Military Macaw vs. Macaw

Difference Between Military Macaw And Macaw Military Macaw This macaw has colorful green-and-blue plumage, or feathers. The colors…

Difference Between Military Macaw And Macaw

Military Macaw

This macaw has colorful green-and-blue plumage, or feathers. The colors reminded naturalists of the full-dress uniforms worn by military officers. And so the bird was named. Like many other beautiful parrots, military macaws are often killed for their splendid feathers. Poachers also steal the macaw’s nestlings to sell as expensive pets. As a result, the military macaw is now rarely found outside of certain remote areas.

Military macaws are usually seen in pairs or in small flocks of up to 20 birds. They are most often found in the dry canyons and thorn forests of Mexico. A close cousin of the military macaw is the scarlet macaw. The scarlet macaw populates Mexico’s rain forests. They may keep the military macaw from settling there. Military macaws also inhabit tropical regions in Colombia and Venezuela. They also live on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in northern Peru. In September and October, these mountain macaws fly over high peaks and grasslands to visit fruit-filled forests near the Pacific coast.

Wherever they live, military macaws greet each morning with raucous screeching. “Kraa—aak!” they shout. In the early light, flocks rise up from their roosting sites and fly to their feeding areas. Within each flock the mated pairs remain close to each other. Like many parrots, military macaws mate for life. They nest in high tree holes and sometimes adopt empty woodpecker nests.


Macaw, any of 17 species of tropical American parrots (genera Ara, Anodorhynchus, and Cyanopsitta) with a powerful, curved beak; a long tail; and, usually, brilliant plumage. The largest of the parrots, macaws can be as long as 36 inches (1 meter). They range from Mexico to Uruguay and Argentina, with at least 12 species in Brazil. Living high in the trees of rain forests, macaws feed on fruits and nuts, which they crack with their powerful beak.

The birds are sometimes kept as household pets, with most captive specimens having been taken from a nest in the wild and reared by hand. However, macaws that have been mistreated or were captured as adults may attack and can inflict serious wounds with their beak. Some macaws learn to speak a few words in a deep, guttural voice.

Captive species commonly include the scarlet macaw (Ara macao), brightly colored and the largest of the group, and the slightly smaller blue-and-yellow macaw (A. ararauna), which, though less gaudy, is strikingly beautiful in coloration. Other large species include the green-winged macaw (A. chloroptera), with a generally maroon body; Buffon’s macaw (A. ambigua); and the great hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). Smaller species, chiefly dull green in color, range down to the 13-inch (33-cm) red-shouldered macaw (Ara nobilis). Macaws belong to the parrot family, Psittacidae, in the order Psittaciformes, class Aves.

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