A neotropical genus of macaws with eight extant species and at least two extinct species. The genus name was coined by French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède in 1799. It gives its name to and is part of the Arini, or tribe of neotropical parrots. The genus name Ara is likely related to arara, the Portuguese word for an ara tricolor, itself derived from the Tupi word a'rara.
The Ara macaws are large striking parrots with long tails, long narrow wings and vividly colored plumage. They all have a characteristic bare face patch around the eyes. Males and females have similar plumage. Many of its members are popular in the pet trade, and bird smuggling is a threat to several species.
There are eight surviving species and two extinct species that died out during modern times, A third extinct species is known only from subfossil remains. The last confirmed sighting of the extinct Cuban red macaw was in 1864 when one was shot. Several skins of the Cuban red macaw are preserved in museums, but none of its eggs have survived. Information on extinct birds is available on the Extinct page.