Military Macaw Profile


Ara militaris

by Sally Blanchard

» Disjointed ranges in Mexico and South America including Colombia, northwesternVenezuela, eastern Ecuador, and Bolivia.
» Often live at higher altitudes than most other macaws.
» Three sub-species: Ara militaris militaris, Ara m. Mexicana, and Ara m. Boliviaqna
» 27 to 28"
» Vulnerable CITES I

Military macaws have never been as popular as some of the other large macaws. Perhaps it is because they are not as colorful or maybe it is because they have a “bad rap” for becoming aggressive as they mature. According to the consensus of Military macaw caregivers I have talked with, this rumor of advancing aggression is nonsense. As with most parrots, their potential as a human companion is usually determined by early socialization and the way  people provide guidance. If military macaws have been nurtured as youngsters, maintaining their gentleness is possible with the proper guidance and gentle handling. There is no reason that they can’t be as good a companion as any other macaw species.

In working with many macaws over three decades, I have met more than a few remarkable militaries. This included a wild-caught military I tamed for a bird shop. They called him “Slasher” and he had never been out of his cage in the three years since they had purchased him from a quarantine station. By lowering my energy so that he would trust me, I was able to skritch him all over his body within less than a half an hour and he was sitting on my hand in another fifteen minutes. I met one delightful wild-caught military who was over twenty when I met him. He would give any visitor a great smacking kiss.

Several years ago, one Pet Bird Report reader wrote to ask why military macaws had such a negative reputation for bad behavior, poor coloration, and not talking when her military has a sweet gentle personality, was gorgeous, and clearly spoke about forty words. Luckily she had not been deterred by their negative reputation before she bought her macaw or she may have chosen another species. Perhaps because she didn’t believe the inaccurate generalization so it didn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 




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