Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Blue-and-yellow Macaw


The blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna), also known as the blue-and-gold macaw, is a large South American parrot with mostly blue top parts and light orange underparts, with gradient hues of green on top of its head. It is a member of the large group of neotropical parrots known as macaws. It inhabits forest (especially varzea, but also in open sections of terra firme or unflooded forest), woodland and savannah of tropical South America. They are popular in aviculture because of their striking color, ability to talk, ready availability in the marketplace, and close bonding to human(s). They can also live for 65–70 years.

Distribution And Habitat

The Blue-and-yellow Macaw is native to eastern Panama, Paraguay, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina (Dickinson 2003). It is introduced and established on Puerto Rico, where there is one population in the metropolitan area of San Juan, which has experienced declines and increases during the last decades (Falcón and Tremblay 2018). It is associated with Roystonea palms for food, roosting, and nesting (J.A. Salguero-Faría, personal observation 2009). In its native habitat, it occurs mostly in seasonally fl ooded forests, gallery forests along waterways, lightly timbered savannas, and in some regions also in deciduous forests far from water (Forshaw 2006). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of six records within five hexagons or 1 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the five hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of probable in 60 percent (three) of the hexagons and possible in 40 percent (two) (see map). Blue-and-yellow Macaw distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 191Blue-and-yellow Macaw/Guacamayo Azuliamarillo

Blue-and-yellow Macaw Distribution

Breeding Habits

This species nests high in a hole of a dead palm, and breeding occurs generally from November to May in its native range, according to previously published reports (Juniper and Parr 1998). Atlas results suggest that this species breeds during the months of April, May, July, and October (see chart). Overall, the breeding activity peaks in May and July, and mostly takes place within the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Results suggest that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (80 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map). It may also breed within subtropical wet forest life zones at higher elevations (20 percent of the hexagons).


The current global population trend of the Blue-and-yellow Macaw has not been quantified or assessed, but the species is described as uncommon (Stotz and others 1996). However, it is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2018). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Blue-and-yellow Macaw has a protected habitat in land of 4 percent or 4.8 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (119 km2).