The scarlet macaw is usually seen in pairs or in small family groups of 3 to 4 individuals, which may join together in flocks of up to 30 birds. Groups of up to 50 scarlet macaws may roost communally in tall trees, or sometimes in mangroves, and the species can often be seen with other large macaws (2) (5) (6). Most feeding takes place in the canopy, the diet consisting of a range of fruits, seeds, nuts, flowers, nectar, bark and leaves (2) (3) (5). The scarlet macaw, like many other parrots and macaws in its range, also visits exposed river banks, or ‘clay licks’, to ingest soil, a behaviour known as geophagy. The soil may protect the macaw against toxic compounds present in the diet, or it may be taken as a sodium supplement (10) (11) (12).
The scarlet macaw usually breeds between October and April, depending on the location, and the nest is a large cavity, high in a tall tree (2) (3) (5) (6). Between 1 and 4 eggs are laid, and hatch after an incubation period of 24 to 28 days, the young fledging after about 14 weeks (3) (5). The scarlet macaw is potentially long-lived, with a lifespan of up to 60 years or more (5).