Macaws
Macaws
Forests
ABout Macaws

Macaws are part of the parrot family and are famous for their bright, bold colors. They are very intelligent, strong-willed, and full of personality!

Their streamlined bodies help them glide through dense rainforests, and their strong beaks crush Brazilian nuts with ease.

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FACTS & STATISTICS
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Average Size
12-40'' long,
40-44'' wingspan
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Native Region
South America
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Eating Habits
Grass, roots, fruit, hay
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Conservation Status
Threatened
Blue-and-Gold Macaw

Average size: Grow up to 35 inches long and weigh up to 1-3 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 80 years

Key physical characteristics: Yellow feathers on their chest, blue-feathered wings and green feathers on the top of their head with a black and white skin mask around the eyes

Native regions/habitat range: Large range from the rainforests of Panama into southern Brazil and Paraguay

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insect

Conservation status: Least concern

Fun facts: A macaw’s tongue is dry, scaly and has a bone inside it, all of which makes it an excellent tool for breaking open and eating food.

Blue-Throated Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 34 inches long and weigh up to 1-2 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 80 years

Key physical characteristics: Bright blue feathers on their bodies and right below their beaks, whereas the rest of their bodies are yellow

Native regions/habitat range: Native to northern Bolivia; usually found in swampy lowlands to savannah grasslands

Conservation status: Critically endangered

Fun facts: Among the rarest of macaws, less than 200 of these parrots remain in the wild. Blue-throated are often mistaken for the blue-and-gold macaw. But they can be distinguished by the colors on their throat and on top of their heads.

Great Green Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 33-35 inches long and weigh up to 1-3 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 60 years

Key physical characteristics: Green bodies with blue outlined feathers and a red patch on the tail and forehead

Native regions/habitat range: Native to central America, found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador; usually found in rainforests

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Endangered

Fun facts: Macaws are playful, curious and are able to mimic human vocalizations very well.

Hyacinth Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 39.4 inches long and weigh up to 3 to 3.7 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 50 years

Key physical characteristics: Bright blue bodies and feathers with a small outline of yellow around their eyes and beak

Native regions/habitat range: Native to southern Brazil and western Bolivia; usually found in forests and near rivers

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Fun facts: The hyacinth macaw is the largest species of all parrots with a wingspan of up to 5 feet.

Green-Winged Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 35 inches long and weigh up to 2-3 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 80 years

Key physical characteristics: Red head and body with bright colored feathers, like green and turquoise, but it’s distinguished by its red lines around the eyes and green stripe in the wings

Native regions/habitat range: Native to South America; usually found in rainforests, savannas and mangroves

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Least concern

Fun facts: Green-winged macaws are often mistaken for scarlet macaws but they can be distinguished by their facial feathers and green on the wings instead of yellow.

Military Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 30 inches long and weigh up to 1-3 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 50 years

Key physical characteristics: Green-feathered bodies but a brighter color range on their wings with a red patch on top of their head

Native regions/habitat range: Ranging from Mexico to Argentina; usually found in foothills, canyons and forests

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Fun facts: Macaws are able to reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

Scarlet Macaw

Average size: 33-35 in 2.2 lbs

Median life expectancy: Typically between 40 and 50 years, occasionally up to 75 years in captivity

Social behaviors: Can be found in pairs, parties of 3-4, or flocks up to 30 birds

Native regions/habitat range: canopy of the rainforests of Mexico, Central America, South America

Eating habits: Fruits, nuts, nectar, and flowers

Conservation status: Least Concern: Huge range and tolerance for fragmentation has kept these species from major losses, but their population is still declining

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Come see for yourself.

Look no further. Connect with our amazing animals and learn about the wild places they come from.

Where are they at the Zoo?
The Macaws are located in the Forest.
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Additional Experiences
Magnificent Macaws
Presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers 

There’s something in the air with Just Look Up flight presentations. See flocks of these big, brightly colored birds fly from destinations across the Zoo — in open air — to The Perch inside our Bicentennial Pavilion. It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever seen! Take a bird’s eye view and meet seven species of macaws, including the blue-throated macaw, scarlet macaw, great green macaw: blue-and-gold macaw, military macaw, green-winged macaw and hyacinth macaw. While these parrots are soaring back and forth across the Zoo, these highly intelligent and social birds are in constant communication with loud squawks, croaks and screams.

Current Chat Time: Returning in spring 2018

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The Ara Project
In Indianapolis, guests are surrounded by the beauty of birds in Flights of Fancy, and the Zoo is ensuring a positive future for wild birds too!

The Ara Project — named for the genus of macaws — is dedicated to saving the two native species of Costa Rica: the well-known Scarlet macaw and the endangered Great Green macaw. The project helps protect these incredible birds from threats like the wild bird trade, hunting and habitat loss through captive breeding programs and reintroducing offspring into the wild. In 2015, the Indianapolis Zoo joined in these efforts, supporting a captive breeding and release program, enhancing the breeding center and conducting research of wild macaws. Recently, the Zoo’s resources provided an opportunity for Dr. Sam Williams, director of the project, and his mentor and 2016 Indianapolis Prize Winner Dr. Carl Jones. The pair are now working to monitor and manage wild Great Green macaws to develop the best practices for parrot conservation.

World Parrot Trust
Wild populations of the critically endangered species remain very low.

Despite the capture of blue-throated macaws ceasing in the early 1990s, this species is critically endangered. The World Parrot Trust has worked to protect the birds, understand their ecology and create successful reproductive recovery programs since 2001.

The project focuses on protecting wild nests from predators to ensure a higher percentage of young birds fledge, conducting habitat studies, monitoring breeding pairs and installing artificial nest boxes to eliminate some of the threats affecting wild populations. While building a captive breeding program based in Bolivia, the project is also dedicated to providing community education opportunities to further conservation as well. The Indianapolis Zoo’s support will assist with the establishment of a blue-throated macaw field station within the newly designated Gran Mojos Reserve.

Visit the Macaws at the Zoo!