Animal-World > Birds > Macaws > Severe Macaw

Severe Macaw

Chestnut-fronted Macaw

Family: Psittacidae Severe Macaw or Chestnut-fronted Macaw babySevere Macaw - "Fuzz Button"Ara severaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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I want to get rid of my 4 year old severe mccaw. I have tried everything to bond with her, but I always end up with severe bites. I know she knows I am afraid of... (more)  Marilyn Niles

   The Severe macaw is one of the "mini" macaws. The baby Severe Macaw pictured above, "Fuzz Button" is one of two very sweet, friendly baby birds!

   The Severe Macaw makes a wonderful pet for if you want the macaw personality, but in a smaller size. The Severe Macaw is a very clownish and lively little mini macaw. They are small and easy to handle, and a hand raised Severe Macaw is very social and affectionate. Though there aren't as many of these birds as some of the other macaws, they are ready breeders and are becoming a bit more available.

   Severe Macaws are eager to play and enjoy interacting with their keepers. Adept at learning some tricks, they can also be pretty fair talkers. These mini macaws are very loyal, and do tend to become a one person bird unless well socialized as babies with continued handling on a daily basis.

For information about the care of Macaws see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Macaw

Geographic Distribution
Ara severa
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Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Ara
  • Species: severa

Scientific name:    Severe Macaw, also known as Chestnut-fronted Macaw - Ara severa

Distribution:    The Severe's natural habitat runs from eastern Panama in Central America south as far as Bolivia and Brazil. This is a wide range, and they have not been impacted by collection like other types of macaws. A number of these macaws were brought into the in the 1980's, but with little adverse affect on their populations. It is the deforestation of their natural habitat that poses the most serious threat to these mini macaws.

Description:    Severe Macaws are a mini macaw, like the Hahn's Macaw or the Yellow-collared Macaw. They are predominantly green with patches of red and blue on the underside of the wings. Their chest feathers are tipped with a bit of chestnut brown, which is where their alternate common name is derived from.
   They have bare facial patches with fine black lines running across it. There is also a bit of brown down the sides of their cheeks and under the chin. A band of brown also goes across their forehead.

Severe Macaw or Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Father
Severe Macaw - "Phillip"
Adult Male Breeder

Size - Weight:    Severe's can grow to lengths of 40 cm (16 inches)

Care and feeding:   A roomy cage is required unless the bird is to be let out for extended periods. Many birds can spend most of their time on a play pen or parrot perch. They eat a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, and commercial pellets, as well as the same nutritional foods humans eat.

   See About Macaws: Housing and About Macaws: Care and Feeding for more information.

Social Behaviors:   The Severe Macaw is a social and friendly mini macaw, and a great choice if you want a smaller macaw.. These mini macaws are intelligent and eager for attention and play. They have a good disposition and respond well to handling and training. But they are a typical macaw and can be cranky at times and may prefer only one person or only one gender.

   See About Macaws: Social Behaviors for information on developing a well rounded friendly macaw. (Also information on handling and activities).

Severe Macaw or Chestnut-fronted Macaw baby
Severe Macaw - juvenile

Breeding/Reproduction:    The usual clutch consists of two or three eggs which incubate for about 26 days. The babies will fledge after about 3 months in the nest. Feed the parents plenty of greenstuffs, corn-on-the-cob, carrots, and fruit laced with food supplement while they are rearing the youngsters.

  The juvenile Severe Macaw seen here is one of two very sweet hand fed babies. The father (Phillip seen in the picture above) and mother are about 14 years old. They had three eggs, two of which hatched. The third egg was cracked and never hatched. We pulled the babies from the nest when they were four weeks old, and hand fed them from there.

   The babies are about 12 weeks old and are still taking one feeding per day. They both are very affectionate and love to cuddle into your lap or chest wherever you hold them. They can be noisy but with a little attention they will calm down and be very good companions. Usually they make noise in the morning because they are so excited to have the cover removed from their cage, and they like to be fed.

   See About Macaws: Breeding/Reproduction for information on breeding.

Sexual differences:    No visible differences.

Potential Problems:
   Can be noisy (as can all macaws).  See About Macaws: Potential Problems for information on illnesses.

Availability:    There are not as many Severe Macaws in captivity as there are other types of mini macaws. But they are a delight to own, and have proven to be ready breeders. More are being bred today, and occasionally you can find these macaws for sale.

Author: Clarice Brough, CAS
Lastest Animal Stories on Severe Macaw

Marilyn Niles - 2015-04-16
I want to get rid of my 4 year old severe mccaw. I have tried everything to bond with her, but I always end up with severe bites. I know she knows I am afraid of her, so is there any help? Attached to mean and cruel bird,

  • Clarice Brough - 2015-04-16
    It sounds like you need to train yourself to be the alpha in the relationship, which is not always easy when you simply love an animal. But your bird needs a routine it can count on. and needs to know that you will stand by what you expect. There are a lot of good training tips and advice on the internet. I suggest you research and read, then come up with some that you can work with. An example: if you don't want to be bit you just can't tolerate that behavior, maybe biting may mean play time out of the cage and interactions come to an ends for a time... and then try again. Again, there are many methods to use to train you bird... find some you can work with... and be consistent.
Atalanta Starnight - 2012-02-07
Don't do it! Don't get one. I have one. You won't be able to do anything else with your life other than babysit the macaw. They are adorable but very very needy. They have the emotional nature of a two year old and never grow up.

  • Atalanta Starnight - 2012-02-07
    Oh and no matter how much attention you give it, once day they will pluck everything off (because you had to go to work or something) and you can't stop them.
  • Maggie - 2015-03-15
    Birds do unfortunately have the emotional development of a two year old That is what makes them attractive to us. A severe macaw is a difficult bird to love that is why I think they should not be kept as pets My Mimi is difficult but she has a connection with me that no pet and I have ever had.
Tilly - 2014-11-18
When I was young I had a bird named blue and I loved him but he was crazy one time we opened the cage to let him come out and he flew into a wall and fell behind my couch so we had to get him out , then he did that another time but this time he flew onto the top of my window and we could not get him down and he was scared to death of coming down but sooner or later we got him down and after that my mom decided to give him away then a few months later we found out he died because he accedentally flew into a stove that was on.

Anita - 2010-03-10
My husband and I adopted a 4 year old Severe from a pet store 1 1/2 years ago. We were told it's a girl but she says,"Hi Bubba" all the time. We renamed her Bella and she can talk very well but she refuses to say Bella. I initially thought we made a big mistake and never in a million years did I think we would own a Macaw. She would run to the back of the cage away from me and wanted nothing to do with us. She was very nippy and un- predictable. She is now the love of my life and the sunshine of my day. We also have an African Cape that I adore and raised from age 4 months but the personality and affection of a Severe tops it all. She went from running scared to never leaving me alone. She will march through the house looking for us with her sister (our Cape named Gabby) behind her. I can now wrap my arm around her to hug and kiss her and she loves it and just melts. She throws herself on her back while laying in my arms to play. It took about 9 months to gain her trust by taking it a step at a time and now she loves all of us. We were told she was raised by a male so she favored my husband at first but now she loves my daughter and I'm her favorite. Love and time made our Bella the love of my life and our lives.

  • Erika - 2014-10-11
    Can you tell me some of the things to help her turn around and gain our trust. Mine prefers men and will talk when men are around, but i am the only one who handles her. She will eventuslly come out of thr cage sometimes after coaxing her for a long time with treats. What else I can do? Once she gets out she loves going out to the pond and walking around the yard with me holding her. Every time is like starting over.