Macaws are small to large, often colorful New World parrots. Of the many different Psittacosis (true parrots) genera, six are classified as macaws: Ara, Asynchronous, Cyanopsitta, Primolius, Orthopsittaca, and Diopsittaca. Previously, the members of the genus Primolius were placed in Propyrrhura, but the former is correct in accordance with ICZN rules.Macaws are native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and formerly the Caribbean. Most species are associated with forests, especially rainforests, but others prefer woodland or savannah-like habitats.
Macaws eat a variety of foods including fruits, palm fruits, nuts, leaves, seeds, leaves, flowers, and stems. Wild species may forage widely, over 100 km (62 mi) for some of the larger species such as Ara araurana (blue & yellow macaw) and Ara ambigua (great green macaw), in search of seasonally available foods. Some foods eaten by macaws in the wild contain toxic or caustic substances which they are able to digest. It has been suggested that parrots and macaws in the Amazon basin eat clay from exposed river banks to neutralize these toxins. In the western Amazon hundreds of macaws and other parrots descend to exposed river banks to consume clay on an almost daily basis- except on rainy days.