Ara atwoodi


Kingdom Animalia

Created by Peter Maas for The Extinction Website. This image has been released under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 3.0 Licence.

Phylum Chordata
Class Aves (birds)
Order Psittaciformes (parrots)
Family Psittacidae (true parrots)
Subfamily Psittacinae
Authority Clark, 1908
English Name Dominica Macaw, Dominican Green-and-Yellow Macaw
Dutch Name Dominica Ara, Dominicaanse Ara
French Name Ara de Dominique
German Name Grüner Dominica-Ara
Spanish Name Guacamayo Verde y Amarillo Dominicano
Comments This parrot is usually considered a hypothetical extinct parrot species. It is only known from old reports. No skins, bones or any archaeological remains are known.
Taxonomy Clark (1905) initially included macaws from Dominica in Ara guadeloupensis, the Guadeloupe Macaw, but on discovery of Thomas Atwood's text (1791), described them as distinct (Clark 1908). (BirdLife International 2004)
Characteristics Thomas Atwood (1791) noted a macaw from Dominica that was larger than the two local species of parrots (Amazona arausica and Amazona imperials). The Dominica Macaw was said to have green and yellow plumage "with a scarlet coloured fleshy substance from the ears to the root of the bill." The "Chief feathers" of the wings and a tail were scarlet as well. (Williams and Steadman 2001)
Range & Habitat The Dominica Macaw was endemic to Dominica (BirdLife International 2004).

Image: map with the previous range of the Dominica Green-and-Yellow Macaw (in red). Created by Peter Maas for The Extinction Website. The copyright holder of this work has released it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

History & Population The Dominica Macaw is only known from the writings of Thomas Atwood in 1791. He wrote "The Mackaw is of the parrot kind, but larger than the common parrot and makes a more disagreeable noise. They are in great plenty, as are also parrots on the island: have both of them a delightful green and yellow plumage, with a scarlet coloured fleshy substance from the ears to the root of the bill, of which colour is likewise the chief feathers of the wings and tail." They became probably extinct in the late 18th or early 19th century. (Day 1981; BirdLife International 2004)
Extinction Causes Thomas Atwood notes that birds were captured both for food and pets, and presumably this persecution led to their extinction (BirdLife International 2004).
Museum Specimens There exist no specimens in any known collection.
Relatives The relatives of this species are all other macaw species, including the other extinct West Indian macaw species, like the Cuban Red Macaw (Ara tricolor), Red-headed Green Macaw (Ara erythrocephala), Red-tailed Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (Ara erythrura), Jamaican Red Macaw  (Ara gossei), Guadeloupe Macaw (Ara guadeloupensis), and the Martinique Macaw (Ara martinica).
Links IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Ara atwoodi


(Complete website)

Atwood, Thomas. 1971. The History of the Island of Dominica. London: Frank Cass and Co.

BirdLife International 2004. Ara atwoodi. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <>. Downloaded on 27 January 2007.

Clark, A. H. (1905) The Lesser Antillean macaws. Auk 22: 266-273.

Clark, A. H. (1908) The macaw of Dominica. Auk 25: 309-311.

Day, D., 1981, The Doomsday Book of Animals, Ebury Press, London.

Williams, M. I. & D. V. Steadman (2001): The historic and prehistoric distribution of parrots (Psittacidae) in the West Indies. Pp 175-489 in Biogeography of the West Indies: patterns and perspectives. 2nd ed. (Woods, C. A. & F. E. Sergile, eds.) Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Last updated: 4th February 2007.

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