Monday, October 31, 2005

The Scarlet macaw

The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is a large, colourful parrot.
It is native to humid evergreen forests in the American tropics, from extreme eastern Mexico locally to Amazonian Peru and Brazil, in lowlands up to 500 meters (at least formerly up to 1000m).

It is about 81 to 96 cm (32 to 36 inches) long, of which more than half is the pointed, graduated tail typical of macaws.

Average weight is about a kilogram (2 to 2.5 pounds). The plumage is mostly scarlet, but the rump and tail-covert feathers are light blue, the greater upperwing coverts are yellow, the upper sides of the flight feathers of the wings are dark blue as are the ends of the tail feathers, and the undersides of the wing and tail flight feathers are dark red with metallic gold iridescence.

There is bare white skin around the eye and from there to the bill. The upper mandible is mostly pale horn in color and the lower is black. Sexes are alike; the only difference between ages is that young birds have dark eyes, and adults have light yellow eyes.

Scarlet Macaws make loud, low-pitched, throaty squawks and screams.
Wild Scarlet Macaws eat mostly fruits and seeds, including large, hard seeds. A typical sighting is of a single bird or a pair flying above the forest canopy, though in some areas flocks can be seen.

Like most parrots, the Scarlet Macaw lays 2 to 4 white eggs in a tree cavity. The young hatch after 24 to 25 days. They fledge about 105 days later and leave their parents as late as a year.
(Text: Wkipedia.org / Photo: Juan Amighetti)

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