Great Green Macaw

Central America


Ara ambiguus


The main threat for the survival of the great green macaw was habitat loss. It is estimated that between 1900 and 2000 some 90% of the original habitat has been lost in Costa Rica.

Great Green Macaws are, as their name suggests, almost entirely green. They are very large parrots, at 85-90cm long, with blue on their lower back, rump and upper tail feathers, as well as on the tip of their tail. They have a distinctive red band across the top of their bill and lines of red feathers along bare facial skin. There are two separate subspecies of Great Green Macaw. One inhabits Central America and northern Colombia and the other, A. a. guayaquilensis, has a small range in Ecuador and possibly south-western Colombia. Great Green Macaws live in family groups of around five or six individuals, which patrol small home ranges. They move though the forest looking for fruiting trees where they can feed, but will also fly over open areas. Great Green Macaws usually breed in August, when they will lay up to three eggs in tree hollows.

Great Green Macaws live in humid lowland deciduous forests and forest edges, where they rely on mountain almond trees both as a source of food and also as nesting sites. Great Green Macaws lay up to three eggs in tree hollows, usually in August. The pet trade is a major problem for Great Green Macaws with their attractive and distinctive markings. Sadly, they are often either killed for their feathers or seen as an agricultural pest and shot by farmers. They are also at risk from extensive habitat destruction.