Ara autochthones Wetmore

Saint Croix Macaw (Ara autochthones)  

This species was described in 1937 based on a single tibiotarsus of an adult-sized immature that was found during archeological excavations on St. Croix Island, US Virgin Islands, Lesser Antilles.  

The species was subsequently found in an archaeological site in south-central Puerto Rico too. [2][3]  

The Saint Croix Macaw may have been native to Puerto Rico and its adjacent islands, or it may have been native to the whole Lesser Antilles. All remains, known so far, originate from archaeological contexts, so are from birds that have to be connected to human activities, they may have been hunted to be cooked and eaten, or they may have been kept as pet birds, having been transported from one island to another etc..  

This will probably never be resolved.  


I personally think that there may once have been only two endemic macaw species inhabiting the Caribbean region, one restricted to the Greater – and one to the Lesser Antilles; and these most likely were descendants of the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao (L.)), the only red macaw in Middle America.  



[1] Matthew I. Williams; David W. Steadman: The Historic and Prehistoric Distribution of Parrots (Psittacidae) in the West Indies. pages 175–189 in: Charles A. Woods; Florence E. Sergile (eds.): Biogeography of the West Indies. CRC Press 2001
[2] S. L. Olson; E. J. Maíz López: New evidence of Ara autochthones from an archeological site in Puerto Rico: a valid species of West Indian macaw of unknown geographical origin (Aves: Psittacidae). Caribbean Journal of Science 44: 215–222. 2008
[3] James W. Wiley; Guy M. Kirwan: The extinct macaws of the West Indies, with special reference to Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor. Bulletin of the British Ornithologist’s Club 133(2): 125-156. 2013  


edited: 26.03.2017