Red-Fronted Macaw Care Sheet

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Scientific Facts

Common Name:Red-fronted macaw, Red-cheeked macaw
Scientific Name:Ara rubrogenys
Life Span:Up to 50 years
Weight:525 to 550 grams
Length:24 inches
Habitat:The warm and dry semi-tropical climate
Country of Origin:Bolivia

Physical Description

Just like their relatives, the red-fronted macaw is full of striking colors and beautiful patterns. Their body is mostly covered by beautiful, lush green, with a lighter green all over but a darker one on the neck and the head. They got their namesake from the large red patch they have on their foreheads, and this characteristic is also how they are distinguished from other macaws. This coloring is also combined with a red dusting on their cheeks, which will make it seem like they are blushing.

Their face is a white and pinkish area, with faint brown feather tracings. These birds also have a touch of blue towards their flight feathers and mixture between orange and red on the very top of their wings. Their legs are dark gray, their beaks are gray-black, and their eyes are orange. When these colors all combine, you will be able to witness the magnificent beauty of the red-fronted macaw.

The red-fronted macaws are considered one of the smaller types among the large macaws. They are a few inches bigger than mini macaws, at 24 inches in height.

Conservation Status

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According to the IUCN Red List, the Red-fronted Macaws were critically endangered as of its last assessment on August 9, 2018. At present, the current number of mature species is at 134 to 272 individuals. The threats that they face involve hunting, trapping, logging, wood harvesting, livestock farming, and agricultural pollution. It has also been studied that the red-fronted macaws are attacked by peregrine falcons, and they flock together as an anti-predation mechanism.

The current conservation action plans in place are:

  1. Action recovery plan
  2. Systematic monitoring schemes
  3. Land protection in the conversation sites
  4. Education and awareness programs

Availability and Natural Habitat

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Red-fronted macaws are found living in a very small region in Central Bolivia. The geographic location that is correlated to them is the mountainous area between the Bolivian cities of Cochamba and Santa Cruz. They prefer living in an arid, semi-desert environment.

They live in the warm and dry valleys of Bolivia. This place has a low annual rainfall level measured at 300 to 800 mm, with the vegetation that is primarily thorny scrub with a variety of cacti. Red-fronted macaws also reside in the cavities of gorges and river-side canyons, especially when nesting.

Due to their small habitat, the red-fronted macaw has been declared as an endangered species. This quick population decline is linked to the country’s urbanization, loss of habitat, excess killing by local farmers, and illegal trade.

Behavior, Exercise, and Training

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The red-fronted macaws are affectionate and seen as endlessly fun parrots. They are one of the cuddliest breeds of the macaw family.  These birds are also known for being calm, affectionate,                cuddly, intelligent, and inquisitive. Their personalities usually enjoy goofing around and having fun. But, to make sure that they will not grow up to be fearful birds, they must be exposed to socialization at an early age. They also have a tendency to become destructive and nippy like a child throwing tantrums.

In terms of speech and sound, these birds are filled with a little bit of everything. From an early age, they can be trained to learn a few basic words to repeat. As they mature, they will try and mimic actual human conversations. When they call, these birds screech and caw loudly. These calls do not always happen and will usually mean that they are feeling lonesome, neglected, or if something wrong is going on. If you are easily irritated by a loud noise like this one, make sure to always interact with your pet and that all of their needs are provided.

Socially, these birds enjoy being in small groups and interacting with humans. They enjoy being the center of attention, playing around, and being mischievous. They can also be very loud to gain everyone’s attention. These gentle birds love being parts of human families, and they often play favorites among groups of people. They have the ability to mirror moods, though, so agitated humans can make them feel agitated as well.

Food and Eating Habits

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When they are in the wild, these beautiful birds live in an inhospitable environment that is almost totally dry. They are observed to consume peanuts, corn, cactus fruits, and native fruits. They also eat a variety of insects, larvae, commercial pellets, and nuts.

For red-fronted macaws that are kept in captivity, there is commercially available pet food that are designed pellet mixes and prepared Macaw seed mixes. If you can provide them with the foods that they naturally eat and other nutritious fruits or vegetables that you have eaten yourself. Most parrots also eat protein while they are in the wild, and they also enjoy eating chicken. Make sure not to give them chocolate and avocado as these are toxic to these parrots.


Red-fronted macaws are monogamous species that bond with one individual and maintain their pairings. Even outside the breeding season, the pairs still exclusively copulate and preen with each other to maintain their relationships. Mates are also seen caressing each other’s faces by grasping each one’s beaks or nibbling each other’s face feathers.

These birds can be seen breeding once a year between October and March yearly. They nest in cavities on angled cliff sides of narrow, rocky gorges. Their nests usually are comprised of sandstone. They also lay 1 to 3 eggs per season, and their incubation lasts for about 26 days.

It has been observed that both male and female parents tend to the nest and show parental care. Even when the eggs have already hatched, both parents still take time to watch over their children. Once the juveniles age a little, they join the flock of their parents and enjoy social activities.

Environment and Ecosystem Roles

Red-fronted macaws have a mutualistic relationship with cacti in the wild. The birds help disperse the seeds in the environment after they consume the fruits of the cacti plant. The cacti seeds are left unharmed and are distributed throughout the valley, therefore, propagating the plant species. This is also the role of the red-fronted macaws throughout Bolivia. They are able to help in plant pollination and preserve the beautiful botanical communities in their home country.

Common Health Problems

Compared to other macaws, red-fronted macaws are the hardiest. They are able to adapt quickly to environmental changes, and they have a strong health. As an owner, as long as they are exposed to optimal living conditions like temperatures, food, and exercise, they will grow to be happy and healthy birds.

The best way to prevent diseases is to expose them to sunlight, lots of room to move freely, and keeping up good hygiene.

But, caring regardless, these birds can still contract different types of illnesses, like the following:

For juveniles:

  1. Constricted toe syndrome
  2. Excessive chewing of flight feathers and tail feathers
  3. Beak malformation

For adults:

  1. Aspergillosis
  2. Bacterial, viral and fungal infections
  3. Chewing flight and tail feathers by juveniles
  4. Chlamydiosis
  5. Feather picking
  6. Gout
  7. Heavy metal poisoning
  8. Kidney disease
  9. Macaw wasting disease
  10. Oral and cloacal papillomas
  11. Pancreatitis
  12. Proventricular Dilatation Disease
  13. Psittacosis
  14. Toxicity


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The Red-fronted Macaw is highly adaptable, and they love being handled. But, if you have just gotten your pet, it would be best to give it a few days before you attempt handling. Introduce yourself and familiarize them with your voice by being friendly with them first. Also, remember that handling, training, and taming a bird can take time and patience, so make it a point to gain your bird’s trust. The red-fronted macaw prefers learning tricks and accomplishing tasks instead of learning words, but they will still mimic and talk using a few phrases.

Environment and Housing

For the red-fronted macaw, it is essential to provide them with a large cage so that they will have an adequate space to fly, extend their wings, and explore their perches. Their cages must have durable wires, escape-proof latches, and sturdy locks because these red-fronted macaws are amazing escape artists.

The roomy cage to provide these birds must be as large as 2 ½ by 3 feet, but these birds will still prefer being let outside their cages for about 2 hours to 3 hours per day. If you can, you can assign a bird room in your house where they can thrive freely. You can design them with perches and playpens. These bird perches are where these macaws spend most of their time with, so having a few at varying heights will be enjoyed by your pet.

Because these birds are great chewers, their housing must have lots of chewing material. There are toys that you can get from pet stores, or you can opt for getting branches from fruit trees. They should also be provided with a nesting box. It can either be vertical or horizontal in shape, as long as it would be roomy enough for eggs.

Fun Facts about the Red-fronted Macaw

  1. The Red-fronted Macaw is also called red-cheeked macaw and Lafresnaye’s macaw.
  2. The Red-fronted Macaw can fly with a speed of up to 40 miles per hour.
  3. The Red-fronted Macaw, which is a strong flyer, can fly even in the midst of a sandstorm.
  4. In Spanish, the red-fronted macaw is called Guacamayo Frentirroja and Guacamayo de Cochabamba.
  5. A clutch of a red-fronted macaw comprises of 1 to 3 eggs.
  6. When kept in pairs, the red-fronted macaws love singing together.
  7. These species love living in subtropical climates, where it is both dry and warm.

Where Can You Get a Pet Red-fronted Macaw?

If you are interested in getting a pet Red-fronted Macaw to care for, there are available individuals from reputable breeders. You can search for ones in your locality or find one online.

How to Care for a Pet Red-fronted Macaw?

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Red-fronted macaws are energetic beings, and you should be able to provide them great sources of energy. Provide them their natural diet of palm nuts, formulated food, and fresh fruits or vegetables.

You should also maintain good hygiene. This can be done by sprinkling them with a hose when their cages are placed outside, then allowing them to bask in the sun to dry. Frequent bathing will allow their skin and plumage to stay healthy.

Additionally, you should maintain basic cage care for their housing. This involves replacing their water daily and regularly cleaning their food dishes. Once a week, you should also wash all of the bird perches and dirty toys. Also, wash down the floors of the cage about every other week. If they live in an aviary, a total disinfecting and hosing down must be down once or twice in a year. You should also replace once or twice the old toys, perches, and old dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Red-fronted Macaw cost?

Red-fronted Macaws are available for about 1,500 dollars.

Do Red-fronted Macaws make good pets?

Yes, the Red-fronted Macaws are trainable birds, with excellent health, and can live for a very long time – up to 50 years.

How long do Red-fronted Macaws live?

Red-fronted macaws live for about up to 50 years.

Why are the Red-fronted Macaws endangered?

The Red-fronted macaws became endangered because of the loss of their natural habitat, illegal bird trafficking, aging population, illegal pet trade, and persecution by Bolivian farmers who view these birds as pests.

Are Red-fronted Macaws considered as parrots?

Red-fronted Macaws are seen as “true parrots” because they are large in size, very colorful, with the same levels of intelligence. They belong to the large scope of the parrot family.

What do Red-fronted Macaws sound like?

The Red-fronted macaws produce loud musical notes, ringing calls, shrills, squeaks, and growls. When trained, they also speak words very clearly.

What do Red-fronted Macaws eat?

Red-fronted macaws love to eat seeds, nuts, vegetables, and cacti.

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