Scarlet Macaws in Manu National Park, Peru


Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) originate in the humid lowland subtropical rain forests, river edges, and savannas of Central and South America, they can live up to 75 years, although, a more typical lifespan is 30 to 50 years. The Scarlet Macaw lays two or three white eggs in a tree cavity, as you can see in the above photo. The female incubates the eggs for about 28 days, and the chicks fledge from the nest about 90 days after hatching, and leave their parents about a year later.

Macaws eat mostly fruits and seeds, including large, hard seeds. A typical sighting is of a single bird or a pair flying above the forest canopy. Scarlet Macaws has been decreasing in numbers due to a combination of factors, particularly hunting, poaching, and the destruction of habitat through deforestation. Further, the spraying of pesticides by companies cultivating and selling bananas. The normal way poachers catch the Macaws, is to locate a tree with juveniles, and simply cut it down, needless to say that in the process many chicks get injured or die.

They are not currently endangered, but are very vulnerable to the pet trade. Like many rarer parrot species today, they are occasionally smuggled from South and Central America to the United States where they wind up seized by authorities. Unfortunately not all perpetrators are caught and lots of birds are sold illegally. Many smuggled parrots die from stress on their way to points north.


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