Blue and Yellow Macaw


ORDER: Psittaciformes

FAMILY: Psittacidae

GENUS: Ara

SPECIES: ararauna

DESCRIPTION:
Upper parts blue, darker on flight feathers and tail; forehead green-blue; underparts from side of neck are yellow but under-tail coverts are dull turquoise; black throat border to white facial skin; legs are grey-horn color; bill is black; eyes are yellowish-white; feet are black. The white facial skin patches may blush to pink when excited. About 25 inches long.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Panama and South America to northern Argentina. Inhabits forests and tall palms growing in swamps or along water courses.

DIET:
Herbivorous. Eats mostly seeds, fruits, nuts, and plant material.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Associate in pairs even within large flocks. Fly close together, wings almost touching. Generally seen flying above the forest canopy or feeding among branches of tall trees. Have regular roosting sites. In early morning, flocks leave to fly to feeding grounds (may be some distance away). Return flights commence just before sunset. Numbers in evening flights run into the hundreds. Breeds late spring. Nests in holes of dead trees; 2 to 4 white eggs are incubated by the female for 24-26 days. The young remain in the nest for about 13 weeks, at which time they resemble adults with shorter tails. Life span is variously reported as anywhere from 30 to 100 years with an average of 50 to 60 years.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Flight is direct with slow shallow wingbeats. They are quite fast for such a large bird. Their beak can bite down with 300 pounds of pressure, making them one of the very few rainforest animals that can crack open Brazil nuts.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Their blue-black back feathers, when viewed from above, blend into the darker colors below, while their yellow underside, when viewed from below, blends into the brightness of the sun above. This is a unique type of camouflage known as countershading.

OUR ANIMALS:
The Blue and Yellow Macaws can be found in the Tropical Rainforest.

STATUS IN WILD:
Illegal traffic in live birds has put the species in danger of extinction. Only in the extensive lowland swamps are they numerous. On Appendix II (threatened) of CITES. They are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, but with a population trend of decreasing.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Forshaw, Joseph. 1978. Parrots of the World, 2nd edition, T.H.F. Publications, Neptune, NJ, p.370.
  2. Internet re longevity: oregonzoo.org; cincinatizoo.org; Hogle Zoo, Beardsley Zoo; parrots of the world.com; Brandywine Zoo; petco.com; answers.yahoo, etc.

Birds

Amphibians

Arthropods

Reptiles

Mammals