Great Green Macaw
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. great green macaw
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  • Scientific Name:  Ara ambigua ambigua
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  2... Ara ambigua ambigua,   A. a. guayaquilensis - Ecuadorian Buffon's Macaw.
  • Origin / Distribution:  Nicaragua southward to Colombia,  South America.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Forests and surrounding semi cleared areas, plus mangrove swamps.
  • Status In Wild:  Listed on the CITES Appendix 1 list.  Rare and endangered bird in the wild with only about 200 birds, and only about 35 pairs regularly breeding.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Rare
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  4 - 5 years
  • Adult plumage:  Attained at by the time they leave the nest. 
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  6th year onwards
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 25 or more years
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  None in Australia, but 2 colour mutations are available overseas.  (There are only a few hundred birds world wide but overseas breeders are trying to establish colour mutations.  Why??)
  • Availability:  Specialist breeders
  • Temperament:  Often regarded as aggressive birds during the breeding season.  Compatible pairs are hard to find.  Generally a quiet macaw species although they may become noisy at the start of the breeding season.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $ Lots
  • Description Of Adults:  Similar to the Military Macaw.  Larger than the Military Macaw.
  1. Length: Approx. 800 - 890 mm (or approx. 31 - 35 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 1000 - 1400 gms (or approx. 36 - 50 ozs)

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements:  Refer to " Macaws " web page for general details on the housing of Macaws or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Needs a good supply of fresh branches to chew.  They are large macaws and prefer a large aviary of up to 8 metres long.  Can be housed and bred in a suspended cage if they have access to an aviary during the non breeding season.

Diet / Feeding:   Refer to " Macaws " web page for general details on the feeding of Macaws or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Natural diet include seeds, fruits, nuts and other vegetable matter.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.  Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

  • Nesting months:
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth 900 mm (or approx. 36 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 500 mm. (or approx. 20 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 500 mm square (or approx. 20 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 170 - 180 mm (or approx. 7 - 8 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 - 150 mm (or approx 4 - 6 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box = Usually at mid height under the sheltered portion of the aviary, but may be higher but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
    • Angle of log or nest box = Usually vertical or near vertical but can be on any angle through to horizontal.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

It is important to have a strong "chew proof" ladder (10 gauge wire mesh is often used ) on the inside of the nest box, below the entry hole to allow the birds to climb down to the floor of the nest instead of jumping.  The internal ladder is essential in nest boxes that are in a vertical or near vertical position.  The ladder also allows the birds to easily and safely exit the nest.  With nests placed in a horizontal or near horizontal position a ladder may not be required.
Nest boxes/logs should be placed middle height to high up in the aviary under cover.  Many prefer the nest box / log opening to be in a darker / shaded part of the aviary that provides a degree of privacy.  At least one perch should be at each end of the aviary and one perch should be close to the nest and be about the same height as the nest opening.  The perch closest to the nest opening is the perch most often used during the breeding season.  The cock bird will use the closest perch to the nest so he can protect the nest, the hen and their offspring.  The same perch configuration applies to suspended cages.
More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the
"nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding:  Egg Colour  White.  Clutch/s per year  1.  Eggs per nest  2 - 4.  Incubation approx.  26 - 28 days.  Fledge approx.14 - 15 weeks.  Independent .. Usually by about 20 weeks of age.

Nest inspections are generally not tolerated.

The Great Green Macaw can be aggressive towards the keeper during the breeding season.  These macaws require more privacy than the other macaws if they are to be bred successfully.  Nest boxes are best positioned so the nest inspection can be carried out from outside the aviary.  Nest inspection is best done when the adult birds are out of the nest.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues:  Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture

  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 8. Apr-May 1997 Page 403-404 (Buffon's Macaw)

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