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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.

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