Matomo-Image-Tracker Psittaciformes - Ara

Psittaciformes


Ara - Extinct Species


Cuban macaw, Ara tricolor (Cuba, West Indies, late 19th century) A number of related species have been described from the West Indies, but are not based on good evidence. Several prehistoric forms are now known to have existed in the region, however.

The Dominican green-and-yellow macaw, Atwood's macaw, or Dominican macaw (Ara atwoodi) is an extinct species of macaw that may have lived on the island of Dominica. It is known only through the writings of British colonial judge Thomas Atwood in his 1791 book, The History of the Island of Dominica. Austin Hobart Clark initially included these macaws in Ara guadeloupensis in 1905, but upon being referred to Atwood's writings, he listed them as a distinct species in 1908. As no archeological remains are known, it is widely considered a hypothetical extinct species. The Dominican macaw probably became extinct in the late 18th or early 19th century.

The Martinique macaw or orange-bellied macaw (Ara martinicus) is a hypothetical extinct species of macaw which may have been endemic to the Lesser Antillean island of Martinique, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It was scientifically named by Walter Rothschild in 1905, based on a 1630s description of "blue and orange-yellow" macaws by Jacques Bouton. No other evidence of its existence is known, but it may have been identified in contemporary artwork.

All the endemic Caribbean macaws were likely driven to extinction by humans (both in prehistoric and historic times), though hurricanes and disease may also have contributed. Native Caribbeans hunted macaws and held them captive for later use as food, but also as pets. Since they are known from kitchen midden deposits, the macaws from Puerto Rico and St. Croix were evidently also used for subsistence. It is likely that the St. Croix macaw became extinct due to these factors, but the date it happened is unknown


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Cuban Macaw
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Jamaican Red Macaw
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Guadeloupe Macaw
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Martinique Macaw

The Martinique macaw or orange-bellied macaw (Ara martinicus, previous named Ara erythrura) is a hypothetical extinct species of macaw which may have been endemic to the Lesser Antillean island of Martinique, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It was scientifically named by Walter Rothschild in 1905, based on a 1630s description of "blue and orange-yellow" macaws by Jacques Bouton. No other evidence of its existence is known, but it may have been identified in contemporary artwork. Some writers have suggested that the birds observed were actually blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara ararauna). The "red-tailed blue-and-yellow macaw" (Ara erythrura), another species named by Rothschild in 1907 based on a 1658 account, is thought to be identical to the Martinique macaw, if either has ever existed.
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St. Croix macaw or Puerto Rican macaw

The St. Croix macaw or Puerto Rican macaw (Ara autocthones) is an extinct species of macaw whose remains have been found on the Caribbean islands of St. Croix and Puerto Rico. It was described in 1937 based on a tibiotarsus leg bone unearthed from a kitchen midden at a pre-Columbian site on St. Croix. A second specimen consisting of various bones from a similar site on Puerto Rico was described in 2008, while a coracoid from Montserrat may belong to this or another extinct species of macaw. The St. Croix macaw is one of 13 extinct macaw species that have been proposed to have lived on the Caribbean islands. Macaws were frequently transported for long distances by humans in both prehistoric and historic times, so it is yet impossible to know whether species only known from bones or accounts were native or imported species.

As it is only known from bones, the color of the St. Croix macaw is not known. Extant macaws can generally be grouped in either large or small size clusters, yet the bones of the St. Croix macaw are intermediate in size between the two, and it was slightly larger than the extinct Cuban macaw (Ara tricolor). Only the blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis) and Lear's macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) are similar in size. It differed from other macaws in various skeletal details, and shared several features only with the genus Ara. Like other macaw species in the Caribbean, the St. Croix macaw is believed to have been driven to extinction by humans, as indicated by the fact that its remains were found in kitchen middens.
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