Meet the Great Green

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Great Green Macaw

Ara ambiguus
Sub species
Ara ambiguus ambiguus
Range: Caribbean lowlands of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama to NW Colombia
Ara ambiguus guayaquilensis
Range: W Ecuador, Esmeraldas; smaller numbers in the Cordillera de Chongón-Colonche, Guayas

Great Green Macaws are the largest parrots within their natural range, the second heaviest macaw species, and the third heaviest parrot species in the world. This species averages 85–90 cm (33.5–35.5 in) in length and 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) in weight.


  • International wild bird pet and feather trade
  • Land use changes causing loss of food and habitat
  • Illegal trapping for in-country trade, food and feathers
  • Lack of awareness of importance of conserving the species

Costa Rica Range Maps

Struggling to Survive

Once prevalent throughout the entire Costa Rican Caribbean, Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) populations have declined alarmingly in recent decades, due mostly to poaching and deforestation, in particular the logging of the Mountain Almond trees (Dipterix panamensis). BirdLife International states that over the past 50 years global populations have been reduced by half. A census conducted in the Cordillera de Chongón Colonche and Esmeraldas Province in Ecuador in 2010 found only 8 birds, with the current population in all of Ecuador suspected to be 30-40 birds (E. Horstman in litt. 2012). Conservation efforts in Costa Rica have estimated 300 individual birds with an estimated 25-35 breeding pairs remaining (PsittaScene Aug. 2011). The work of Ara Manzanillo during the past 10 years has contributed through releasing captive raised birds and assisted breeding in the wild, more than 65 new Great Greens flying free in the wild..


Great Green Macaw Population Distribution