Ara erythrocephala


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
Tribe Arini (neotropical parrots)
Genus Ara (true macaws)
Species Ara erythrocephala
Authority Gosse, 1847
English Name

Red-headed Green Macaw, 

Jamaican Green-and-yellow Macaw

Dutch Name Groengele Ara
German Name Jamaika-Ara
Spanish Name Guacamayo Verde y Amarillo Jamaiquino
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. Greenway (1958) called this an “almost mythical bird” given the circumstances surrounding its description.
Taxonomy Snyder et al. (1987) suggested that A. erythrocephala may represent A. militaris or A. ambigua, both Central American species. Williams and Steadman (2001) see no reason why multiple species of Ara could also have inhabited this large island of diverse habitats, especially given that two endemic species of Amazona occur in Jamaica. It is possible that this species was that apparently named as Anadorhynchus (sic.) caerulens by Gmelin (in which case this name would have priority). The original descriptions require re-evaluation (BirdLife International 2004).  
Characteristics The head was red, the body bright green, and the wings and greater coverts blue. The tail was scarlet and blue on top, whereas the tail and wings were intense orange-yellow underneath (Rothschild, 1905; Salvadori, 1906a; Greenway, 1958).
Range & Habitat Ara erythrocephala was said to have been found in the mountains of Trelawney and St. Anne’s parishes, Jamaica (Rothschild, 1905).

Image: map with the previous range of the Red-headed Green 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

Ara erythrocephala was described by Gosse in 1847. It was presumably hunted to extinction in the early 19th century. (BirdLife International 2004)

Extinction Causes It was presumably hunted to extinction (BirdLife International 2004).
Museum Specimens There are 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), Dominica Macaw (Ara atwoodi), Red-tailed Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (Ara erythrura), Jamaican Red Macaw  (Ara gossei), Guadeloupe Macaw (Ara guadeloupensis), and the Martinique Macaw (Ara martinica).

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Ara erythrocephala

Ausgerottete Arten - Grüner Jamaika-Ara



(Complete website)

BirdLife International 2004. Ara erythrocephala. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <>. Downloaded on 02 February 2007.

Browne, Patrick (1756). The civil and natural history of Jamaica, etc., London.

Greenway, J. C. 1958. Extinct and vanishing birds of the world. American Committee for International Wild Life Protection 13, New York.

Rothschild, W. 1905. Untitled. (Notes on extinct parrots from the West Indies). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 16: 13-15.

Salvadori, T. 1906. Notes on the parrots (Part V). Ibis, Series 8, 6:451-456.

Snyder, F. R. et al. 1987. The Parrots of Luquillo: Natural History and Conservation of the Puerto Rican Parrot. The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. Allen Press Inc.

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: 27th September 2008.

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