Military Macaw

Military Macaw
Scientific NameAra militaris
Common NameMilitary Macaw
Care LevelIntermediate
Lifespan50-60 years
Adult Size28-32 inches
DietFruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables
OriginCentral and South America
TemperamentIntelligent, social, loud

History & Domestication

The Military Macaw, named for its uniform-like green plumage, is native to the forests of Central and South America. These magnificent birds have held a spot in avian fascination for centuries, as they are often seen soaring over the rainforests or perched high on treetops and cliffs. Historically, they’ve been admired for their striking appearance, captivating presence, and remarkable intelligence.

Unfortunately, due to habitat destruction, poaching, and the pet trade, the wild populations of Military Macaws have seen significant decline, prompting international conservation efforts. Today, while they are bred in captivity for the pet market, their wild status remains precarious, pushing many enthusiasts to advocate for responsible breeding and trade practices.


Sporting a sturdy build, the Military Macaw usually measures between 28 to 32 inches from beak to tail tip. This makes them one of the medium-sized macaws, although they certainly demand space and attention fitting for a bird even larger in stature.


One of the hallmarks of macaws, including the Military Macaw, is their impressive longevity. With proper care, a balanced diet, and regular health checks, these birds can live for 50 to 60 years, if not more. This long lifespan emphasizes the importance of understanding the commitment required when deciding to adopt or purchase one.


Breeding Military Macaws in captivity demands expertise, patience, and a keen understanding of their needs. These birds form strong pair bonds, and, when given the right environment, can reproduce successfully. In the wild, they often choose tree hollows or cliff crevices to lay their eggs. Captive breeding necessitates spacious aviaries, nesting boxes, and a diet rich in nutrients to support egg-laying and chick rearing.

Unique Features

The Military Macaw’s most distinguishing feature is its olive-green plumage, reminiscent of a military uniform. This vivid green is accented with feathers of blue and red, especially on their tail and wingtips. The facial feather pattern on these birds is also unique, with individual variations much like human fingerprints.

Behavior and Temperament

Renowned for their intelligence, Military Macaws are quick learners and exhibit a range of behaviors and vocalizations. They can be trained to perform tricks, mimic sounds, and even engage in problem-solving activities. They’re social creatures, often seeking interaction and stimulation. However, like many macaws, they can be loud, which potential owners should consider.


Engaging with a Military Macaw requires understanding and patience. While they’re quick learners and can be trained for handling, positive reinforcement techniques are essential. Building a bond of trust is pivotal, and once established, these birds can be incredibly affectionate, enjoying time out of their cage and interaction with their human companions.

Grooming Needs

Regular grooming is vital to ensure a Military Macaw remains in good health. This includes nail trimming, regular baths or misting to keep their feathers in top condition, and beak checks to ensure it’s not overgrowing or becoming damaged.

Diet & Nutrition

While their natural diet consists largely of fruits, seeds, and nuts, in captivity, it’s crucial to offer a balanced diet. This includes high-quality pellets, fresh fruits, vegetables, and the occasional treat. Additionally, providing them with nuts in the shell can be a source of enrichment, given their love for cracking them open.


Native to tropical rainforests, Military Macaws are accustomed to warm, humid environments. In captivity, maintaining a consistent temperature and ensuring they’re not exposed to drafts is crucial for their well-being.

Common Health Issues

Like many parrots, Military Macaws can be prone to certain health issues. This includes respiratory disorders, beak malformations, and feather-plucking. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and environmental enrichment can go a long way in preventing many of these issues.

Habitat Requirements

Due to their size and activity level, Military Macaws require spacious enclosures. A large cage or aviary, equipped with sturdy perches, toys, and room to fly, is essential. They also benefit from time outside their cage, in a bird-safe environment, for additional exercise and stimulation.

Cost of Care

The initial cost of purchasing a Military Macaw is just the beginning. Ongoing costs include a suitable habitat, dietary needs, toys, regular health check-ups, and potential emergency care. As with any long-lived pet, potential owners should be prepared for both the time and financial commitments necessary to provide a Military Macaw with a fulfilling life.

Military Macaw FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)