Full Profile, History, and Care of the Military Macaw

Military Macaw Landing

Military macaws are huge parrots with a reputation for being friendly, even-tempered companion birds in addition to being communicative and gregarious. Ideally, it can develop a close attachment with its owners if it is hand-fed from birth. These inquisitive birds eagerly anticipate meeting its human "flock."

Species Overview

Common Names: Military macaw, Bolivian military macaw, Mexican military macaw

Scientific Name: Ara militaris

Adult Size: 30 inches from the beak to the tip of the tail feathers, wingspans of over 40 inches, and weighs about 2 pounds

Life Expectancy: Averages 50 years

Origin and History

South and Central America are the natural habitats of military macaws. Typically, their range stretches from Mexico to Argentina. Military macaws, in contrast to other parrot species, typically choose desert regions over tropical rainforests. They can also be discovered in trees close to bodies of water and in dry woodlands. However, several of the South American flocks also inhabit hillsides, canyons, and wet lowland forests.

The Mexican military macaw and the Bolivian military macaw are the two subspecies of this bird. The biggest is the Mexican military macaw (Ara militaris mexicana), which is found mostly in Mexico. Bolivia to northern Argentina is the range of the Bolivian military macaw (Ara militaris boliviana).

This bird is a protected species and is at risk of going extinct. Even though there are more than 10,000 of them, certain local populations are now threatened due to habitat degradation and pet trade trapping.

Since the 1500s, when European explorers first arrived in the New World, the military macaw has been documented historically. Its name comes from the soldiers who transported them back to Europe. It also makes reference to their hue, which is an olive green that resembles "military green."

This macaw is a popular species used for , such as calico macaws, milicinth macaws, and miligold macaws.


The military macaw is a friendly, readily domesticated bird. They frequently live in couples or flocks of 10 to 20 birds in the wild, avoiding alone. It is not rare for this bird to favor one person in captivity, much alone one gender. It must be exposed to a wide range of individuals in order to maintain its friendliness across all social interactions.

While they aren't known for being especially affectionate, military macaws that have been appropriately handled and socialized might enjoy some cuddling and petting.

Sometimes these birds might be irritable. If they are not content or well-trained, macaws can become aggressive. Many owners discover that their bird's disposition frequently mirrors their own.

They may serve as a "watch bird," alerting you to any irregularities around the house. For instance, if a stranger is at the door, they can scream out to let you know. The military macaw enjoys routine. It typically knows when dinnertime is and when you're supposed to get home.

Military macaws are a social and clever parrot that are frequently used in bird displays. With incentives, training them is very simple, and they enjoy learning new skills. Some even learn to use the restroom just in their cage.

Speech and Vocalizations

Though this bird is not naturally as good a talker as other parrots, you can train it to be talkative and it can learn a handful of words and phrases.

These birds will awaken each morning with the dawn, as do all macaws, and they will scream to let you know they are awake. When getting ready for bed in the evening, this scary call occurs once again. Despite being regarded as one of the quietest macaws, they have a distinct croak and sometimes shriek. This level of noise is typically unsuitable for living in an apartment or condominium.

Military Macaw Colors and Markings

The primary color of military macaws is green, with the head being a brighter lime green and the body being a darker, olive green. Their wings are edged in dazzling blue, and they have a bright red tuft on their foreheads. Their tail feathers have a yellow-olive undertone and come in brown and red colors.

These birds have bold black beaks and dark gray legs and feet. Their eyes are framed by the classic bare macaw facial patches, each with concentric rings of small black feathers.

This is a monomorphic species, meaning males and females look alike. DNA or surgical sexing are the only ways to determine whether the bird is male or female.

Caring for a Military Macaw

The owner of a parrot in captivity becomes a member of the flock. These birds require companionship and mental stimulation; they cannot be kept as a pet and left alone. You will pay the price in damaged property, biting fingers, and frustration if you refuse to comply with them.

At least 2.5 feet by 3 feet by 5 feet tall is required for the itself. Make a room specifically for protecting birds if you can. Make sure the has a spacious perch inside and a play stand for when the animal isn't at home. Limit touching the while the military macaw is inside since the bird could get aggressive.

The bird's cage has to be cleaned on a regular basis. Once a week, wash the perches and toys, once a month, wash the cage floor, and once a year, fully clean the remainder of the cage.

Before rushing out to get one of these parrots, think about the associated expenditures. The cost of veterinary care, premium food, toys, and adds up. Consider waiting to adopt a bird if you can't provide all of the greatest things for it.

Common Health Problems

Despite their lengthy lifespans, macaws are susceptible to swollen beaks and the viral illness known as "macaw wasting syndrome," which affects all parrots. If they feel ignored or bored, military macaws, like other pet parrots, may turn to self-mutilation by feather plucking.

Diet and Nutrition

Military macaws eat seeds, berries, nuts, fruits, and vegetables in the wild. Pet military macaws should have a similar diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables safe for birds and a high-quality seed or pellet mixture.

Owners of macaws frequently discover that their bird enjoys dining with them. You can occasionally offer them wholesome "human food," including a modest quantity of protein like chicken. If something is natural, wholesome, and generally regarded as "good for you," it ought to be similarly beneficial to your bird. The only exceptions are rhubarb, avocado, and chocolate, all of which are poisonous to birds.

A macaw will consume between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of parrot mix and between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of fruits and vegetables each day, depending on its size. You can feed it twice a day: once when it wakes up in the morning and once before bed. Before going to bed, throw away all leftovers.


Military macaws travel several hundred miles each day in the wild. Regular exercise is crucial for animals kept in captivity. Every day, owners must ensure that their dogs have at least 2 to 4 hours of playing outside of their cages. The birds may extend their wings and beaks during this exercise period, and as an added benefit, it will be mentally stimulating.

Because military birds are busy, give them work to do and things to do. Toys that are safe for birds are a must. Even if it's only a few tree branches, wood will be your best bet because chewing is one of their favorite past times. Additionally, this bird will like bells, ropes, chains, and swings.

The inquisitive parrot may otherwise be found shrieking, pulling feathers, or chewing objects around your house. Toys are a great diversion for this bird.

  • Intelligent, can learn to speak and perform tricks

  • One of the quieter macaws

  • Even-tempered, friendly, and social

  • Can be noisy, not well-suited for apartments

  • Requires at least 2 to 4 hours of supervised out-of-cage time

  • Large bird that requires a sizeable cage

Where to Adopt or Buy a Military Macaw

As opposed to the more vibrant and well-known macaws, military macaws are more difficult to locate. However, the military macaw is successfully produced in captivity, so you ought to be able to buy one from a respectable breeder or adoption organization. They cost roughly $2,500 each. The following are some websites where you may find military macaws:

  • Rescue the Birds
  • Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary
  • Birds Now

Ask breeders if you can visit them and their birds for a while. Before deciding if you should raise these birds, consult someone who has expertise doing so. Make sure the bird is awake, active, and displays all the characteristics of a healthy bird before you purchase it, including bright eyes, tidy feathers, and full crops.

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