Red Fronted Macaw

The Red-Fronted Macaw is primarily olive green in color. They get their name from the flashy red patches. They have red feathering on their forehead area, their ear area behind the eyes, the thighs, and a bit on their shoulders. The red on the shoulders is surrounded by orange and yellow. The wings, when open, reveal a brilliant blue.

This same blue appears on the tip of the tail as well. The eyes are orange and match the bird well. The face is pink and the bare area is not as large and most other macaws. The males and females look the same, so determining the sex of a bird must be done by a veterinarian. They measure about 2 feet from head to the tip of the tail, so they are on the smaller end of the large macaws.

They weigh an average of just over a pound. This bird originated in Bolivia. They are available as pets here in the United States, but are considered endangered in Bolivia and are now illegal to capture and sell for the pet trade. Their numbers are thought to be between 1000 and 4000 individuals in the wild. This is very small, especially considering that the laws against capturing the birds are being broken every day. In addition to the population being decimated by illegal capture for the pet trade, these birds are suffering from a diminished habitat.

Their homes are being taken over by farmland and ranches. Fires are burning their lands as well. They live in dry thorny brush and dry subtropical woodland. They nest on rocky cliffs, such as those found around rivers. All of these areas seem to be great places for humans to lay claim to goat farms and maize crops. Red-Fronted macaws also are dying from the pesticides used on the crops.

Their land is being taken, so they have less and less space to eat fruit and seeds in the wild territory. These wild fruit and seed trees are being cut down for crop land and the like.

The birds have no choice but to eat the food grown on the cropland. In addition to being poisoned by the pesticides on the crops, farmers will capture or shoot birds they find on their land. The only way to save these birds from certain extinction is to educate the people of Bolivia about the importance of conserving their native species of animals, including the Red-Fronted macaw. Their diet, in the wild, of seeds and nuts, is a great one. However, in captivity, a pellet diet, supplemented with seed, fresh fruit and veggies, and other treats, is ideal. These are very cuddly intelligent birds.

They love human interaction and are great talkers. They can’t talk as well as Amazon parrots, but do a pretty good job. They do squak pretty loudly, though, so people that don’t like a lot of noise should think carefully before buying one of these birds. Like most macaws, they love to make their voice heard, especially in the morning and evening.

One thing that makes these macaws unique amount all of the varieties of macaw is their choice of nesting area. They live in areas with little access to large trees. There are many cactus and other brushy type plants and the trees that are available are small and lack a trunk large enough to accommodate the holes that are needed to fit a bird of this size for nesting. They, instead, nest in holes on the sides of rocky cliffs. Some Red-Fronted macaws can be seen nesting in trees, but most will nest in cliffs.

Common Red Fronted Macaw Diseases and Ailments:

  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gout
  • Psittacosis
  • Proventricular Dilatation Disease

Author: Arianna Pleitez