Scarlet Macaw

GAIA is sponsor of the reintroduction program of red Scarlet Macaws to the Manuel Antonio area

The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is a member of a large group of Neotropical parrots called macaws, it is a large, red, yellow and blue south American parrot. These beautiful birds eat mostly fruits, nuts and seeds, including large, hard seeds as for example almonds. Scarlet Macaws inhabit humid lowland subtropical rainforests, open woodlands, river edges, and savannas.

The Conversation status is “LC” – Least Concern. The habitat of Scarlet Macaws is considered to have the greatest latitudinal range for any bird in the genus Ara, as the estimated maximum territorial range covers 6,700,000 km². Nevertheless, the Scarlet Macaws habitat is fragmented, and the bird is mostly confined to tiny populations scattered throughout its original range in Middle America. However, as they still occur in large numbers over most of their original range in South America.

Red Scarlet Macaws return to Manuel Antonio

On November 14th, 2013 GAIA Hotel & Reserve welcomed its new tenants – 5 Scarlet Macaws, the first step of the reintroduction of these incredible birds to the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Over 40 years ago, poaching and corporate expansion de-populated this area of the Scarlet Macaws. We later welcomed 12 more to our little family.


By working with the Costa Rican Ministry of Ecology, Gaia Hotel & Reserve built an incredible cage in their 10-acre private nature reserve to house our new guests, described as “the best cage we have seen in this country” by Adrian Arce Aria (SINAC, The National System of Conservation Areas for the National Parks of Costa Rica) and Pablo Millán veterinarian and supervisor of the Lapas Project of Coopesilencio a farming Cooperative dedicated to the preservation of the wildlife of Costa Rica).

All effort has only one objective, to re-incorporate the Scarlet Macaw into the Manuel Antonio National Park area, freeing the birds when they are ready to survive on their own in freedom and restore this beautiful species in our area.

The first release

Since the day of arrival, more than 6 month have passed in which our guests have slowly adapted to local available fruits, developed the ability to find them on their own and regrow feathers. They have matched up in pairs which make for a better chance of survival as Macaws breed together, share their food and groom one and another.

On June 21st, the first two couples were released to be introduced to the Manuel Antonio. It was magical see them get out of the cage one by one, spread their wings and fly off. We are currently tracking their first explorations and will continue the releases of the remaining 17 birds.

Photo Contribution: Costa Rica Photographer Kevin Heslin Photography