Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)


French: Ara rouge German: Scharlachara Spanish: Guacamayo macao

Psittacus Macao


, 1758,

South America


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. cyanopterus Wiedenfeld, 1995 – locally SE Mexico (E Chiapas) to E Nicaragua.
  • A. m. macao (Linnaeus, 1758) – Costa Rica (mainly Pacific slope), S Panama (Azuero Peninsula and Coiba I) and N & E Colombia E through Venezuela and the Guianas to C Brazil, and S to E Ecuador, E Peru and NE Bolivia.
  • Descriptive notes

    84–89 cm; 900–1490 g. Head and most of body red; large bare facial area extending round eye white; bill whitish above, blackish below; greater and median wing-... read more


    Loud and harsh calls similar to other large Ara macaws. Flight call a rasping “raah”,... read more


    Largely in humid terra firme lowland evergreen forest and gallery woodland in savannas,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of Jacaranda, Dialium, Sclerolobium, Hymenaea, Caryocar, Licarria, Hevea... read more


    Mar in Mexico; Apr in Nicaragua; Oct–Apr in Costa Rica, with flying young noted as early as Feb on Coiba I, Panama; evidence for Mar... read more


    Seasonal movements in search of fruit occur, but pattern not determined other than that in Colombia... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES I. Common over much of extensive range where habitat remote from human disturbance, with a density of 1 pair/km² in Manu... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). 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 23 March 2018).