Do you know all extinct parrots? MACAWS. PART II

May 11th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Do you know all extinct parrots? MACAWS. PART II

Read also the first part of this article:

Do you know all extinct parrots? MACAWS. PART I


3)Cuban Macaw (Ara cubensis)

In 1985, Wetherbee described a new extinct macaw species Ara cubensis. However, very few researchers follow this taxonomy and museum specimens mentioned in his study are mostly considered as representatives of Ara tricolor.

The author described a new species as follows: „Ara tricolor was of the same superspecies as the extinct macaw of Cuba, Ara cubensis but had a white rather than an ochraceous, bare facial area and cere, and was somewhat smaller (6 to 8 mm.) in the size of the bill.“ Wetherbee believes that Ara tricolor was restricted to Hispaniola and was different coloured that macaws on Cuba. New taxonomy checklist made by del Hoyo et al. (2014) doesn’t consider Ara cubensis as separate species.


File:Ara tricolor recreation.jpg

Ara tricolor, a digital recreation. Digitally treated by Rod6807 from the original image of Peter. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


4)Jamaican Red Macaw (Ara gossei)

Its existence is just hypothetical. It was firstly described by Mr. Gosse and later named by Rothschild. Gosse’s description (Rothschild, 1907) is as follows: „Basal half of upper mandible black ; apical half, ash coloured ; lower mandible, black, tip only ash coloured ; forehead, crown, and back of neck, bright yellow ; sides of face, around eyes, anterior and lateral parts of the neck, and back, a fine scarlet ; wing coverts and breast deep sanguine red ; winglet and primaries an elegant light blue. The legs and feet are said to have been black ; the tail, red and yellow intermixed (Rob.)”

This species was found on Jamaica and several authors classify it as a representative of Ara tricolor. Wetherbee (1985) suggested that Ara gossei is not a valid species but instead probably a “tapire” artifact, a specimen altered in its coloration by an Amerindian technique.

Anyway, of the all three macaw species suggested for Jamaica, existence of this species is the most probable.


Ara gossei.png

Ara gossei


5)Red-headed Green Macaw (Ara erythrocephalus)

Another hypothetical inhabitant of Jamaica with very unique coloration. It was named by Gosse in 1847 but firstly described by Hill: „Head red ; neck, shoulders, and underparts of a light and lively green ; the greater wing coverts and quills, blue; and the tail scarlet and blue on the upper surface, with the under plumage, both of wings and tail, a mass of intense orange yellow.”

Some authors suggest that Ara erythrocephalus could have been mistaken for introduced Ara ambiguus or Ara militaris.


File:Ara erythrocephala.jpg

Ara erythrocephalus


6)Red-tailed Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara erythrurus)

The last extinct macaw species which has been suggested to live on Jamaica. Rothschild (1907) named this species based on Charles de Rochefort’s report of blue-and-yellow parrots witch red tails. He firstly named it as Anodorhynchus coeruleus but later corrected on Ara erythrura.

The original description is (translated) as follows: “these macaws have the head, the upper side of the neck, and the back of a satiny sky blue ; the underside of the neck, the belly, and undersurface of the wings, yellow, and the tail entirely red.”

This macaw is one of the most uncreditable extinct species. Several authors suggest that all observations and descriptions are based on feral Ara ararauna.


File:Ara Erythrura.jpg

Ara erythurus





Rothschild, W. (1907). Extinct birds. Hutchinson & Company.

Wetherbee, D. K. (1985). The extinct Cuban and Hispaniolan macaws (Ara, Psittacidae), and description of a new species, Ara cubensis. Carib. J. Sci, 21, 169-175.

Wiley, J. W., & Kirwan, G. M. (2013). The extinct Macaws of the West Indies with a special reference to Cuban Macaw, Ara tricolor. Bull. BOC 2013 133 (2) 125, 156.


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