Tag Archives: Ara gossei Rothschild

Ara tricolor Bechstein

Cuban Macaw (Ara tricolor 

The Caribbean may once have been home for numerous parrot species, including several endemic macaw species, whose former existence, however, is still somewhat questionable; yet the Cuban Macaw is the only Caribbean macaw whose actual existence cannot be doubted.  

There are at least 19 museum specimens and some subfossil material to prove the former existence of this small macaw species. [1]  

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The Cuban Macaw was only about 50 cm long, it was mainly red, had a yellow neck and blue wings and a blue tipped tail.  

The bird inhabited the main island and the Isla de la Juventud offshore Cuba’s southwest coast, and it is in fact quite possible that this species also inhabited to islands of Hispaniola and Jamaica.  

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The Cuban Macaw was already restricted to the Zapata Peninsula and to the Isla de la Juventud, when it was discovered by European scientists.  

The last records date to the 1850s.  

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The bird was a host of several species of parasites, including the feather mite Distigmesikya extincta Pineda & Ortiz and the feather louse Psittacobrosus bechsteini Mey, which were obviously restricted to this single species and which are now extinct together with their only host. [1]  

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References:  

[1] 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  

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Depiction from: ‘François Le Vaillant: Histoire naturelle des perroquets. Paris Levrault, Schoell & Cie, An IX-XII. 1801–1805’  

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edited: 24.03.2017