The Blue-Throated Macaw



  • Common Name:  Macaw - Blue Throated
  • Other Common Names:  Wagler's Macaw
  • Scientific Name:  Ara glaucogularis
  • Group:
  • Origin or Range:  South America
  • Relative Size:  Much Larger Than Average 
  • Average Lifespan:  ??? years
  • Compatibility:  Relatively Non-Aggressive
  • Category:  Parrots

With its friendly, docile personality and its crazy antics, the rare Blue-Throated Macaw or Wagler's Macaw is a bird that makes a wonderful pet and yet whose extinction is eminent.

In the wild, the Blue-Throated Macaw is a social bird who is often seen in the company of Blue and Gold Macaws. In captivity, these birds are friendly and curious and tend to be surprisingly calm in social situations. They enjoy human and avian interaction and will be extremely mellow and docile when keeping your company, loving hours of attention in their keeper's lap or arms. They rarely ever bite, choosing to flee rather than fight if they feel threatened. They relate to the world by chewing on it, and explore everything with their tongues and beaks, including you. Left to their own devices, Blue-Throated Macaws will entertain themselves for hours with spontaneous acrobatics and one-bird circle races. Blue-Throated Macaws are also very quiet; they have a squawk, which they emit with surprise or as greeting, but usually prefer to "chat" for hours in a quieter voice. They can be taught English and will talk to themselves if left alone. In the wild, they eat the pulp of palm fruits, scraping out the mesocarp with a specially adapted beak, and will eat other fruits in addition to insects and larvae. In captivity, they need plenty of wood to chew on to help prevent boredom. If they are to be housed in an aviary they will need a very large metal and mesh enclosure: a 24 by nine by six foot space with an nine by six by six foot enclosed shelter from the elements will work nicely. Provide a nesting box as well, and be sure the opening is large enough for your Blue-Throated Macaw to squeeze through. Do not let the aviary temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This Macaw loves to interact with other birds, but may get aggressive toward like-size birds in the mating season and have even been known to show aggression toward their keepers at this time. In the wild, they build nests in palm trees and breed between August and September. Blue-Throated Macaws are friendly, loving, and undemanding, and make great beginners' or apartment dwellers' birds.

The Blue-Throated Macaw has a teal-blue throat, forehead, neck, tail, and wings, with matching feather stripes over a naked face. These blue-green feathers have an impressive metallic sheen. They have yellow wing undersides, bodies, and breasts, and some have a yellow separation between the throat and neck and under the tail the feathers are orange with gray legs and eyes. They have a narrow black chisel-shaped beak with long lower jaws that allow them to scoop the pulp from palm fruits. These lovely birds have a wingspan of 36 to 40 inches and a body length of 29 to 32 inches.

In the wild, the Blue-Throated Macaw is nearly extinct and there may be as few as 200 of them remaining in their native tropical savannahs and woodlands. They are found in Central Bolivia and occasionally in Argentina and it is thought that they once existed in Paraguay, though habitat destruction has ravaged their numbers. Blue-Throated Macaws are dependent upon palm trees, which are destroyed to make cattle grazing land or cropland. Until the 1970's, they were known as the Caninde Macaw and was thought to be a subspecies of Blue and Gold Macaw or an immature version of this bird. In 1984, at Loro Parque, the Blue-Throated Macaw was successfully bred in captivity for the first time and since then captive breeding programs have flourished. Now the Blue-Throated Macaw is available as a pet, though it remains quite rare and expensive.

It should be noted that these Macaws are expert mechanics and can easily open just about anything. Few cages are designed well enough to keep them in and the only safe way of keeping a Blue Throat contained is with a padlock!

Dietary requirements are about the same for any large macaw. A healthy diet consisting of quality pellets, fresh sprouts, fresh veggies, small amounts of fruit and quality nuts will serve them well.

Captive breeding is quite important, as it remains the largest hope for the future of the Blue-Throated Macaw. Breeding season usually begins in February in captivity and pairs may be isolated or left in a large aviary. Be careful, because they may become aggressive at this time. The clutch consists of one to three eggs, which incubate for about four weeks. The hatchlings will be in the fledgling phase for about 90 days while they remain with their parents. During this time, only inspect the nesting box while the parents are not present, or they will become quite upset and may injure their eggs. They may breed twice in a year without problems, but in colder climates will only achieve such fertility if kept indoors. Immature Blue-Throated Macaws have shorter tails and brown eyes.


STARescue, Inc.

Copyright 2004 [Southeast Texas Avian Rescue, Inc.]. All rights reserved. Revised: 12/10/11