Blueand Yellow Macaw

• ORDER • • FAMILY • • GENUS & SPECIES •

Psittaciformes Psittacidae Ara ararauna

• ORDER • • FAMILY • • GENUS & SPECIES •

Psittaciformes Psittacidae Ara ararauna

Psittaciformes

I WHERE IN THE WORLD?

t Native to forested \ lowland areas of Central and South America, from eastern Panama south through the Amazon basin to northern Bolivia and southeastern Brazil; also on Trinidad r ——— I

f KEY FEATURES

■ • One of the largest \ and gaudiest of all parrots, familiar worldwide as a

■ showpiece cagebird

( • Lives in tropical forests, where it flies just above the canopy in

I. noisy, squawking flocks

• Uses its massive bill to crack open tough nuts and hard seedcases

• Eats clay, possibly for important minerals and to aid digestion

behavior '

Although the blue-and-yellow macaw is a familiar sight in exotic collections, zoologists are only now piecing together knowledge of the lifestyle and habits of the bird in the wild.

cs^i habitat-

The blue-and-yellow macaw is a bird of the treetops, spending most of its time in the upper canopy Throughout its range, it shows a preference for trees close to water; finding ideal conditions near rainforest lakes and rivers, in seasonally flooded forests, palm-filled swamps and in the forests that line the rivers flowing through drier savannah habitats. The species is less common in hilly terrain and is found in only a few places above 1,650'.

# The demand among bird collectors for blue-and-yellow macaws is so high that some will pay over $2,400 for one bird.

In places where good nest sites are scarce, macaw pairs have been known to kill any resident fledglings of their own kind and take over the nest.

The blue-and-yellow macaw's bill is so strong and powerfully muscled that it can crack open the hardest Brazil nut.

A. Parrot fashion In remote areas, this is the most common macaw.

The blue-and-yellow macaw spends much time under the cover of canopy foliage or fronds of tall palms to avoid being detected by large eagles — its main predators. When it takes to the air, its rich colors and screeching calls make it highly conspicuous; to compensate, it flies quickly and directly through the trees.

Most blue-and-yellow macaws live in pairs or family groups. Pairs may join other blue-and-yellow macaws to form flocks, especially at feeding or roosting sites and during trips to and from these areas. Large congregations also gather at clay-licks: cliffs of bare clay exposed by river erosion. Here, the macaws cling to the surface and nibble pieces of clay This may help detoxify the potentially harmful chemicals in some food, especially unripe fruits, which produce toxins for their defense. Clay may also provide essential minerals, such as calcium, that are otherwise lacking A Lifelong pALs from the bird's diet. Blue-and-yellow macaws probably pair for life.

food & feeding-
Guyana Food

Flocks of macaws leave their roosting site early in the morning in search of food. Studies in it' •

Guyana have shown that flocks fly for long distances to feed, especially when a favorite food, such as the fruit of the jabillo tree, is in season.When feeding, a flock is silent and each bird hides among high branches, giving its presence away only by a shower of dislodged twigs, leaves and discarded food.

Unlike most birds, the blue-and-yellow macaw favors unripe seeds and fruit, despite these items often being protected by tough skins and unpalatable chemicals.

Foothold Grasping fruit with its claw, the macaw the skin and scoops out the flesh with its bill.

0 Taking flight...

With a squawk, the birds set off for food. Flying fast over the forest, they may travel up to 15 miles to find a good source of nuts or fruit.

0 Taking flight...

With a squawk, the birds set off for food. Flying fast over the forest, they may travel up to 15 miles to find a good source of nuts or fruit.

MfiBKBfe

O Dinner party

Some nut-bearing palms have already attracted other blue-and-yellow macaws.The pair joins the flock, but remains close together.

The breeding season of the blue-and-yellow macaw varies across its tropical range. The normal clutch is two white eggs, which the female incubates alone for four weeks. Chicks hatch blind and featherless, and spend three months in the nest hole until they're fledged. Even after they fledge, they remain with their parents for up to a year and breed only after another two or three years.

A.^ Tree house A nest site in a palm (top) or abandoned woodpecker hole (below) is valued.
Image Eagle With Palm Tree
A Two in the bush Palm trees provide cover from predatory eagles.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Q Settling down...

Macaws typically spend the night in a nest hole, often in a deep cavity in the decaying trunk of a tree. Early each day, before setting off to feed...

Q Close bonds.

.the two birds spend several minutes grooming one another, strengthening the pair bond between them.

Q Settling down...

Macaws typically spend the night in a nest hole, often in a deep cavity in the decaying trunk of a tree. Early each day, before setting off to feed...

Q Close bonds.

.the two birds spend several minutes grooming one another, strengthening the pair bond between them.

Macaws Breeding Season
is^iift^jyt Vv î

conservation conservation

Deforestation and illegal capture of the bird for the pet trade are the biggest threats to the blue-and-yellow macaw. Its low birthrate also hampers its recovery, a problem made worse by trappers who cut down nesting trees to capture fledglings.

O FI LE Blue-and- Yellow Macaw

Despite its dandyish plumage, the blue-and-yellow macaw is remarkably well camouflaged in its rainforest habitat.

O FI LE Blue-and- Yellow Macaw

Despite its dandyish plumage, the blue-and-yellow macaw is remarkably well camouflaged in its rainforest habitat.

Unlike most other parrots, macaws have bare, or lightly feathered, faces.The pattern of dark lines on the face is unique to individual birds.

In common with all parrots, the feet have two backward-pointing and two forward-pointing toes.This provides the macaw with a secure grip on branches and bark as well as the ability to manipulate food.

flP VITAL ^ STATISTICS

irweight

*

1.5-2 lbs.

I Length

Up to 3' (nearly half of which is tail)

Wingspan

2.5-3'

Sexual Maturity

Probably 3-4 years

Breeding Season

Varies with region

Number ofEggs

2

[ Incubation . Period

24-26 days

Fledging Period

3 months

Breeding f Interval

Usually more than 1 year

r Typical j Diet

Seeds, fruits and nuts

Lifespan

Up to 50 years in captivity

Unlike most other parrots, macaws have bare, or lightly feathered, faces.The pattern of dark lines on the face is unique to individual birds.

In common with all parrots, the feet have two backward-pointing and two forward-pointing toes.This provides the macaw with a secure grip on branches and bark as well as the ability to manipulate food.

creature comparisons creature comparisons

The scarlet macaw has much in common with the blue-and-yellow macaw. Similar in size and build, it's brightly colored, widely distributed and sought after as a cagebird. The scarlet macaw has plain whitish cheek patches, lacking the individualized patterns of the blue-and-yellow macaw. The ranges of the two overlap; where they share the same areas, the blue-and-yellow macaw is more common in open habitats.The scarlet macaw is also found throughout Brazil and northern Bolivia, but ranges into southern Mexico, making it the most widely distributed macaw. The scarlet macaw is also threatened by deforestation and trapping.

Blue-and-yellow macaw

Blue-and-yellow macaw

RELATED SPECIES

• The parrot family, Psittacidae, to which the blue-and-yellow macaw belongs, has 340 species. Among its members are lovebirds, parrotlets and the budgerigar, as well as other members of the genus Ara, such as the green-winged macaw, A. chloroptera (below).

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Responses

  • Nebay Rezene
    When is breeding season for maccaws?
    4 years ago

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