Ara ambigua ........................................................... By Gideon Scheepers


These magnificent macaws are yellowish-green with a red frontal band on the forehead. The bare facial area is whitish with black feather-lines. The huge bill is black with a pale horn coloured tip. They have a yellowish iris and the feet are grey. They are 85 cm in length



Range & Habitat

They occur in western Colombia in Baudó Mountains, Panama and Costa Rica to Nicaragua They prefer the humid lowland forest, seasonal dry forest and cleared areas. They are extremely rare and highly endangered due to habitat destruction and trapping. Usually seen in pairs, and small family groups and only rarely in flocks of 8 to 12 birds; very occasionally solitary birds will be seen. Unfortunately their nesting trees are illigally cut down some 9 of these permanent nests have been lost over the past years due to this. There are now only approximately 35 pairs breeding in Costa Rica

Housing in Aviculture

Large aviary is needed about 10m long as they are strong flyers. They can also be housed in a large suspended flight. Obviously a strong heavy gauge mesh should be used to combat those powerful bills. They must be supplied with sturdy perches and enough fresh branches to keep them occupied.

Breeding in Aviculture

These great parrots are bred quite regularly, but they still remain scarce in South Africa, with an excess of males. They become nest active in spring and the male will become aggressive towards the keeper. The hen lays a clutch consisting of 1 to 3 eggs and will incubate for about 26 days. The young will fledge at the age of 12-13 weeks; the young are independent 2 weeks after. The nestbox must be sturdy and placed in such a way that inspection can be carried out from outside the aviary, also keep nest inspection to a minimum as it upsets the birds and the chances are great of damage to eggs or young.


The only known mutation is a cinnamon, if you know of any please send a photo with a description and some history to Gideon


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