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Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), the third largest macaw, is perhaps the most beautiful of all the macaws, with its brilliant colors of red, yellow, and blues. Seeing a Scarlet Macaw in the rainforest, flying low over the treetops in the late afternoon with the sun shining on the yellow wing patches making them appear golden, is one of the true delights in the life of a bird enthusiast.

Scarlet Macaws are found throughout the neo tropical rainforests of South America all the way up through Central America into southern Mexico. Unfortunately, they are becoming quite rare in Central America and are nearly extinct in Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua and are gone from El Salvador. Though still abundant in countries such as Brasil, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia, they are now listed as endangered on CITES Appendix 1, which prohibits their international trade. Scarlets breed in the hollows of large trees, often in holes created when branches break away exposing the soft heartwood, which readily decays in the humid forest.

In the USA Scarlet Macaws are fairly common, though not as common as the Blue & Gold, though they are easy to breed. We provide them with old wine barrels for nesting, in which they will lay 3-4 eggs that require the typical incubation period for macaws of 28 days. We let the parents incubate and hatch their eggs and after three weeks, the young are removed to our nursery for handfeeding. The babies wean in approximately three months onto a diet of seeds, mixed nuts (filberts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, almonds and Brasil nuts) and vegetables.

Scarlets make good pets, but require more effort than other macaws, because they have a tendency to bond to 1) either one sex, or 2) to one or two individuals within the household. With those they do not bond they can become nippy. However, they are very affectionate to those they like. The key to happiness with Scarlet Macaws is good socialization. And, they are the best in talking ability of all the macaws. They should be given lots of toys to play with, and be soicalized early on with all members of the family.