Animals / Types of Birds / Scarlet Macaw - Vibrant Plumage, Tropical Noise-Maker

Scarlet Macaw - Vibrant Plumage, Tropical Noise-Maker


s macaw head shot

 

The scarlet macaw is native to South America. As a species, the it used to have a fairly large habitat, including the subtropical rainforests and savannah regions of south and central America. Over the last couple of hundred years, the natural population has dropped severely, due to hunting, poaching, deforestation and the use of pesticides for cash crops.

There is very little danger of extinction, due to the popularity of scarlet macaws as pets. The main reason they are so sought after, is due to their bright characteristic plumage. Their feathers are mainly scarlet red, with the tail covert (covering feathers) and rump feathers being a light blue, and the great upper covert feathers being bright yellow. The ends of the tail feathers are light blue, and the tail flight feathers are dark red, with a gold shine. What vibrant flamboyance!

 

 

scarlet macaw chicks

 

Characteristics

Adult and young scarlet macaws look the same, the only way to tell them apart is by the color of their eyes: older adults have yellow eyes, while young birds have dark eyes. They grow to about 32 inches long, or 81 cm, with about half that length due to the long, slender tail. They have the same toe configuration as other macaws do: two toes face forward, and one faces back. This makes it easy for them to climb and perch in trees and to grasp food.

 

scarlet macaw flying

 

Their beaks are large and curved, and quite powerful, making them well-equipped for survival in the jungle. The top half of the beak is light in color, while the bottom is black. Scarlet macaws produce a very loud call, which can carry for miles, enabling them to locate and identify their groups.

 

scarlet macaw perched

 

Breeding, Diet and Behavior

In the wild, they lay two or three eggs at a time, in tree hollows. Incubation takes five weeks and the young birds leave the nest after three months, and live on their own after a year. Wild scarlet macaws live for 20 to 30 years, and those in captivity, can live up to 50 years.

They mainly eat nuts, seeds and fruit, as well as nectar from flower buds.

As pets, they are popular due to their coloring and ability to learn words and phrases. They are known to be very temperamental and messy, and require a fair amount of training, before becoming manageable as house pets.

 

 

 

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