Ara ambiguus – Great Green Macaw

The Great Green Macaw – Ara ambiguus (Bechstein, 1811) is listed on CITES Appendix I and EU Annex A as it is critically endangered due to destruction of its natural habitat and trapping for wild-bird trade. Some places it is also considered a pest to agriculture and shot.

They are less gregarious than the other large macaws and are usually seen in pairs or small groups of 3-4 birds. They rest and forage in the top of the canopy and can fly a very long distance to reach their feeding areas.

Their call is a very loud squawk, which your neighbors may not appreciate…

With proper care the lifespan is about 60 years.

They should be kept in a large aviary with a length of at least 15 m, where they can properly exercise their large wings.


Overall green plumage with a characteristic red red forehead and lores. The face is bare white/pink with lines of small olive/brown feathers. Eyes are dull yellow. Upper tail is orange/red tipped with dull blue. Dark grey bill and grey feet.

Juveniles have duller colours and a shorter tail tipped with yellow; the eyes are grey.

Size: 77-85 cm
Weight: 1300 g

Video: Copyright ©  Avi Birds – please also visit for more bird related information.


  • Ara ambiguus ambiguus (Bechstein, 1811) is found in an area ranging from eastern Honduras to northwestern Colombia.
  • Ara ambiguus guayaquilensis (Chapman, 1925) lives in western Ecuador. It is similar to the nominate species but the bill is smaller and narrower.


Their natural habitat spans a range from eastern Honduras to western Ecuador. They prefer lowland humid forest but are also found in strongly deciduous forest.

In Costa Rica they are mainly found in lowland primary forest up to 600 m, in Panama they are found up to 1000 m.


The wild diet include nuts, seeds, fruits, bulbs, flowers, roots and bark. The powerful bill can easily crack even the hardest nuts.

High quality pellet should form the basis of the diet. Soaked or sprouted sunflower seed is a healthy supplement. Also provide nuts like walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts and pine nuts. Provide a variety of fruit and vegetables e.g. fresh corn, cooked maize, banana, apples and oranges.


A 60 x 90 cm barrel is used as nestbox.

The clutch usually contains 3 eggs, that are incubated for about 26 days. The chicks reach fledging age after 12-13 weeks.



  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Ara


  • Danish: Stor Soldaterara, Stor Soldater Ara
  • English: Great Green Macaw, Buffon’s Macaw, Grand Military Macaw, Green Macaw
  • French: Ara de Buffon, Grand Ara vert
  • German: Bechsteinara, Bechstein-Ara, Grosser Soldatenara
  • Portuguese: Arara-militar-grande
  • Spanish: Guacamaya Verdelimón, Guacamayo Ambiguo, Guacamayo de Cara Blanca, Guacamayo verde mayor, Guara verde, Lapa Verde
  • Scientific: Ara ambiguus

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International 2020. Ara ambiguus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T22685553A172908289.
Downloaded on 9 July 2021