Magmar is a bipedal Pokémon that has a red body with yellow flame designs along the bottom half. It has a puckered, yellow beak, small eyes, and two lumps on its forehead with a yellow flame on top of each one. Rigid, red scales cover its arms and it has five, clawed fingers on each hand. Magmar's shoulders and thighs are yellow, and its red feet have two, clawed toes each. It has black, metal shackles around its neck and ankles. Down its back is a row of red spikes, and there is a flame at the tip of its tapering, yellow tail.
Magmar's body temperature is nearly 2,200° Fahrenheit (1,200° Celsius), giving its body an orange glow. Because it hates cold places, this Pokémon typically resides in and around active volcanoes where it is born from. This Pokémon has even been known to spit scorching flames to establish an ideally warm environment for itself. The Magmar found in Alola are said be to sturdier than Magmar found elsewhere.
In battle, Magmar blows out intense flames from all over its body to intimidate its foes and incinerate its surroundings. The anime has shown that extremely well-trained Magmar can block Electric-type attacks with super-heated air. However, an outmatched Magmar will quickly retreat, using its fiery camouflage and its wavering, rippling glare to blend into any present fires. As stated in the Pokémon Adventures manga, Magmar is very persistent and will hunt down anyone who manages to defeat it. It is able to heal its wounds and weariness by soaking in lava. Magmar has a bad habit of unintentionally burning its prey to a crisp. Its body is always constantly burning. Magmar is feared as one of the many causes of fires.
Magmar and Electabuzz seem to be counterparts; both evolve in a very similar way (first at level 30, then after being traded holding an item which has a name that ends with the suffix "-izer"), both have the same gender ratio (75% male, 25% female), and both are typically exclusive to one version of a pair of games. They both have similar status-inducing Abilities in Flame Body and Static, as well as the same Hidden Ability, Vital Spirit. Since Generation V, they also often learn similar moves at the same level. They even have the same special moves when purified in Pokémon XD: Follow Me and Cross Chop. Their evolutionary relatives were released in the same generation (Generation II and IV).
Magmar seems to be a combination of a booby or duck with a mythical salamander of fire. However, the tail and the spikes on its back resemble those of an iguana. It is possibly overall based on a Karura, depicted in Japanese Hindu-Buddhist mythology as a birdlike, fire-breathing creature, similar to how its counterpart Electabuzz is based on an oni.
Magmar may be a corruption of the word magma (intrusive molten rock), but may also involve the word mar (to damage or spoil), referring to the incineration of its surroundings to suit its own needs, or the Spanish fumar (to smoke).
Boober may be a combination of booby (a type of sea bird) and a corruption of burn.