Blue & Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Blue and Gold Macaws are large, brightly colored tropical birds. They are adept at tree climbing, using their beak and feet
to climb. Their beak can bite  down with 300 pounds of pressure. They are one of only three rainforest animals that can crack open Brazil nuts. Currently there are 17 species of macaw. The largest is the Hyacinth macaw which is 3 feet in length from head to tip of tail. The smallest is the Red-shouldered macaw, measuring 12 inches in length.

Description: 

Both males and females weigh 2.5 pounds and measure 34-36 inches in length from the head to the tip of the tail. The tail is usually longer than the body and head combined. They are covered with dark blue, light blue, yellow and green feathers. These feathers actually help them blend in with the forest's rays of sunlight and blue sky. Their white face has black feather stripes and a strong, black beak. There are four long, black nails on each gray foot. The feet are used not only for climbing but for holding onto their food. Their tail is used for both balance when climbing and during flight.

Habitat: 

Upper levels of the Rainforest canopy along rivers.

Range: 

Northern South America; eastern Panama south through Columbia, Ecuador 10 the northern tip of Argentina

Diet: 

Fruit, seeds, nuts and occasionally insects. Macaws will travel great distances to find food. Since trees bear fruit at different times of the year, the macaw flock may fly as far as 15 miles each day in search of a meal!

Life Span: 

Up to 90 years in the wild, and 100 years or more in captivity.

Family Life: 

Their life in the wild is not well known, but it is thought that a pair will bond for life. They are social animals, spending most of their time within flocks at communal roosting sites during the night and basking and feeding during the day. Nests are located high above the ground in cavities of dead trees. The female will Jay 2 eggs and incubate them for approximately 25 days. The male will stay near the nest and both parents will aggressively protect the nest. The young are able to fly at 3 months.

Status: 

Threatened due to loss of habitat (clear-cutting for agriculture) and extensive illegal collection of wild birds by the pet trade.


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