Macaw - Blue and Gold
Area: Native to Central America, South America and Mexico
Habitat: Forests, rain forests, woodlands and savannahs
Food: Seeds, nuts, fruits, palm fruits, leaves, flowers, and stems.
Size: Wingspan of up to 4ft!
Macaws are long tailed, colorful, New World parrots. There are 19 different species of macaw. Macaws are distinguishable from other parrots by their larger beaks, longer tails, and light colored facial areas. A macaw’s facial feather patch is as unique as a fingerprint. Macaws are zygodactyl which means that their first and fourth toes are pointing backwards.
The majority of macaws are endangered in the wild and some species are extinct. This is due to deforestation and illegal trapping for the bird trade. Wild species of macaw will forage over 62 miles to search for seasonally available foods. Some foods that they eat contain toxic substances which they are able to digest. They will eat clay from exposed river banks to neutralize these toxins and help with digestion. They will also consume clay for the sodium it contains. Sodium is vital to the macaws and is scarce in their environment.
Macaws can live up to 60 years in the wild. Their vibrant plumage is suited to life in the rainforest, with the green canopies and colorful fruits and flowers. Their large, powerful beaks easily crack nuts and seeds. Their dry, scaly tongues have a bone inside of them that makes them a great tool for tapping into fruits. Their gripping toes help them to latch onto branches and hold things. Macaws are very intelligent and very social. They gather in flocks of 10-30 birds. Macaws vocalize to communicate, mark territory, and identify one another. They can also mimic human speech. Flocks of macaws will sleep in the trees at night and fly in the morning to find food.
Macaws mate for life. They will mate with, share food with, and groom their mates. During the breeding season mothers will incubate the eggs and fathers will hunt and bring food back to the nest. A female will typically have 2 eggs at a time and they will hatch within a month.