Buffon’s Macaw

Buffon’s Macaw

Scientific Name: Ara Ambiguus
Origin:  Central America from southeastern Honduras to western Columbia, and in western Ecuador
Average Lifespan:  80 years or more
Size: 26 to 34 inches
Color:  Mainly green
Sounds:  Whistler and loud squawking
Interaction: Very social

Buffon’s Macaw

Photo: kyohei ito| Flickr

Physical Characteristics of Buffon’s Macaw

The Buffon’s Macaw is a large parrot, perhaps the largest in the region.   Its overall coloration is mostly yellowish green, becoming blue around the lower back and rump.  It has strong scarlet red forehead and deep blue shoulders. This bird pet is admirable and it is not surprising that bird collectors pay thousands of dollars for this wonderful pet.

Personality and Temperament

The Buffon’s Macaw is extremely social and makes a wonderful pet bird.  It is docile and affectionate, even breeding pairs have been known to be friendly.  This large parrot is quite intelligent, playful and inquisitive.  It is also excellent at learning tricks.  It mirrors your mood, so if the owner is happy, it usually appears happy.

It can be quite loud especially when anticipating interaction with people.  Furthermore, as a friendly bird and a fair talker, it is seldom seen alone as it prefers to be in a flock.   Its green coloration blends well in their environment whenever it is in the wild.   If not for its loud squawks and occasional falling of twigs from the treetops, one can have difficulty locating it.  When it is in captivity, the owner should provide an environment that greatly mimics the wild as possible.

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Health and Care

Taking care of Buffon’s Macaw is quite easy as it is not a picky eater.  In the wild, it eats a variety of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries and other plants.  There are commercially available food for this pet such as prepared seeds and nuts and pellet mixes.  Pet owners can also offer this bird whatever food they can as long as it is deemed safe.  However, pet owners should take note that avocados and chocolates are toxic food to parrots.

Buffon’s Macaw are used to humid climate, and irregular bathing will cause their feathers to dry out and become itchy, causing the bird to chew on them.  Pet owners can spray them with water that has room temperature or better yet, provide it with commercial bird bath.

Large Buffon’s Macaw needs a roomy cage or perhaps a nice aviary.  A large sturdy perch is essential for this pet.  It should be mounted in the cage where the bird can perch and enjoy its environment.  Fresh fruit tree branches are great because your pet can chew on them as well, but this should be replaced occasionally, if not regularly.  An outdoor aviary is an excellent alternative for cages provided that people in the neighborhood will not be disturbed by the squawky sound of your pet since it can become noisy due to anticipation of interaction with people.

History and Background

Buffon’s Macaw has become rare in the wild and in captivity.  In fact, it was once listed as endangered species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  But they have proven to be good breeders, thus Buffon’s Macaw is now becoming highly available and a few captive birds have been re-introduced to the wild.

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Though not on a large scale, the breeding of Buffon’s Macaw is successful in the United States because they are bred in captivity.  During the breeding season, pet owners must feed these Macaws additional high fat seeds, such as sunflower seeds.  The females usually lay two to four eggs which incubate for about 26 days.  The baby Macaw will leave their nest after about 84 days but will stay with their parents for a year or so.  While rearing the baby parrots, the parents should be fed with plenty of green stuffs, carrots, protein, and fruit laced with food supplement.

It became endangered primarily because of habitat loss and illegal pet trade.  In 1990, Defenders of Wildlife began a campaign in which more than 100 commercial airlines agreed to stop carrying birds.  In 1995, the Wild Bird Conservation Act was enacted and this finally halted the import of endangered birds.

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