The Red-fronted Macaw (Ara rubrogenys)



To present the Red-fronted macaw (sometimes referred to herein as RFM) as a complete entity is a daunting task. To make it easier, I have divided this article into two main parts -- the RFM individual characters I know and the RFM species information available thru the literature and my own experience. I decided to put the story of the characters first as a pictorial review and the species information second, after the reader has learned something about the individuals. The story is in chronological order. The Red-fronted Macaw is the smallest in the grouping known as the "large" macaws, and, like all macaws, each individual has its own personality and way of doing things.

Baby Carmen Miranda

The first time I saw Carmen Miranda, she was in a large playpen at the breeder's with quite a few other varieties of babies. She was eating out of a dish of seed. I asked the breeder, "What kind of parrot is this?" and she replied, "That's my husband's Redfronted Macaw baby." All of a sudden, the baby looked up and just marched over to the side of the playpen and held up one foot. Of course, I picked her up, and that was the beginning of my interest in RFMs. I said to the breeder, "Tell your husband his baby is sold." (Since I was doing their sexing free at the time, I figured he would agree, and he did.)

At the time, Carmen was just a little green parrot with red cheeks and not much other color, and I did not realize what a beauty she would eventually become. I took her home and fixed her a temporary cage and ordered a macaw tree. The cage very soon became too small for her, and when the macaw tree came, we found she could not reach between the perches on the tree, so I fastened natural hemp rope between them and also a knotted rope that went all the way to the floor. Food and water were kept near the top center so whatever spilled went into the tray at the bottom. This macaw tree was kept in my kitchen area and she played, ate, and slept in the tree for over a year. If she fell or flew off, she would run back to the rope and climb right back up.

As we became better acquainted, I discovered the RFM's charming personality and acrobatic expertise. The only time she was noisy was when I ran the coffee grinder. She hated that and screamed her head off until it stopped. Other than that, she was vocal but not loud. She housebroke herself almost immediately, never even having an accident, always waiting to go back to her perch. I fixed a car perch for her and put a paper on the floor and would stop and put her on the paper every 30 minutes or so and that worked out fine. She loved to wrestle and play "gotcha" and would squeal with delight with any games I could make up.

She loved to be wrapped in a towel and take a nap on the sofa with the 1V on. At one point, I taught her to stand on roller skates. The skates I made for her were too big, and she only wanted to stand on one skate. She loved it when I put her on a slanted surface so she could roll down to the end and crash. She also liked to roll back and forth on the skate holding on to my finger with her beak with me providing the locomotion. (She never did become a real skater, but she seemed to think she did.) 

Fred and Ginger Arrive in Florida

By this time, I was so intrigued by the species that I had looked into the RFM adult size and coloration and had started to talk to people on the phone who knew more about them. The more I heard about them, the more interested I became. That's when I started looking for an adult breeding pair. I'm sure I don't have to report that I found what I was looking for - an adult pair four years old and supposedly ready to go. I had them shipped to the Orlando airport. They arrived in a very well made wooden duplex shipper with burlap covers over the wire. (The birds could not be seen at all.) I quickly tore the burlap off the wire and saw two of the most beautiful parrots I had ever laid eyes on. (I had never seen an RFM with the exception of the immature Carmen Miranda at that point.) They were not fearful and came up to the wire and made some chirping noises which I could not, at that time, understand. I was aware that the RFM was the only macaw that totally....