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What Is a Blue-Throated Macaw?

Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee

The blue-throated macaw, or Ara glaucogularis, is a rather sizeable type of parrot native to the forests and plains of Bolivia and Argentina. This bird's tail, wings, head, and throat are usually bright blue, while its breast will typically be bright yellow. The average blue-throated macaw has a sturdy, curved black beak, and its cere, the strip of flesh above its beak, will usually turn bright red when the bird is agitated. The typical specimen weighs about 27 ounces (750 grams) and reaches an adult length of about 33 inches (85 cm). The blue-throated macaw normally mates for life, and is considered easy to breed in captivity, though their wild numbers are declining due to encroachment on their native palm tree habitats.

These parrots can live for more than 80 years, though they usually reach reproductive maturity in two to four years. The average female blue-throated macaw will lay two to three eggs per breeding season. They typically place their nests in the trunks of dead palm trees. Chicks will remain in the nest for about 16 weeks after hatching.


Researchers have noted an interesting anomaly in the way that blue-throated macaws raise their young. In the average clutch of three chicks, the mother will usually give more food to the two older, stronger chicks. She will typically dole out a minimal amount of food to the youngest third chick. Should something happen to one of the two older chicks, the mother will begin feeding the third chick as normal. This chick will then grow rapidly to a size and strength appropriate with its age.

This species of macaw is believed to be extremely rare in the wild. Some researchers believe that there are only a few hundred blue-throated macaws left in their native habitat. This decline in the blue-throated macaw's wild population is largely blamed on the destruction of their native palm forests, due to human agricultural activities. The exotic pet bird trade may be also partially to blame for declines in the blue-throated macaw's wild numbers, though legislation and changes in airline policy have led to a marked reduction in the illicit trade of wild blue-throated macaws. In any case, the blue-throated macaw is considered relatively easy to breed in captivity, and continues to remain a popular exotic pet.

Nuts and seeds make up the blue-throated macaw's normal diet. They're generally capable of cracking extremely large, thick-shelled nuts with their powerful beaks. As pet birds, they are considered calm, docile, affectionate, and playful. Though quieter than most species of macaw, the blue-throated macaw can learn to talk, and will generally acquire a formidable vocabulary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Blue-Throated Macaw?

The Blue-Throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) is a vibrant and rare bird species native to the Gran Chaco region of Bolivia. It's known for its striking blue throat, a feature that distinguishes it from other macaws. This bird has a vividly colored plumage with blue wings and tail, and a yellow underbelly, making it a breathtaking sight in the wild.

How many Blue-Throated Macaws are left in the wild?

According to recent estimates by BirdLife International, there are only about 250 to 300 Blue-Throated Macaws remaining in the wild. This critically endangered species faces threats from habitat loss and the illegal pet trade, which have drastically reduced their numbers over the past few decades.

What are the main threats to the Blue-Throated Macaw?

The primary threats to the Blue-Throated Macaw include habitat destruction due to agricultural expansion and cattle ranching, as well as poaching for the illegal pet trade. Conservation efforts are crucial to protect the remaining population and their habitat to ensure the species' survival.

What is being done to conserve the Blue-Throated Macaw?

Conservation initiatives for the Blue-Throated Macaw involve habitat protection, nest box programs, and local community engagement. Organizations like the World Parrot Trust and Asociación Armonía have been instrumental in these efforts, working to secure protected areas and raise awareness about the bird's plight.

Where can Blue-Throated Macaws be found?

Blue-Throated Macaws are endemic to Bolivia, specifically the savannas of the Beni Department. They inhabit areas with large trees for nesting, near open grasslands where they can forage for food. Their range is quite limited, which contributes to their vulnerability and endangered status.

What do Blue-Throated Macaws eat?

Blue-Throated Macaws have a diet consisting mainly of fruits, nuts, and seeds from the palm trees native to their habitat. They play a crucial role in their ecosystem as seed dispersers, helping to maintain the health and diversity of their environment.

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