Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

Blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara ararauana) are brightly colored, beautiful birds. Found within Panama and much of South America, these birds are large and intelligent. They are monogamous and can live up to 50 years.


Blue-and-yellow macaws are found in the subtropical and tropical forests, woodlands, and savannas of South American countries, including Colombia, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Brazil. These birds are also found in Mexico, but are only found in Panama in Central America. They live in rainforests near swamps and rivers and nest high in hollowed trees.

Physical Description

The birds are brightly colored, with blue backs and wings, yellow breasts, green forehead feathers, and green tips on the ends of their wings. Their eyes are yellow.

Interesting Biology

Blue-and-yellow macaws can live up to 50 years in the wild and captivity. The breeding age ranges from 30 to 35 years.

Blue-and-yellow macaws are monogamous and mate for life. The birds reach sexual maturity around 3 to 4 years old and breed every 1 to 2 years. Females lay 2 to 3 eggs and incubate them for 3 to 4 weeks. Within 3 months of hatching, the fledglings become independent.

These birds are usually found in pairs but sometimes form flocks, especially when foraging. They have complex social behaviors and communicate by loud vocalizations.

Predators of blue-and-yellow macaws include harpy eagles, orange-breasted falcons, and hawk eagles. Humans also hunt the birds for pets, feathers, and sometimes food.

Blue-and-yellow macaws are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Blue-and-yellow macaws are herbivores and eat a range of nuts, seeds, and fruit. They use their beaks to open nuts and crush seeds.


Blue-and-yellow macaws are 2 to 3 feet tall and have a wingspan between 3.5 and 4 feet. They weigh 2 to 4 pounds.

Brief Taxonomy

Order: Psittaciformes

Family: Psittacidae


Juniper, T. 1998. A Guide to Parrots of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Low, R. 1983. Amazon Parrots. London: Bailisk Press.