctively long tail feathers which are an overall 31-35 inches in length.  The voice of these birds is a very loud shriek, though they also mimic a wide variety of sounds and are excellent talkers.

Quick Facts

  1. Most macaws have been imported to Europe and North America to be sold as pets.  This has had a serious effect on the wild population; some species are already extinct.  Collectors often cut down trees so they can take young macaws from their nests.  But the birds are often killed in the process.  However, the greatest threat to the macaw’s survival is the destruction of its habitat as forests are cut down to clear land for agriculture.


Education Department

Conservation Status

Critically Endangered: The Blue and Gold Macaw is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

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In the wild, blue and gold macaws are completely dependent upon trees for their food, which includes fruits, seeds, berries and nuts. In human care, they are fed parrot mix, fruits, vegetables, greens and moist dog food.