Family Parrots (Psittacidae)


Military Macaw (Ara militaris)


French: Ara militaire German: Soldatenara Spanish: Guacamayo militar

Psittacus militaris


, 1766,

no locality, Colombia suggested


Sometimes treated as conspecific with A. ambiguus, but, despite evidence of interbreeding, the characters of the two forms are constantly different over their respective ranges (see below). Races differ rather little, and species sometimes regarded as monotypic#R. Proposed race sheffleri included in mexicanus. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. mexicanus Ridgway, 1915 – W & NE Mexico from C Sonora to Oaxaca and from E Nuevo León to E San Luís Potosí (now disappeared from most of the range).
  • A. m. militaris (Linnaeus, 1766) – Santa Marta Mts, Sierra de Perijá and Coastal Range of N Venezuela S through Andes of Colombia, E Ecuador, Peru and W Bolivia.
  • A. m. bolivianus Reichenow, 1908 – E slope of Andes of C Bolivia (W Santa Cruz) to N Argentina (N Salta).
  • Descriptive notes

    70–71 cm; 972–1134 g. Forehead red; bare patch on face extending over eye white (often flushing pinkish-red) with dark transverse feather lines; rest of crown,... read more


    Calls loud and strident, audible at considerable distance. Flight call a loud harsh “raah”, similar... read more


    Relatively dry montane evergreen and tropical deciduous forest, gallery woodland and pine-oak... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes Jessenia bataua palm, Melia azedarach fruit, and Ficus figs. In tropical dry and oak (Quercus... read more


    Reportedly from Mar in Mexico, but other evidence indicates as late as Jun–Jul. No information elsewhere in range. Nest in hole in... read more


    In Colombia regularly crosses E Andes from Huila to Caquetá, and then present in Cueva de... read more

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. CITES I. Very extensive, but fragmented range. In Mexico, uncommon to frequent in N part range, but possibly extinct in S, largely through trade. Reintroduction... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). Military Macaw (Ara militaris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 March 2018).