Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis)

Blue-throated Macaw

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Ara glaucogularis | [authority] Dabbene, 1921 | [UK] Blue-throated Macaw | [FR] Ara a gorge bleue | [DE] Blaukehl-Ara | [ES] Guacamayo Barbazul | [NL] Blauwkeelara | [copyright picture] Birdlife


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Ara glaucogularis SA n Bolivia


There are twelve macaws in the Ara genus. Macaws are very distinctive birds, and possibly the best known, with their distinctive screeching call, sharp hooked beak, colourful plumage, very long tails and naked area around the eyes and cheeks. They are seen in most zoos, bird collections and anywhere else exotic wildlife is likely to be found. The species or the genus Ara are social birds which in the wild iive in flocks of 40 to 50 individuals composed by family groups of two to four animals.
They form pairs, and this social structure is kept when big flocks of hundreds of individuals are constituted. The species of the Ara genus vary greatly in size and colour with all of them having a similar body shape. Ara macaws have long tail feathers and large, broad heads with beaks that are extensive and strong. The most noticeable taxonomic feature of these birds is the area of bare skin on either side of the face. These bare patches can be completely bare or be covered in rows of small facial feathers surrounding the eyes. These markings vary between each macaw species.

Physical charateristics

Large, blue-and-yellow macaw. Upperparts turquoise-blue, slightly duller on crown and brighter on rump. Underparts largely bright yellow but vent pale blue. Bare facial patch obscured by blue feather-lines merging into blue lower cheek and throat, separated from crown by narrow yellow stripe. Bare pink skin around base of bill. Large bill, long tail, and yellow iris. Sexes similar. Immatures have brown iris with undertail-coverts possibly paler turquoise and broadly edged yellow. Similar spp. Blue-and-yellow Macaw A. ararauna is larger, has a thicker tail, green fore-crown, no pink facial skin, and larger area of facial skin with black throat patch. A. ararauna has dark blue primaries and secondaries contrasting with pale blue coverts, whereas A. glaucogularis has all-dark blue wings.

Listen to the sound of Blue-throated Macaw

[audio: Macaw.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by A. Bennett Hennessey

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 85 cm size max.: 90 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 28 days
fledging min.: 90 days fledging max.: 93 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


South America : North Bolivia. Ara glaucogularis is known from the Llanos de Mojos in north Bolivia, being concentrated east of the upper rio Mamore, Beni where the wild population was discovered in 1992.


It utilises forest islands and gallery forest found fragmented throughout the Beni Savannas at an 80/20 ratio.


It nests in tree cavities, hatching 1-3 eggs which are incubated for about 4 weeks. YOung fledge after about 3 months.

Feeding habits

Motacu Palm Attalea phalerata is a principal food of all macaws in the area, with abundances variable from 0% to 100% in forest islands in the savannas, and borders of gallery forest.

Video Blue-throated Macaw


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species qualifies as Critically Endangered because its population is extremely small and each isolated subpopulation is probably tiny and declining as a result of illegal trade. Overall, it is likely to have undergone an extremely rapid population reduction over the past three generations.
It was severely threatened in the past by illegal exploitation for the national and international cage-bird trade, although this has been radically reduced since 2000. All known sites are on private cattle-ranches, where burning and clearing for pasture and tree-felling for fuel have reduced the number of suitable nest trees and inhibited palm regeneration. However, cattle-rearing has occurred in the region since the 17th century, and nest-site availability is not currently thought to be limiting. Nevertheless, nest-site competition from other macaws, toucans and large woodpeckers is significant. Indiscriminate hunting to provide feathers for indigenous head-dresses probably has a small impact in some areas and small scale random hunting to provide meat for baiting fish hooks may occur. There are fears that inbreeding within an increasingly fragmented population is resulting in reduced fertility. The Bolivian endemic Blue-throated Macaw is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. This species was thought to be extinct in the wild, but new individuals were observed in the international pet trade, leading to the realization that a wild population must exist. In 1992 the Blue-throated Macaw was indeed discovered to still remain in a distant area of Beni Department, Bolivia. Initially the population was estimated to be only 50 birds but recent surveys have estimated that 300 birds are remaining and they are found in a more extensive area than previously thought.
Blue-throated Macaw status Critically Endangered



Distribution map

Blue-throated Macaw distribution range map

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