18 Different Species of Macaws in The World

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Indians living in 1536, occupied areas that are known as New Mexico and Arizona today and these Indians trade for parrot feathers. In 1716, Indians were referenced by Padre Velarde to raise these beautiful birds so that they can utilize the feathers as adornments. Another tribe, Pueblo Indians used to raise macaws and other types for their beautiful feathers which were used for enhancement.

Types of Macaws

Types of Macaws in Brazil also has an engaging background and considered to be of high value.

Since the early 20th century, the US and Europe imported an extensive number of macaws. Macaws were affected by the two world wars and different eras of bird disease outbreaks. After World War II, the import of these birds is banned, but captive types of macaws are obtainable in the market.

Facts About Macaws

Adaptations for the Rainforest Macaws are gifted with sprightly feathers whose colours are suited to life in Central and South American rainforests. The birds brag large and strong mandible that easily cracks nuts. Moreover, while their scaly tongues have a bone inside them that makes them an effective tool for tapping into fruits. Macaws also have gripping toes that they use to hold and examine items.


Macaws are intelligent birds that often gather in flocks. Their loud calls and squeal echo thunders through the forest canopy. Surprisingly, some of their species can even mimic human speech. Flocks sleep in the trees at night, and in the morning they may fly long distances to feed; they eat fruit, nuts, insects, and snails.


Macaws typically mate for life and also share food with their mates. Inbreeding season, female Macaws incubate eggs while male Macaws hunt and bring food back to the nest.

Macaw habitat

The appealing macaws with sparkling and attractive bodies are found in Mexico, Central and South America, and previously in the Caribbean.

1. Macaws in the wild

Macaws living in the wild are mostly found in tropical rainforests. The Red-fronted Macaws are also found in semi-desert regions and the Yellow-collared Macaw inhabits grasslands. Those that live in the forests are found primarily in rainforests and they build their nests in holes of trees and eat the seeds found in the canopies.

Hence, even in the circle, the rainforest, macaw habitats differ between species, such as the lowlands are the habitat for Scarlet Macaws, whereas the Red-bellied Macaws are found in swampy areas. The Hyacinth Macaws move with the seasons, going from open canopies to mature palm rainforests, and then to a more open country of grassy marshes.

2. Endangered birds

All Macaw species living in the wild are endangered. Most of them are threatened with extinction. With a combination of factors, including the destruction of the rainforests and their natural habitats, hunting, and collection for the pet trade. All the types of Macaws are subjects of conservation and listed on the IUCN (Red List of Threatened Species). Some Macaw species are extinct, and the couple has not been seen in many years and is thought to be gone or close to extinction. All show signs of diminish their populations.

Currently, the IUCN shows that two of the Macaw species are critically at risk, three species are endangered. Moreover, one is threatened, two are unguarded, and nine are of least concern.

Types of Macaws as Pet

1. Red-shouldered Macaw

Red Shouldered Macaw
Image by Wikimedia

These are named for the red wing coverts, lives in South America. It is the smallest species of macaw with a length ranging between 30-35 cm. The bird is native to the savannah, swamplands, and tropical lowland habitats. Moreover, the red-shouldered Macaw has two subspecies, the Hahn’s and the noble macaw.

2. Yellow or Golden-collared Macaw

Yellow or Golden Collared Macaw
Image by Wikimedia

This is a Central South American macaw that has a bright yellow patch at the back of its neck which justifies its name. The main population of the Yellow-collared macaw lives in the Pantanal of Brazil. Mostly found in lowland habitats but in some location live at altitudes up to 5,600 feet. The macaws are not found in the Amazon Rainforest but inhabit other forests, savanna, woodlands, and grasslands.

3. Blue or Illeger’s-winged Macaw

Blue or Illegers Winged Macaw
Image by Wikimedia

This species found in eastern and central South America. These birds inhabit both evergreen and deciduous forests. Unfortunately, deforestation and caged bird trade threat the birds and the IUCN declares them as nearly threat.

4. Blue or Coulon’s headed Macaw

Blue or Coulons headed Macaw
Image by Flickr

The habitat of this macaw is Peru, Bolivia, and far western Brazil. The bird is classified as vulnerable and threatened by habitat loss and capture for the pet trade.

5. Red-bellied Macaw

Red Bellied Macaw
Image by Flickr

The red-bellied macaw is a medium-sized macaw living in South America. The belly of this bird has a large maroon patch which led to its name. The bird is endemic to the tropical Amazon forests of the continent. The range of the macaw includes Colombia, Trinidad, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. The bird inhabits the moriche palm swamp forests and the palm groves of savannahs within its range. The clearing of the palm vegetation for human uses and capture of the birds for the pet trade threatens the survival of this bird.

6. Chestnut-fronted Macaw

Chestnut Fronted Macaw
Image by Flickr

Severe Macaw / Chestnut-fronted Macaw lives in northern South America where its range stretches from Panama to Amazonian Brazil to Bolivia. The birds have a long lifespan of 30-80 years. Although the macaw is mostly green-colour. Moreover, it possesses a chestnut brown patch above its beak.

7. Red-fronted Macaw

The red-fronted macaw

The red-fronted macaw is endemic to Bolivia’s mountainous areas. The species is classified as endangered. Moreover, bred in captivity to ensure the survival of the species.

8. Green or red-and-green winged Macaw

Green Winged Macaw
Image by Flickr

This macaw is another vibrant species of macaw featuring bright red feathers. These birds inhabit the forests and woodlands of South America’s central and northern parts. Although they are still widespread in distribution, their species subjects to the same common threats.

9. Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw
Image by Flickr

The scarlet macaw is a large bird with brilliant red, yellow, and blue coloured feathers. The macaw is native to tropical South America’s humid evergreen forests. These birds have dwindled due to habitat loss and illegal capture for the pet trade.

10. Great green or Buffon’s Macaw

Buffons Macaw
Image by Flickr

This macaw lives in Central and South America. Within its range, the bird inhabits the canopy of wet tropical forests where it is highly dependent on the almendro tree. Habitat loss due to the harvesting of the almendro tree for wood and replacement of forest land by agricultural land threaten the populations of the great green macaw.

11. Military Macaw

Military Macaw
Image by Flickr

The military macaw is a medium-sized macaw species that lives in the forests of Mexico and South America. The predominantly green plumage of the bird reminds one of a military parade uniform. The military macaw is currently classified as vulnerable due to their capture to satisfy the high demands of the pet trade industry.

12. Blue-throated Macaw

Blue Throated Macaw
Image by Flickr

The blue-throated macaw is a species that is inhibit to Los Llanos de Moxos, north-central Bolivia. Due to the highly restricted range of this species and a small population of a few hundred individuals. The illegal pet trade considers to be the main culprit behind the demise of this species. However, regarded as one of Bolivia’s cultural heritage and critically endangered.

13. The blue and yellow Macaw

Blue and Yellow Macaw
Image by Flickr

This is a vibrant bird with blue top parts and yellow underparts. However, we can observe them in the forests and woodlands of tropical South America. The birds are extremely popular among people because of their highlighting colours, talking abilities, and close bonding to humans.

14. Spix’s or little blue Macaw

Spixs Macaw - Types of Macaws
Image by Wikimedia

This is a native bird of Brazil. The bird is medium-size and weighs about 300 gms. This bird exhibits various shades of blue. The species had a highly restricted range due to its heavy dependence on the seeds and nuts of the Caraiba tree and similar flora in the Caatinga dry forest climate of Brazil. Due to the destruction and degradation of habitat, the Spix’s macaw experienced a massive decline in population. Today, the IUCN critically classifies these birds as endangered while some experts believe they are already extinct in the wild.

15. Lear’s, blue or indigo macaw

This macaw is all-blue and a large parrot living in Brazil. Lear’s macaw 75 cm long and its weight is 950g. The Lear’s macaw has a highly restricted range confined to parts of northeast Brazil’s regions. Here, the bird inhabits stands of licuri palm. Due to its restricted range and highly restricted habitat, the Lear’s macaw is an endangered species of bird.

16. Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw - Beautiful in Types of Macaws
Image by Flickr

The hyacinth macaw is a vulnerable macaw species that inhabits eastern and central South America. It is the longest among all species of parrots with a length of about 3.3 feet. Furthermore, it is the heaviest among all species. The flightless kakapo is heavier than the hyacinth macaw. Trapping of wild birds for the pet trade and habitat loss threaten the survival of these birds today.

17. Glaucous Macaw

Glaucous Macaw - Extinct in Types of Macaws
Image by Wikimedia

Critically endangered species of South American parrot that is generally believed to be extinct. The Glaucous macaw was native to parts of Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia. Rumors of sightings of this bird in the wild have kept its status at critically endangered instead of extinct.

18. Hahn’s Macaw

Hahns Macaw - Popular in Types of Macaws
Image by Flickr

Hahn’s macaws are the smallest and the most known among the macaws. These macaws are native to Venezuela, the Guianas, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru, where it inhabits tropical lowlands, savanna and swamplands. Hahn’s are also very intelligent and quick to learn vocalizations and tricks.

Groups of Macaws

1. Genus Ara:

This genus contains 8 of the 17 species. The most easily identifiable is the large macaws because of their large size and realistic colours:

  • Blue and Gold Macaw
  • Green or red-and-green winged Macaw
  • Scarlet Macaw

2. Genus Primolius:

The macaws in genus primolius are the smaller macaws. The Macaw species currently in this group are:

  • Yellow-collared Macaw
  • Illiger’s Macaw or Blue-winged Macaw
  • Blue-headed Macaw

3. Genus Diopsittaca:

These are also the smaller macaws and this group holds three subspecies of the Red-shouldered Macaw, which are:

  • Hahn’s Macaw
  • Noble Macaw
  • Long-winged Macaw
  • 4. Genus Anodorhynchus

These macaws highly endangered which includes:

  • Hyacinth Macaw
  • Glaucous Macaw
  • Lear’s Macaw

5. Genus Orthopsittaca

In this genus, there is only one mini macaw. This Macaw is easy to catch and is very difficult to keep in captivity due to a highly specialized diet. Moreover, it is also very difficult to breed:

  • Red-bellied Macaw

6. Genus Cyanopsitta

This genus contains only one species, and it is very rare and critically endangered:

  • Spix’s or Little blue Macaw

Sizes of Macaws

Macaw types range dramatically in size; with the largest being the Hyacinth Macaw to the smallest being the Red-shouldered Macaw.

All macaws share the same physical characteristics. They all have long tails, slim bodies, and broadheads. Whereas they differ in size and the breath-taking colours of their feathers. The large and mini macaws occur naturally and most of them are endangered.

Types of Macaws are divided into three groups. The first two groups are also Large Macaws and Mini Macaws (true Macaws). The third group is the captive-bred Hybrid Macaws; developed by crossing two different Macaw species to create F1, F2 and further hybrid generations.

Large Macaws

There are 11 living species of the Large Macaw:

  • Blue and Gold Macaw
  • Blue-throated Macaw
  • Buffon’s Macaw
  • Glaucous Macaw
  • Green or red-and-green winged Macaw
  • Hyacinth Macaw
  • Lear’s, Blue or Indigo Macaw
  • Military Macaw
  • Red-fronted Macaw
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Spix’s or Little blue Macaw


There are six small macaw species in this group:

  • Blue-headed Macaw
  • Illiger’s or blue Macaw
  • Severe Macaw
  • Red-bellied Macaw
  • Red-shouldered Macaw
  • Yellow-collared Macaw

Hybrid Macaws

The crosses of different types of macaws produce their astonishing colours.

Hybrid macaws have currently 35+ types. Below are a few numbers of hybrids that are present in each generation of crosses:

  • First-generation F1 hybrid macaws: 15
  • Second generation F2 hybrid macaws: 16
  • Third generation F3 hybrid macaws: 5

Facts summary

  1. Macaws have a beautiful appearance that’s also well adapted to their environment
  2. Macaws are the largest type of parrot
  3. Their habitat is the tropical rainforest
  4. Macaws have a strange connection with poison
  5. Macaws usually mate for life
  6. They are pretty deafening
  7. Some macaws can copy human speech
  8. Long-lived birds
  9. Nearly all categories of Macaws are either threatened, critically endangered or extinct
2 Replies to “18 Different Species of Macaws in The World”
  1. Roberta Lee says:

    The photo for the Red-fronted macaw is a photo of a different macaw, NOT a red- fronted macaw.

    1. Faisal says:

      Hi Roberta, Thanks for the correction

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