Ara erythrura


Kingdom Animalia

Phylum Chordata
Class Aves (birds)
Order Psittaciformes (parrots)
Family Psittacidae (true parrots)
Subfamily Psittacinae
Tribe Arini
Genus Ara
Species Ara erythrura
Authority (Rothschild, 1907)
English Name

Red-tailed Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, 

Jamaican Red-tailed Macaw

Dutch Name Roodstaart Ara, Roodstaart Blauwgele Ara
German Name Blaugelber Ara
Spanish Name Guacamayo Misterioso
Comments This parrot is usually considered a hypothetical extinct parrot species (BirdLife International 2006). It is only known from old reports. No skins, bones or any archaeological remains are known.
Taxonomy Greenway (1958) regarded Rothschild`s description of Ara erythrura as not credible because it is based on de Rochefort (1658), who had not visited Jamaica but “seems to have taken his account from du Tertre.” Greenway (1958) suggested that, if anything, Ara erythrura is a synonym of the Martinique Macaw Ara martinica, a poorly documented form supposedly from Martinique (Williams and Steadman 2001).
Characteristics This macaw was coloured blue and yellow. A colour plate from Rothschild's book Extinct Birds (1907) of Ara erythrura shows the tail prominently tipped with blue, while in the text it is described as "entirely red." (Rothschild 1907; Williams and Steadman 2001)
Range & Habitat This macaw was originally described as from Jamaica (Rothschild 1907; Williams and Steadman 2001). Greenway (1958) suggested that it may also have been a macaw from Martinique.

Image: map with the previous possible range of the Red-tailed Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (in red): Jamaica (1) or Martinique (2). 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 Rothschild described Ara erythrura from one of the West Indian islands, based on the writings of De Rochefort in 1658 (Rothschild 1907; BirdLife International 2006). The writings include the report of two large, blue and yellow parrots observed by a Reverend Comard of Jamaica in the early 1800s (Day 1981; Williams and Steadman 2001). Dr. Patrick Brown (1756) says "Psittacus. The blue Mackaw of Edwards. This beautiful bird is a native of Jamaica, tho' seldom cached there; most of those are generally seen about gentlemen's houses, being introduced there from the main, where they are more common. I have seen one or two of these birds wild in the woods of St. Ann's, and yet keep some of the feathers of one that was killed then by me; but they are very rare in the island, and keep generally in the most unfrequented inland parts." It is difficult to determine whether Brown's macaws were Ara erythrura. (Browne 1756; Greenway 1956)
Extinction Causes As with the other macaws on the Antilles, it is likely that hunting and trapping led to the extinction of this macaw.
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), Dominica Macaw (Ara atwoodi), Red-headed Green Macaw (Ara erythrocephala), Jamaican Red Macaw  (Ara gossei), Guadeloupe Macaw (Ara guadeloupensis), and the Martinique Macaw (Ara martinica).
Links Red-tailed Blue-and-yellow Macaw - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


(Complete website)

BirdLife International 2006. Extinct Species. <> Downloaded on 1 February 2007.

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

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

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

Rothschild, Walter (1907): Extinct Birds. Hutchison, 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: 27th September 2008.

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