Scarlet Macaw

2 scarlet macaws (ara macao) - Limonal/Costa Rica

Common name: Scarlet Macaw

Type: Bird

Family: Psittacidae

Range: If you consider about the range of this bird in South America, it extends from Peru to Bolivia. It also covers the Amazon basin and Paraguay. If you go to the Central American countries you can see the bird in Southern Mexico, Belize, Panama, Guatemala, Island of Cobia, and the Carara national park and Penninsula de Osa, which are the two isolated Pacific regions of Costa Rica.

Size: The Scarlet Macaw is normally 81 centimeters (32 inches) long. The half of the length is normally because of the tail. This is the Macaw that has a larger percentage of tail than other Macaws.

Weight: This bird weighs around 1 kilogram (2.2 lb)

Diet: The Scarlet Macaw normally feeds on fruits, seeds and nuts. It also eats large and hard seeds and nuts. At sometimes they eat foods that contain toxic or caustic substances and that can be easily digested by them. In order to neutralize the toxins the Scarlet Macaws eat the clay that can be found in the exposed riverbanks of the Amazon basin. Except on the rainy days, we can see hundreds of Macaws eating clay on the riverbanks on a daily basis.

Average lifespan: If you think about the lifespan of Scarlet Macaw, it can live up to 75 years in case of captivity. The typical lifespan of this bird is 40 to 50 years.

Habitat: The Scarlet Macaw usually inhabits in humid lowland subtropical rainforests, savannas, river edges and open woodlands. Because of this reason, you can see them as a vast range in the areas of Costa Rica. The Scarlet Macaw lives as the colony in most parts of the America.

Breeding/Reproduction: The breeding season of Scarlet Macaw is in the spring season and that to about 6 weeks. Scarlet Macaws normally find out their mate for life. The female bird normally lays 2 to 3 eggs in the color of white in a tree cavity. The incubation period is about five weeks. The female bird incubates the eggs and after hatching the chicks fledges from the nest about 90 days. The young birds would leave from their parents about one year later. They reach out the sexual maturity at five years of age.
If the bird is in captivity from the birth and when it reaches the sexual maturity, it becomes so aggressive at that time in order to get with the mate. So, it is necessary to take care of the Macaw at the time by getting with the mate for him or her.

The Scarlet Macaw is the type of parrot, which is large blue, yellow and red parrot. It looks so beautiful and attractive one because of the multicolored nature. Today it has suffered a lot because of the parrot trade, local extinction and habitat destruction, but still we can see this bird as fairly common around the countries of the United States. It is the national bird of Honduras.

The plumage of scarlet macaw is in the color of scarlet and it has tail-covert feathers and the rump as light blue in color. It has yellow upper covert wings which are greater. Ends of the tail feathers contain the upper sides of the flight feathers of the wings and these are in dark blue. The lower or undersides of the tail flight feathers and wings are in dark red along with the metallic gold iridescence. Typically some individual Scarlet Macaws have green color in their wings.

The Scarlet Macaw has bare white color from the skin around the eye to bill. The face patch of the bird attached with tiny white feathers. It has lower mandible as in the color of black and the upper mandible as pale horn in color. The adults have eyes as colored in light yellow and the young ones have dark eyes.

The calls of Scarlet Macaws are normally very loud and high and it may be low-pitched sometimes. They use throaty squawks, screams and squeaks to call their groups available after miles from the place. We can see the flocks of Scarlet Macaws in some areas and typically we can see a single bird or pair of birds flying above the forest canopy. Apart from that, we can see the group of birds during the clay clicks.

When you consider about the subspecies of Scarlet Macaw, two of them can be differed because of the width of yellow wings it has and are,

• A.macao macao: This is the South American Scarlet Macaw, which is treated as the nominated subspecies

• A.macao cyanoptera: It is the North Central American Scarlet Macaw. This is larger than the normal Scarlet Macaws and instead of green it has blue color on its wings. You can see this subspecies in the parks of Costa Rica normally

If you think about the captivity of this Scarlet Macaw, they really need more care. They are high expensive to maintain, adopt and also to purchase. Because of the beautiful colors and nature of this bird they are treated as the demanding one. They are very affectionate with their owners and some Macaws speak sweetly. There are many hybrids available with the color variations and these are considered an intelligent species compare to other species available in the Costa Rica.
When you want to get the Scarlet Macaw from the forests of the United States, it is necessary to get special permissions from the authorities. This is because bringing Macaws without special permits is treated as the illegal thing. Even though they are treated very silent bird in nature they are vulnerable to pet trade. There are many smugglers occasionally smuggling this species from the United States and unfortunately they die because of the stress on the way. Even though the government takes necessary steps to catch the smugglers and caught some, some Scarlet Macaws are sold illegally.

Because of all these reasons, in all the parks of Costa Rica Scarlet Macaws are maintained with special care. When you visit the parks of Costa Rica, don’t forget to spend some time in national Parks of such as Carara National Park, Corcovado National Park, and Palo Verde National Park with this Macaw that is similar to the parrots that we can normally see in our home side.

The main threats to the Scarlet Macaw are habitat loss due to rainforest destruction and heavy use as pet trading. In Costa Rica, these parrots, which are regularly stolen from their nests, can be sold for $200 in black market. The baby birds smuggled into the United State can be sold for as much as $4,000.

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