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Great green macaw

Latin name: Ara ambiguus

Areas: | Ecuador |

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Great green macaw

“With so few left in Ecuador, the Awacachi Corridor, between Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and the Awá Ethnic Reserve, may be an extremely important stronghold for the species.

FFI is proud to have safeguarded the Corridor and to be actively supporting its conservation to this day.”

Berry Mulligan

FFI Americas & Caribbean Programme Officer

An image relating to Great green macaw

The image of a tropical rainforest wouldn’t be complete without a gaggle of squawking parrots. The great green macaw is one of the larger and more colourful parrots in South and Central America’s forests.

Sadly, as their habitat disappears, so do they. As little as 30% of its original range may remain. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is working to save threatened Chocó rainforest in north-western Ecuador, one of the last places the bird survives in the country.

Great green macaw facts

  • One of the world’s largest parrots – adults can reach 85–90 cm long
  • Intelligent, social birds that often gather in large noisy flocks
  • Macaws boast large, powerful beaks that easily crack nuts and seeds. There is some evidence to suggest that orchids form an important part of their diet in Ecuador
  • Macaws typically mate for life, sharing food and mutually grooming each other
  • Lives in small, highly fragmented populations from Honduras to north-western Colombia, and into western Ecuador
  • Less than 2500 individuals remain, with roughly 60-90 individuals in Ecuador
  • Threats include habitat loss from urbanisation and agricultural expansion, hunting, illegal capture for the bird trade

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Did you know?

The great green macaw shares it home in the Awacachi Corridor with many other threatened species including the brown-headed spider monkey (pictured right), the greater long-tailed bat and the banded ground-cuckoo.

Human-wildlife conflict

Great green macaws are often viewed as crop pests and so are shot on sight by farmers. Expansion of farmland by growing populations around the world is leading to ever-shrinking habitat fragments. This can force wildlife to search for food outside their natural habitat, leading to conflict with poor farmers who rely on their crops for subsistence.

FFI trains people around the world to help find locally appropriate solutions to the problem. Learn more about FFI’s efforts to combat human-wildlife conflict in Georgia, Cambodia and Indonesia.

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