Introduction, Breeding and Poaching of Scarlet Macaws () in a Temperate Country: A Case Study from The Netherlands

R. M.V. Jonker*, 1, 2, W. L.M. Tamis2
1 City Parrots, Groenoordstraat 35, 2316 AZ Leiden, The Netherlands
2 CML, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9518, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

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© 2012 M.V. Jonker and Tamis

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the CML, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9518, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands; Tel: +31 (0)71 527 744 7479/5140506; Fax: +31 (0)71 527 7434; E-mails:


Poaching for the pet bird trade is one of the main threats to wild parrots. Parrots in urban areas might be exempt from poaching because nests are likely inaccessible in the urban mosaic of public and private lands where the public and authorities keep more effective vigilance than in natural habitats. We report on the demographics and fate of a small population of exotic Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao L.) introduced into the urban area of Haarlem in The Netherlands in the 1970's, which has a temperate, maritime climate, quite unlike the natural breeding area of the species. One breeding pair was reported, with successful breeding attempts in at least eight years between 1980 and 2009. A series of poaching events between 2005 and 2009 likely lead to the demise of the local nesting population of Scarlet Macaws.

Keywords: Poaching, Exotic species, Establishment, Breeding success, Ara macao, Parrot.