Chestnut-fronted macaw

The chestnut-fronted macaw or severe macaw (Ara severus) is one of the largest of the mini-macaws. It reaches a size of around 45 cm (18 in) of which around half is the length of the tail.

Chestnut-fronted macaw
Chestnut-fronted Macaw (Ara severa) -Southwicks Zoo c.jpg
At Southwick's Zoo, Massachusetts, USA
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Genus: Ara
A. severus
Binomial name
Ara severus
  • A. s. severus
  • A. s. castaneifrons
Ara severus distribution.svg

Psittacus severus Linnaeus, 1758

They can be found over a large part of Northern South America from Panama south into Amazonian Brazil and central Bolivia. A feral population is found in Florida.

Their lifespan is listed as anything from 30 to 80 years of age.[citation needed]


The chestnut-fronted macaw was formally described in 1758 by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae. He placed it with all the other parrots in the genus Psittacus and coined the binomial name Psittacus severus.[2] This macaw is now one of the eight extant species placed the genus Ara that was erected in 1799 by the French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède.[3][4] The genus name is from ará meaning "macaw" in the Tupi language of Brazil. The word is an onomatopoeia based on the sound of their call. The specific epithet severus is Latin meaning "grim", "cruel" or "stern".[5] The species is considered to be monotypic: no subspecies are recognised.[4]


The chestnut-fronted or severe macaw is mostly green in colour with patches of red and blue on the wings. The head has a chestnut brown patch just above the beak. The beak is black and the patches around the eyes are white with lines of small black feathers. It is the only one of the miniature macaws that has lines of feathers in the bare patches around its eyes. In the wild their typically gregarious personality can become more aggressive at puberty giving them the name Severe. This tendency can be curbed in captivity but the species requires significant handling to make a tame pet. It is 45–50 cm (17.5–19.5 in) long and weighs 300–410 g (11–14 oz).


The chestnut-fronted macaw nest in a hole in a tree. The eggs are white and there are usually two or three in a clutch. The female incubates the eggs for about 28 days, and the chicks fledge from the nest about 70 days after hatching.[6]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2018). "Ara severus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22685577A130103061. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22685577A130103061.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 97.
  3. ^ Lacépède, Bernard Germain de (1799). "Tableau des sous-classes, divisions, sous-division, ordres et genres des oiseux". Discours d'ouverture et de clôture du cours d'histoire naturelle (in French). Paris: Plassan. p. 1. Page numbering starts at one for each of the three sections.
  4. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2022). "Parrots, cockatoos". IOC World Bird List Version 12.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 16 Mar 2022.
  5. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 52, 355. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  6. ^ Alderton, David (2003). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Caged and Aviary Birds. London, England: Hermes House. p. 236. ISBN 1-84309-164-X.

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