Animal Facts

Scarlet Macaw


The Scarlet Macaws are huge Macaws that need lots of free space. They are exceptionally intelligent and can be talented talkers. They have strong personality and should be given a lot of attention and freedom

Characteristics and Habits

Scarlet macaws are mainly crepuscular and nocturnal. During the day, they rest on trees, usually in the company of several herons. During the period of activity, a scarlet macaw is more territorial and will not tolerate other birds around.

Scarlet macaw avoids open areas when searching for food. In case of danger or excitement, it can lift its spring tuft on the top of the head. Scarlet macaws are considered good swimmers and divers. Usually they wait at the water’s edge or on a raised stand with dry feet for prey.


Scarlet macaws have pointed and sharp beak. The top of the beak is dark gray; the underside is colored partly yellowish. However, the gender point in the plumage coloration in no dimorphism. Depending on the subspecies and region, the plumage in the area of the back and the shoulder is greyish, bluish gray, green gray or red-green colored.

The throat and the front side of the neck are mostly white, and may show colored stripes. In the sides of the head appears on every page a whitish strip which visually separates the cap from the cheek area. The strips start directly at the eyes and run in the neck out.

Single wing feathers have at the edges in a fine lacing. The ventral side is colored predominantly white. The mop can reach a length of 15 to 18 centimeters. The limbs have a yellowish or grayish color. The iris of the eyes is yellowish or slightly reddish in color, the pupil is dark brown or black.

During the first weeks of life, the plumage of the juvenile darkens and it shows up on the neck a characteristic striation. The adult coloration is completed during the second year of life. Scarlet macaws are very clean animals.

Life Stages

The scarlet macaw reaches sexual maturity at about two to three years but most breeds from February to March and June to July. The scarlet macaws live in monogamy, but usually do not last long. Scarlet macaw nests in pairs or regionally in colonies. A colony can consist of different species of herons. Colonies with 15 to 30 breeding pairs are the rule. In the finished nest, the female lays between two and four, rarely to five blue-green eggs. The eggs have a size of about 60 by 50 millimeters.

Eggs are laid usually in one or two-day intervals. Both parents incubate the eggs birds over the next 22 to 25 days. The incubation period can vary greatly depending on the area of distribution and subspecies. Even climate and weather play quite a big role in the incubation period.

The first and the last hatched chicks may be five to seven days apart. A chick is amazing active shortly after hatching and its eyes are open. It can sit after one day and already more or less control the head movements. The first plumage begins to sprout from the second week of life. It is greyish to whitish. The first permanent plumage turns one aged four to five weeks. A short time later, the flying is achieved. Until the independence, both parents take care and supply their young ones with food.

Life Span

Depending on the area of where they live and habitat, the mortality among the young birds can vary greatly. Many young birds fall even as nestlings, carnivores prey, or the eggs will be eaten already out of the nest. A variety of young birds died during the first weeks of independence. This happens not only because of carelessness toward predators, but also because of the awkwardness in search of food. Has a scarlet macaw but survived the first difficult period, he is under favorable conditions with a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. In captivity the birds reached under controlled conditions, aged 25 to 30 years.


The scarlet macaw reaches a body length of 40-46 cm, with a wingspan of just over 66 centimeters and a weight of around 250 grams. Females are usually a bit smaller and lighter than males.


The scarlet macaw lives in much of the southern hemisphere. The distribution spreads from South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Southeast and Southwest Asia, and Australia. In some parts of the world the breeding areas are in the northern hemisphere. This applies especially to Russia and Japan.

The scarlet macaw lives predominantly in waters where there is adequate riparian vegetation. They are also at home in both freshwater and in salt and brackish water. Mangrove swamps are among his favorite habitats.

The scarlet macaw is found in the plane as well as in the high mountains to well over 3,000 meters above sea level. This is particularly true in South America at Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Some features have all habitats in common: one is the close proximity to a body of water and dense vegetation. The nesting sites are located near the water, on tall trees.


Scarlet macaw feed mainly on smaller fish and arachnids, insects, snails and crustaceans, crabs and shrimp. Near the shore, they go to hunt for smaller vertebrates like reptiles, amphibians and small mammals of mouse size. Prey is generally swallowed in one piece.

Friends and Enemies

The local populations of scarlet macaws are threatened and could certainly be considered at risk. The destruction of natural habitats, the breeding sites and resting, feeding and sleeping places is likely to be the main reason for the global and local population declines in many and swamps as well as low and high moors. But the far-reaching pollution and hunting in some regions represent risk factors. The population loss caused by predators is relatively low. Fishermen complain that the incidence of scarlet macaw is very bad for fishing, because they should consume a large amount of fish. Not infrequently, the scarlet macaw is therefore hunted and killed.

Suitability as Pets

Scarlet macaws are loving and intelligent birds. They learn easily. With proper training, they can be good talkers. When they feel threatened, they can be aggressive and nippy. The babies are sweet tempered. Proper handling will help them develop into a gentle and affectionate pet.

Post Comment