Tag Archives: Ara guadeloupensis

Ara guadeloupensis Clark

Guadeloupe Macaw (Ara guadeloupensis)  

The Guadeloupe Macaw aka. Lesser Antillean Macaw is the best presented Caribbean macaw species, regarding contemporaneous accounts.  

The first of these accounts dates from 1553, comes from the Spanish historian Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés and is itself referring to another account from 1496, made by Fernando Colón (Ferdinand Columbus), a Spanish bibliographer and the second son of Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus), who again mentions chicken-sized parrots, which the Island Caribs called Guacamayas, in Guadeloupe. [2]  

There are very detailed accounts made by Jean Baptiste Du Tetre in 1667, who not only describes the bird in detail but also gives some information about its life and the way it was hunted by the natives and so on. [1][2]  


A subfossil terminal phalanx, found in late Pleistocene cave deposits on the island of Marie-Galante, a small island offshore the east coast of Basse Terre and Grande Terre, Guadeloupe, has been assigned to a Ara sp., another skeletal remain; a single subfossil ulna recovered from an archaeological site on the same small island is also assignable to a Ara sp.. These two remains are the only evidence for the former presense of a macaw species on the Guadeloupe archipelago. [3][4]  


The St. Croix Macaw (Ara autochthones Wetmore), which is known from several subfossil remains, as well as the undescribed Montserrat Macaw (Ara sp.) known from subfossil remains from the island of Montserrat, might be identical with this species.


References:  [1] J. B. Du Tetre: Histoire Générale des Antilles Habitées par les François. Paris: T. Lolly 1667 
[2] Austin H. Clark: The Lesser Antillean Macaws. The Auk 22(3): 266-273. 1905 
[3] Charles A. Woods; Florence E. Sergile: Biogeography of the West Indies: Patterns and Perspectives, Second Edition. CRC Press; Auflage: Subsequent 2001
[4] Monica Gala; Arnaud Lenoble: Evidence of the former existence of an endemic macaw in Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles. Journal of Ornithology 156(4): 1061–1066. 2015  


Depiction from: ‘Georges-Louis Leclerc: Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi. A Paris: De l’Imprimerie royale 1749-1803’  

(public domain)  


edited: 06.09.2019