Ara autocthones Wetmore, 1937

St. Croix macaw



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: Holocene



St. Croix, Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico


Given the regular transportation of (presumably valid) different species of macaws to different islands (Ibid.), the original distribution of A. autocthones cannot be determined, at least at present anyway.


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: USNM 483530 (left tibiotarsus) [ex USNM 343033]


Other material:

USNM 448344 (see Olson & Maiz Lopez, 2008 for a full list of the bones that make up this collection)


Originally described from a single bone (a left tibiotarsus) recovered from an archaeological site on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands (Wetmore, 1937). Olson & Maiz Lopez (2008) reported further material assigned to this taxa from an archaeological site on Puerto Rico, found in 1987.






Original scientific description:

Wetmore, Alexander. (1937). Ancient records of birds from the island of St. Croix with observations on extinct and living birds of Puerto Rico. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico 21: 5-15.


Other references:

Brodkorb, Pierce. (1971). Catalogue of fossil birds. Part 4 (Columbiformes through Piciformes). Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 15: 163-266.

Olson, Storrs L. (1978). A paleontological perspective of West Indian birds and mammals, pp. 99-117. In: Zoogeography of the Caribbean. Academy of the Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Special Publication no. 13.

Olson, Storrs L. and Maíz López, E. J. (2008). New evidence of Ara autochthones from an archeological site in Puerto Rico: a valid species of West Indian macaw of unknown geographical origin (Aves: Psittacidae). Caribbean Journal of Science 44(2): 215-222.

Sayol, Ferran, Steinbauer, Manuel J., Blackburn, Tim M., Antonelli, Alexandre and Faurby, Søren. (2020). Anthropogenic extinctions conceal widespread evolution of flightlessness in birds. Science Advances 6(49): eabb6095. [Supplementary Material (Data File S1)]

Tyrberg, Tommy. (2009). Holocene avian extinctions, pp. 63-106. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Williams, Mathew I. and Steadman, David W. (2001). The historic and prehistoric distribution of parrots (Psittacidae) in the West Indies, pp. 175-189. In: Woods, Charles A. and Sergile, Florence E. (eds.). Biogeography of the West Indies: Patterns and Perspectives, 2nd ed. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.

Wing, E. S. (1989). Human exploitation of animal resources in the Caribbean, pp. 137-152. In: Woods, C. A. (ed.). Biogeography of the West Indies: Past, Present, and Future. Gainesville, Florida: Sandhill Crane Press.


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