The Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloropterus) is a large, mostly red parrot with a long tail, conspicuous green upperwing coverts, and a large bill. It is most easily distinguished from the largely sympatric (i.e., geographically co-occurring) Scarlet Macaw (A. macao) by the fact that it has green upperwing coverts (bright yellow in Scarlet Macaw, although immature Red-and-green Macaws may show some yellowish green), red feathered lines on the twin white face patches, and a slightly larger size.
Red-and-green Macaws are usually seen in pairs, small flocks of several pairs, or (less frequently) family groups. They sometimes associate with Scarlet or Blue-and-yellow Macaws (Ara ararauna). In the northern part of their range, Red-and-green Macaws tend to inhabit terra firme rainforest (forests that do not experience seasonal flooding), apparently avoiding swampy areas. In the southern and eastern parts of the range, they are often found in more open and drier habitats. They have been reported to elevations of 1000 m in Panama, 500 m in Colombia, and 1400 m in Venezuela. Large trees with cavities are generally required for nesting, but in some areas they nest in crevices in rock faces. Red-and-green Macaws are generally absent near human population centers. Birds forage in the canopy, feeding on fruits and seeds.
Red-and-green Macaws are found in eastern Panama and South America south to (at least reported formerly, though conceivably based on escaped captives) northern Argentina. This species is generally uncommon due to population declines from capture for the pet trade, habitat loss, and hunting. It is locally distributed in Panama, Venezuela, and Bolivia, but widespread throughout much of the Amazon basin. It is also widespread in captivity.
Collar (1997) argues that the spelling of the specific epithet is probably more appropriately "chloroptera" rather than "chloropterus".
(Collar 1997 and references therein; Juniper and Parr 1998 and references therein)
- Collar, N.J. 1997. Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloroptera). P. 422 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Juniper, T. and M. Parr. 1998. Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.