The use of hand-raised psittacines for reintroduction: a case study of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) in Peru and Costa Rica Academic Article uri icon


  • This study reports on three scarlet macaw (Ara macao) reintroduction projects using hand-raised birds in Peru and Costa Rica. The habitats at the release sites ranged from pristine tropical forest to forest fragments in an agricultural matrix. The combined first-year survival was 74% and the annual post first-year survival was 96%. Survival rates were very high despite a wide range in predator communities. Number of birds released explained 70% of the variation in survival with birds from larger releases having higher survival rates. Behavioral evidence suggests that birds established at the site facilitated survival of later releases. Breeding attempts were recorded at all three sites and hand-raised birds with wild mates successfully fledged young in Peru. Supplemental feeding post-release played an important role in keeping the birds near the release site and facilitating social interactions. This work shows that properly socialized hand-raised macaws can survive and breed in the wild but that ex-pets are not good release candidates. 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Biological Conservation

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Brightsmith, D., Hilburn, J., del Campo, A., Boyd, J., Frisius, M., Frisius, R., Janik, D., & Guillen, F.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Brightsmith, Donald||Hilburn, Jenifer||del Campo, Alvaro||Boyd, Janice||Frisius, Margot||Frisius, Richard||Janik, Dennis||Guillen, Federico

publication date

  • February 2005