Military Macaw

Military macaw parrots are rather beautiful birds found in Mexico and South America. They look similar to the great green macaw, also known as the Buffon’s macaw, but are a little smaller than the latter. The military macaws have been so named because of their plumage resembling the color of a military parade uniform.

Military Macaw

Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Psittaciformes
Superfamily Psittacoidea
Family Psittacidae
Subfamily Arinae
Tribe Arini
Genus Ara
Scientific Name Ara militaris


Quick Information

Also Known As Guacamayo Verde (Spanish), Guacamayo Militar (Spanish)
Size 27.8 in (70.5 cm) length with a wingspan of 33-43 in (99-110 cm)
Weight 2-2.4 lbs (900-1,100 gm)
Color Green in color, feathers of the head are red while the beak is black, blue tail and wing feathers.
Distribution & Subspecies Ara militaris militaris – Colombia and Northwest Venezuela, south down to Eastern Ecuador and Urubamba in Southeast Peru.

A. m. mexicana – Found in Mexico.
A. m. boliviana – Inhabits Bolivia and Argentina.

Habitat Sub-tropical forests and arid woodlands at elevations of 1,970-8,530 ft (600-2,600 m).
Sounds & Calls A rather loud bird with shrill calls, best described as kraaa-aaak.
Clutch 1-2 eggs
Incubation Period Around 26 days
Fledging At 3 month of age
Breeding Age 2-4 years
Lifespan Wild – 50 to 60 years, Captivity – 60 years
Diet Fruits, nuts, seeds and other vegetation
IUCN Conservation Status Vulnerable

Military Macaw Pet

Military Macaws

As pets

Like all macaws, Military macaws make great pets, but ideally, should not be kept as such because of their ‘Vulnerable’ status. They are a very social bird with a bit of a temper every now and then, but hand reared military macaws can become an integral part of your family. Let’s learn everything about a military macaw before moving on to actually owning one.


Military macaws are big birds and hence need to be given a sufficiently roomy cage with dimensions of at least 36x48x60 inches. Keep the cage in a separate room and soundproof it as much as possible, lest the neighbors complain about the noise levels generating from the bird. Put in a strong perch inside the cage, as well as some fresh fruit branches for the bird to chew on, but do replace these branches from time to time. Toys should be given for the enrichment of the bird, both chewable and playable. Let the bird out of the cage for a few hours each day.


Ideal temperatures for the military macaw range from 65°F to 75°F (18°C-24°C). They do however acclimatize to temperatures lower than 65°F, albeit gradually.

Military Macaw Babies

Military Macaw

Behavior & Personality

They are a very social bird, even in the wild they live in pairs and flocks of up to 20 individuals. A pet military macaw retains this trait and can be a very friendly bird, with occasional temperamental swings.

It is also an intelligent bird and will require constant enrichment and attention, otherwise, health issues stemming from boredom will creep in.

It likes to bond specifically with one individual, but training and socializing from a young age can get it to accept other people too. If not, they are prone to biting people they’re not fond of, but taking a cue from their body language can ward off potential danger.


Provide your military macaw with a diet consisting of sprouted or soaked sunflower seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans and pine nuts. Veggies and fruits like banana, corn on the cob, apples and oranges can also be provided. Cheese cubes and wholemeal breads can be given to the bird occasionally. Chicken can provide the bird with the necessary protein.

Under no circumstances should you give the bird avocado and chocolate, as they can turn out to be fatally toxic for them.


Clear the cage at least twice a week of the droppings and wasted food materials.  Since the bird is a water-loving one, bathe it every day.

Replace dirty food and water dishes every day with fresh and clean ones.

Health problems

Some of the illnesses that can affect the military macaw are:

  • Psittacosis
  • Proventricular Dilation disease
  • Bacterial, viral and fungal infections
  • Juveniles may suffer from beak malformations
  • Gout
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Older birds sometimes develop Lipoma.


Military macaws can cost you around $1,000.

Military Macaw Images

Military Macaw Bird

Interesting facts

  • Although rather large for a parrot, as a macaw the military species is only medium sized.
  • Their talking ability, as has been reported by people who have kept them as pets, is moderate to impressive.
  • The beak of this bird, and indeed all macaws, forms part of a great adaptation, because it has the ability to break open the hardest seeds.

Military Macaw Flying

Military Macaw Video



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