Severe Macaw Profile

SEVERE MACAW
Ara severa

by Sally Blanchard

» Also called the Chestnut-fronted Macaw
» 18" and half of this length is their tail
» Severes are endemic to northern South America ranging from Panama to Amazonian Brazil (although they are rare in the Amazon river basin) and northern Bolivia.
» Severe Macaw populations are considered to be stable.


Severe  macaws have a reputation for being more sensitive and therefore, often more aggressive than some of the other macaws. I haven’t found this to be particularly true although it could be true of some individuals. Young birds should be well-socialized and if they are, Severes can be playful, intelligent, amusing, and real game players (positive fun games!) Severes also have a one-person bird  reputation but this is most likely if people don’t follow the guidelines for keeping the bird tame to several people. Like most macaws, they also can be noisy but again, negative noises can be diverted into more pleasant noises with  instructional interaction. Most will learn to say a few words, usually in a very endearing voice. Severe macaws play sometimes by pinching their caregivers. Rewarding the nippiness with a dramatic response will just increase the bird’s incentive to continue the behavior. Keeping a soft foot toy or even a knotted washrag to stick in the Macaw’s beak to continue the play is the best way to deal with it.

 One of my favorite Severe macaws lived with friends of mine. He loves to play a game that I call “hit and run.” I was sitting on the couch while my friends were in the kitchen fixing something to eat. The bird was on his play gym next to the other end of the couch. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he was surreptitiously sneaking down his play gym onto the couch. Then he quickly ran across the couch and bonked me on the arm with his beak, said “Ow” and ran cackling back to his cage. He did this one more time and I decided that best way to accept his invitation to play was to gently bonk him with a throw pillow when he got to me. This was a message to him that I knew he was playing and wanted to play too. He loved it and we continued the game until the food was delivered for all of us


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