Friday, September 18, 2015


The Military Macaw, also known as Ara militaris, is a large sized parrot.  They are native to the regions of Mexico and South America.  They are officially listed as endangered, mostly due to deforestation.  Although endangered, they are still available in the pet trade industry.
Our resident Military Macaw, Murdock (photo: Erica O'Donnell)

Military Macaws can be identified by their bright green feathers and blue flight feathers, along with a red patch around the beak area.  These birds can reach up to 30 inches in length.  In the wild, they can be found in large flocks.  Their diet consists mostly of fruits, seeds, and nuts.  The sounds they make are identified as loud shrieks.

If you are thinking about adding a Military Macaw to your family, there are many different facts about this bird that you should take into consideration.  These birds are very intelligent and easy to train, as long as you have experience in training birds.  They are even capable of learning how to mimic a few words if you take the time to work with them. 

Ideally, however, these beautiful birds are suited for experienced bird owners, as they can be stubborn and crabby.  Military Macaws are social and animated birds.  This means they require a great deal of attention.  If they do not receive the attention they crave, they can become difficult and destructive pets.  It is suggested to always have a large parrot toy in their cage, along with old papers for them to chew on as a way to keep their lives enriched.  These birds are very vocal.  They are capable of making extremely loud, crackling, shrieking sounds.  It can sometimes be ear piercing.  Military Macaws require regular exercise outside of their cage.  Daily exercise is recommended.

There is one last matter to consider before making one of these birds a part of your family.  Military Macaws can live 50+ years.  This means they may outlive you.  I highly recommend you create a backup plan of someone that can adopt your macaw from you if the day comes that you are unable to physically care for it.

To learn more about Military Macaws, visit our resident macaw, Murdock, in the World Bird Sanctuary Nature Center.  He loves entertaining the visitors and playing peek-a-boo as well.  

Submitted by Erica O’Donnell, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

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