Red-Fronted Macaw (Complete Species Profile)

Last Updated on March 5, 2023 by Ali Shahid

The Red-fronted macaw, typically considered a “mini macaw,” is not at all that small. Being a cuddlier breed of macaw, they are capable of being quite calm and affectionate.

The handsome Red-fronted Macaw found only in Bolivian scrub forests, now decorates official government vehicles and buildings as a symbol of national pride.

This species of parrot is extremely intelligent and has an inquisitive personality as well as a desire to play and have fun. It is all these balanced traits that make the Red Fronted Macaw a highly desirable and popular pet parrot worldwide.

In honor of the French ornithologist Frederic de Lafresnaye, it is sometimes called Lafresnaye’s macaw. Here is more information about the Red-Fronted Macaw.

Origin and History of Red-Fronted Macaw

Red-fronted macaws live in a mountainous region of south-central Bolivia near Santa Cruz, where the climate is semi-desert at medium altitudes. Throughout the area, cactus (large and small) and thorny trees are the most common forms of natural vegetation.

This region has a semi-arid climate with cold nights and hot days. It rains infrequently due to heavy storms. This macaw occupies an unusual climatic zone, making it the only species of macaw to do so.

The macaw nests in vertical fissures in cliff faces as opposed to holes in large trees. Agricultural and urban development have destroyed their limited wild habitat. In the wild, the Red-Fronted Macaw has now been classified as critically endangered.

According to some estimates, only 650-800 red-fronted macaws remain. Captive breeding has assisted in increasing the number of these birds as pets and may have contributed to their survival.

Physical Appearance

An average red-fronted macaw measures 60 cm (24 in) in length and the wingspan is 81.28 cm (32 in). Their weight ranges between 425 and 550 grams, making them the lightest macaw.

The red-fronted macaw is primarily green in color with red spots on its forehead, shoulders, and behind its eyes. Its primary feathers are an appealing turquoise-blue color, and the tail can be green or turquoise in color.

There’s pale skin around the eyes on red-fronted macaws. Both males and females possess the same coloration.

At six to twelve months of age, juvenile red-fronted macaws begin to display red coloration on their heads. The wings of these birds are entirely green, and only a few red feathers are visible around their thighs.


A red-fronted macaw is a social bird and is seldom found alone. Typically, they fly in small groups of three to five individuals. They usually congregate in large groups of 2 to 30 when foraging or roosting.

At the peak of the day, when it’s hottest, they rest. Activity level depends largely on flock size and age. A larger or younger flock will have a higher level of activity. There is also a greater degree of vocalization among younger flocks.

Generally, they stay near their nesting sites, flying around the cliffs and drainage areas of the valley. The red-fronted macaw has been reported to exhibit four distinct play patterns when seated in a group.

They peck at each other, wrestle with beaks, toss objects, and alternate jerks of their bodies while on branches. There are not many Red-Fronted Macaws in the world, which makes them unlikely pets.

As pets, however, they are described as affectionate, intelligent, social, and curious. They love playing with their keepers and spending time with them. Also, they like exploring your house. When socialized from a young age, these birds will also display docility.

Speech & Vocalizations

The red-fronted macaw communicates by making loud vocalizations. It is known that they are intelligent birds that are capable of learning how to speak, and whistle, as well as have a boisterous squawk. Typically, they produce two types of vocalizations:

  • Quiet twitter-vocalizations
  • Alert-Vocalizations

Partner interactions are characterized by quiet twitter-vocalizations. Initially, the pair squawks loudly before settling down to soft coos and chuckles.

During an alert vocalization, loud vocalizations are made for a prolonged period in response to predator activity. The juvenile’s call is softer than the adult’s, but it is higher in pitch.

It is believed that red-fronted macaws communicate primarily through tactile means. Throughout the year, pairs often engage in mutual grooming, grab beaks, and nibble facial feathers to maintain their relationship.


Red-fronted macaws are monogamous birds that remain in pair bonds throughout the year. It is believed that copulation and preening are maintained between pairs even outside of the breeding season.

Additionally, birds may bite each other’s feathers or grasp each other’s beaks as they groom. Each year, the red-fronted macaw breeds between October and March. In narrow, rocky canyons, they nest in cavities located on the angled sides of cliffs.

The nests are primarily composed of sandstone. Incubation lasts around 26 days and there are 1 to 3 eggs laid per season. Parents take care of the nest together, but the time spent on it varies from pair to pair.

Parental attention is centered on the nest after the young hatch. As soon as the juveniles have fledged, they join their parents in a flock. The flock engages in numerous social activities, most of which occur between family members.


In its arid habitat, it relies primarily on seeds and fruit for nourishment, particularly cactus fruit. In turn, macaws provide effective dispersal of seeds for cacti.

A variety of soaked or sprouted sunflower seeds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, corn on the cob, bananas, oranges, and other fruits; preferably palm fruits are included in their diet.

Sadly, land destruction, grazing, and firewood harvesting threaten native food sources. Therefore, they feed extensively on corn and other cultivated crops, which sometimes makes farmers angry.

Red-Fronted Macaw Caring

If the Red-Fronted Macaw is provided with the appropriate environment, it is known to be a healthy bird. If properly cared for, captive red-fronted macaws can live up to fifty years.

The Red-Fronted Macaw is an extremely rare bird. Although they get along well in pairs, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to find two of them together. In addition, they require a lot of room to roam.

Make sure your Macaw’s cage provides sufficient space for it to spread its wings and move freely. If you allow them more freedom to move about the house, they will be happier.

If you decide to purchase a large cage, make sure that it is made with sturdy wires and that it has a good lock. Considering their intelligence and curiosity, you will need to secure your residence against birds.

Check for hazards such as ceiling fans, hot surfaces, and open doors that could lead to escape. Keep an eye out for dangerous items, such as electrical wires, that they may chew on.

Keep them entertained with toys, perches, and climbers. They love toys, climbers, and perches

Additionally, they maintain a high level of grooming. However, they will need water to wash their feathers. Besides playing in the water, they’ll also have something fun to do! You’ll need to keep a close eye on their feathers and keep them tidy.

Health Problems

A Red Fronted Macaw is typically a very healthy bird. They are, however, susceptible to diseases common to parrots, such as:

  • Avian Bornavirus
  • Aspergillus
  • Psittacosis
  • Polyoma
  • Avian Gastric Yeast
  • Candidiasis
  • Proventricular Dilatation syndrome
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Giardiosis
  • Goiter
  • Pacheco’s Disease

Population Number and Conservation Status

Since 1991, the red-fronted macaw population has been declining. According to the IUCN Red List, they are endangered. Due to habitat destruction, they are becoming increasingly rare in Bolivia.

Red-fronted macaws then feed on corn grown by humans. To protect their crops, many farmers use firearms and traps. As of 2023, the Bolivia Valley area has between 650 and 800 red-fronted macaws.

From Where you can Get a Red-Fronted Macaw

It is rare to see these beautiful birds kept in captivity as pets. If you are looking for this species of Macaw, you may have difficulty finding it.

If you are fortunate enough to find a breeder who sells these birds, you should ensure that the breeder has a good reputation and breeds healthy birds.

Alternatively, it is possible to find one in a parrot shelter or rescue organization, but this is rare. Red-fronted macaws can cost between $1500-$2500.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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