Although the Military Macaw Ara militaris isn’t quite as brilliant in its mixture of colors as those found on many of the other large Macaws, it’s a very impressive parrot in its own right. This is a favorite Macaw to keep as a pet because of its social and affectionate demeanor, and being very intelligent, it is readily trainable. The Military Macaw makes an excellent show bird and is often used as an entertainer and to eduparrote people about birds.
Military Macaws have been recognized and kept in captivity for a very long time. Early writings indiparrote that they first became well known to Europeans at the time of the invasion of Mexico. That was in the beginning of the 1500’s, an impressive 500 years ago! References made during the invasion indiparrote the bird was quite valuable to the Incas as well. There are additional references to this bird in 1609, and again in 1741.
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The Military Macaw is very similar to the Buffon’s Macaw, but it is a bit smaller and a brighter green. P. J. Selby, in the early 19th century, referred to this bird as the “Great Green Macaw”. He describes the Military Macaw’s color as being a “fine and lively green”. Today, however, the name Great Green Macaw is more commonly associated with the Buffon’s Macaw.
There are three recognized subspecies of Military Macaws. All three of these have only slight differences in appearance, they vary primarily in the regions from where they originate. The nominate species Ara m. militaris, is found in Northwest Venezuela, Colombia, Eastern Ecuador and Northern Peru, and is the most commonly available. The other two species are the Bolivian Military Macaw Ara m. boliviana which is found in Bolivia and Northern Argentina, and the Mexican Military Macaw Ara m. mexicana which is from Mexico. These two are quite sparse in captivity. It is said these two comprise only about 5% or so of the Military Macaws found in the pet trade.
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A Military Macaw that is given good interaction and attention from its keeper can become quite tame and friendly. Like all Macaws, the Military Macaw is quite inquisitive and intelligent. They are considered to be fair talkers and are excellent at learning tricks. They are a superb choice for a show bird. “Kippit” shown in the picture above is a five-month-old Military Macaw. He is a juvenile that has been well socialized with lots of people. He is alert and playful, and always enjoys interacting and getting treats.