Blue and Gold Macaw

Blue and Gold Macaw
ara ararauna

Length: 75-83cms/30-33 inches
Weight: 900-1100 grams
Life span: 70-90 years
Incubation: 26 days
Age at weaning: 16-20 weeks
Age at maturity: 3-5 years
Natural habitat: Northern South America and Brazil

Blue and Gold Macaws are birds of the forests and they are often found near water.  They fly in pairs or small family groups but large flocks can be seen congregating at roosting sites.  They have been known to congregate  together with Green Winged Macaws.  During the dry months they tend to stay in dense forests but, during the rainy season, they travel considerable distances to secondary forests where they seek out fruiting trees.

They will start congregating to roost from before dusk and are most often seen in the early morning or late afternoon flying between roosting sites and feeding grounds.  Their favourite roosting sites are tall trees.  They tend to follow regular routes to and from roosting sites, flying high above the tree tops calling loudly.  Their call consists of a raucous cry.

Their diet consists of the available fruits at the time.  They especially like palms, nuts and seeds from high in the canopy. They are particularly fond of the jabillo fruit and will seek out the trees as the fruit ripens.  They also eat leaves, insects and the insect larvae.  Large numbers congregate on river banks with other parrot species to take the mineral clay that is exposed there.

Their nesting site is normally high in a hollow, in a dead palm tree.  A normal clutch consists of 3 eggs, occasionally 4.  Nesting is usually from December to May depending on the region.

The adult plumage of the Blue and Gold Macaw, starting at the forehead and side of the head to behind the eye, is bright green fading to blue on the crown and nape. The back of their body and upper wings are bright ultramarine, their flight feathers are a deep blue above these.  Their body below is yellow to olive brown and their underwing yellow.  There are broad yellow patches each side of their neck and the feathers that cover their ears are bordered by  a black strip which forms their black throat patch.  Their underparts are bright yellow with a orange suffusion, their tail is blue the upper tail feathers are a deep violet.  There are bare skin patches on their cere and face, including their lores and cheeks, to behind their eyes. There are narrow lines of black feathers on their lores and upper cheeks.  Their legs are grey and their beak is black.   The iris of  a immature bird is brown.

Pet potential: These are the most common large macaw in pet stores and homes.  They are incredibly active and playful yet can be calm enough for a good head scratch.  They are affectionate with their owners but sometimes shy or aggressive with others.  They are notorious chewers with the large beaks so lots of toys and a large cage are necessities.

Talking ability: Moderate to good

Noise level: Extremely high

Cage requirements: Minimum 4 x 3 x 6 foot

Interesting fact: When a Blue and Gold is excited it's face will flush red!

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