Red-fronted macaw (Ara rubrogenys)

Also known as: red-cheeked macaw
Spanish: Guacamayo de Cochabamba, Guacamayo Frentirroja
GenusAra (1)
SizeLength: 55 - 60 cm (2)

Classified as Endangered (EN C2a) on the IUCN Red List 2003 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

This medium-sized macaw is bright green in colour with an orange-red forehead and crown, and a small patch of red behind the eye. The shoulders and thighs are also orange, the primary feathers of the wing are blue and the tail is olive-green tipped with blue (2) (4). Males and females are similar in appearance, and juveniles lack the orange-red colouration seen in adults (4). The voice of this parrot is fairly musical. High pitched growls and harsher squeaks are also produced (2).

Endemic to Bolivia, South America, on the east Andean slope (5). The population is very small and is declining (2).

Found in subtropical thorny scrub at 1,100-2,500 m (2).

The red-fronted macaw feeds on seeds and fruit, but they often feed on crops including maize and ground nuts, as natural food is often very scarce. It roosts and nests on steep riverside cliffs. Eggs are typically laid from November to April, and most pairs tend to successfully rear one young each year (2).

The reasons for the drastic decline of this species include widespread habitat loss and degradation, largely as a result of conversion to agriculture but also caused by logging and collection of firewood. This species is illegally trapped for the pet trade, but the scale of this problem is unclear. Furthermore, as the natural food sources of this bird are lost it has to rely more on crops and it becomes increasingly exposed to persecution as a result (2).

The red-fronted macaw is listed under Appendix I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and so international trade in this species is tightly controlled (3). Within Bolivia, the capture, transport and export of this species are illegal. This macaw occurs in just one protected area, but just eight birds are known to breed within this park. Birdlife Bolivia initiated a conservation programme for this species in 2002, which incorporates surveying and monitoring of the species, identifying priority areas of habitat for the species, and establishing a community awareness programme in the area. Other proposed measures include the complete elimination of trade in this bird and fencing-off areas of suitable habitat to reduce grazing by livestock, allowing the natural vegetation to make a come-back (2).

For more information see:
BirdLife International 2003 Birdlife’s online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation Version 2.0. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. Available:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003 (March 2004)
  2. BirdLife International 2003 Birdlife’s online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation. Version 2.0. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (March 2004).
  3. CITES (January, 2014)
  4. Erritzoe, J. (1993) The birds of CITES and how to identify them. The Lutterworth Press, Cambridge.
  5. Bird Bolivia Project details (March 2004)