15 Colorful Facts About Scarlet Macaws

These colorful parrots are some of the most beautiful birds in the world, and in this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about Scarlet Macaws!

1. They are native to Central and South America

Scarlet Macaws (Ara Macao) are a large and colorful type of parrot that is native to several countries in Central and South America. These countries include:

  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Ecuador
  • Colombia
  • Bolivia
  • Venezuela
  • Brazil

These forest animals prefer humid rainforests in lowlands and altitudes of up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).

Scarlet Macaw interesting facts

2. They are part of a group referred to as “Macaws”

Scarlet Macaws are part of a larger group of similar types of birds referred to as “Macaws.” This group consists of 19 different species of which some have been extinct or are critically endangered.

Some of the most famous Macaws are the Hyacinth macaw, the Blue-and-yellow Macaw, and the Red-and-green Macaw.

Hyacinth macaws
Hyacinth Macaws, another member of the group.

3. Scarlet Macaws are part of the genus “Ara”

The 19 species of Macaws are divided into 6 different genera as well:

  • Anodorhynchus
  • Cyanopsitta
  • Ara
  • Primolius
  • Orthopsittaca
  • Diopsittaca

They were first mentioned in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus in his “Systema Naturae” as “Psittacus Macao,” but were eventually included in the genus “Ara.”

fun Scarlet Macaw facts

4. There are 2 distinct subspecies of Scarlet Macaws

The Scarlet Macaws further consists of 2 recognized subspecies, referred to as:

  • A. m. Cyanopterus
  • A. m. Macao

The latter is the nominate subspecies, is a bit smaller, and is only native to South America. It also has green on its wings instead of just blue.

5. They can easily be recognized by their colors

The easiest way to recognize these fascinating creatures is by their bright colors. They mostly have a scarlet body, a distinct bright red color, and the feathers on their wings are mostly blue. Their wings also have some yellow and green.

They also have a distinctive white area around their eyes all the way to their bill. This area consists of tiny white feathers and runs through to their black jaw.

One of the most amazing facts about Scarlet Macaws is that their bill has a little black but is mostly white, a remarkable sight, don’t you think?

Scarlet Macaw fun facts

6. This is how to distinguish them from green-winged macaws

Even though these birds have a distinctive color pattern, they do have a family member that pretty much looks exactly like them. This parrot is called the green-winged macaw and is slightly larger.

You won’t be able to tell the difference by their size though, because the only way to see the difference is to check their wings. Green-winged Macaws don’t have any yellow in their wings!

Green winged macaw
Green-winged Macaw / Ralph Daily / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

7. Scarlet Macaws are pretty big birds

So how big are Scarlet Macaws?

These are big birds as they grow up to a length of about 80 centimeters (31 inches). One of the most remarkable facts about Scarlet Macaws is that over half of their length consists of their tail.

Their tail is much larger than any other type of large parrot. This also results in the fact that they are relatively light as they only weigh about 1 kilo (2.2 lbs).

Scarlet Macaw facts

8. What do Scarlet Macaws eat?

The diet of these birds mostly consists of fruits and nuts, supplemented with flowers and nectar.

They are, however, omnivores as they also eat insects, larvae, and even snails. They can really indulge in bugs as this is a good source of protein for them in case they can’t easily find nuts.

Scarlet Macaw eating a nut

9. They can mimic human speech

When they communicate with each other, Scarlet Macaws make really distinctive squeaking sounds that can be heard from very far away. They can also produce a lot of different types of sound and usually scream instead of talk.

One of the most intriguing facts about Scarlet Macaws is that they are adept in mimicking human speech as well, resulting in them becoming a very popular pet.

10. Their range is huge but mostly fragmented

The range of these birds is huge as it covers an area of about 6,700,000 square kilometers (2,586,884 square miles).

This doesn’t mean that there’s a huge population of Scarlet Macaws though, because their population is usually very fragmented and doesn’t consist of huge colonies.

11. Even though their habitat shrinks, Scarlet Macaws aren’t endangered

According to the IUCN Red List, these birds aren’t considered to be endangered as they are listed asLeast Concern.”

This doesn’t mean that they are completely safe though because they do suffer tremendously from habitat loss, even though they still exist in large numbers in just about all of their original range.

Scarlet Macaw flying

12. They have been breeding in captivity for many centuries

One of the most amazing facts about Scarlet Macaws is that they have been breeding in captivity for numerous centuries, possibly dating back to the 11th century!

Archaeological evidence has been uncovered of breeding perches along with bones of these birds in several areas in Mexico.

The most logical explanation is that they were bred for their colorful plumage which was used for decorative purposes and even religious rituals.

13. Scarlet Macaws are the national bird of Honduras

Just as the peafowl, which is the national bird of India, or the keel-billed toucan, which is the national bird of Belize, the Scarlet Macaw is the national bird of a country.

This bird is the national bird of Honduras, a country in Central America.

Scarlet Macaw amazing beautiful birds

14. They are held in captivity all across the world

Apart from being marked as Least Concerned on the IUCN Red List, there’s very little chance that these birds will ever go extinct, mainly because they have been breeding in captivity all across the world.

These wonderful parrots can be found in just about every major zoo in the world and is also a popular pet.

So there’s no need to worry, Scarlet Macaws will stay with us forever!

15. How long do Scarlet Macaws live?

These parrots can grow really old as they have an average life span of between 40 and 50 years.

This doesn’t mean that they can’t grow much older though, because some birds in captivity reportedly lived up to 90 years old!

That’s pretty old for a bird, don’t you think?

Amazing facts about scarlet macaws