Parque des Aves  Iguazu Falls

Let’s continue the tour of the walk-in aviary in the Parque des Aves – this time to see macaws (parrots). This rainforest birds’ sanctuary next to the Iguazu Falls is the place to be for birdwatchers and nature lovers.....

Page 6

Facts about Macaws

Macaws belong to those birds that you can see in almost every birds’ park and zoo. The main reason – the species have fabulously colorful plumage.

     Macaws are native to South and Central America (including Caribbean Islands). Their habitat includes rainforest, but some macaw’s species may also live in woodlands.

They range in size from an impressive Hyacinth Macaw – up to 100 cm (40 inches) length and 1.6kg (3.5 lbs) weight with a wingspan of up to 130 cm (4 ft) to very small, parrot-like Red-shouldered Macaw – with a length of barely 30cm (12 inches) and 140 grams (4.5 ounces) of weight. 

They also largely differ in plumage coloration. Their common characteristics are:  long tails and slim bodies greatly helping them to fly in the rain-forest environment.

Like few other birds species (for example woodpeckers) macaws are zygodactylous. In other words - they have four toes on each foot with the first and the fourth ones (outer toes) pointing backward. This helps them not only to securely grasp branches but also allows them to grasp food like fruits, nuts …. 

Blue -fronted Amazons (Papagaio Verdadeiro or Amazona Frentiazul) - Macaws' Aviary in the Parques des Aves.

Red-tailed Amazon (Papagaio-de-cara-roxa or Amazona Calirroja)- Walk-through Aviary for Large Parrots in Parque das Aves

   They have robust deeply hooked beaks perfect for crushing nuts and seeds. Macaws’ diet mostly includes fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves and flowers.

The insects and small snails balance the diet with proteins. Like most birds in parrots’ family – macaws are “seed predators” – in other words they destroy seeds by digesting them instead of dispersing in the environment.

It is also known that macaws eat the clay-rich soil found on the riverbanks. It is believed that clay’s chemical components may be used to neutralize some toxins and in general helping their digestive system.

They are social birds living in larger groups. They are intelligent and curious trying to examine and play with new objects they find.

They communicate loudly by squawking and screeching. They mate for life taking care of each other (like preening each other’s feathers) and taking active part in grooming young.

Unfortunately for macaws, their intelligence, playfulness and inquisitive nature together with the ability to imitate voices make them favorite pets (not only among birds’ lovers). Their striking colors and beauty only adds to these factors.

There are 17 species of macaws, most of them are classified as endangered species. Some went extinct in the last century, some do not exist anymore in the wild. As usually the biggest threat is due to human activities and specifically in macaws’ case – due to trafficking and illegal pet trade.

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Scarlet Macaw (Arara-Macao or Guacamayo Macao) in the Iguazu Falls rain-forest's birds park.

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Red-and-green Macaw (Arara-Vermelha-Grande or Guacamayo Aliverde) in Large Parrots walk-in aviary of the Iguazu Falls birds park.

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Socializing and showing care for each other may be even inspiring for us, human beings...

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On the right - Blue-and-Gold Macaw

Strong demands for pets contributed to hybridization of macaws as a means to enhance colors of the plumage. The two most popular hybrids are the Catalina – a cross between Blue and Gold Macaw and Scarlet Macaw and Harlequin – correspondingly the cross between Blue and Gold Macaw and Green-wings Macaw. Hybridization is an artificial process not existing in the nature and as such should not be welcomed nor supported.

I hope that this Free Macaws Pictures and Facts page will raise our awareness to the obvious fact - that wild animals belong to the wilderness. Eco-birds parks like the Parque das Aves with large walk-in aviaries are good exceptions.

On one side they help saving endangered species, on the other gave chance to those less “adventurous” to see birds in a wild-like environment of the rain-forest. Keep in mind that by nature birds are born to fly and limiting their space to small cages must be a horrifying experience for them.

These days there is some hope for wildlife because there is more interest and support for eco-tourism as means to save wild-life. Employing former poachers as conservationists and in general offering local people means of decent living from tourism rather than from poaching, smuggling and trafficking is a right and “self-sustaining” way to save the nature. Many of us will pay to see birds (and in general animals) in the wild.

Eager to re-visit the Parque des Aves? just click on the following ling to go back along the birds' trail: Birds Park Tour  - previous (page 5)

However please keep in mind that you are in the Parque National Iguazu for one reason - called Iguazu Falls. To get there either click the picture on the left or select the following link: Iguacu Falls 

Good news - if you are physically and emotionally tired after the day at the Parque das Aves and Iguazu Falls National park, then the best idea is to go to the hotel and have a good rest. You can do it by either clicking the picture on the left or the following Iguazu Hotels with Infinity Pools

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