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:
Seeds, fruits, nuts and probably vegetable matter.

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. Lifespan is variously reported on Internet sources as anywhere from 30-100 years. Giving an average of 50-60 years should be safe.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Flight is direct with slow shallow wing beats. They are quite fast for such a large bird.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
The bright coloration of their plumage, blending with the bright sun light and blue sky, provides the birds with dramatic camouflage.

OUR ANIMALS:

STATUS IN WILD:
Illegal traffic in live birds has put the species in imminent danger of extinction. Only in the extensive lowland swamps are they numerous. On Appendix II (threatened) of CITES.

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.

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