August 5, 2019 Birds from Colombia

The scarlet macaw is a large red, yellow, and blue Central and South American parrot. It is native to Central and South America rainforests from Mexico to Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Brazil.

Scarlet Macaw, Ara Macao © Victoria Restrepo

In Colombia live up to 1000 meters above sea level. They are observed in the forests near the river banks, in the rainforests, and in mangroves.

Scarlet Macaw, Ara Macao © Victoria Restrepo

It is one of the largest Macaws, measuring 90 cm long and weighing 2lb. Most of its feathers are scarlet red. Its wings and tail have a yellow color and several shades of blue; sometimes, they have small green feathers.

Scarlet Macaw, Ara Macao © Victoria Restrepo

Its diet consists mainly of seeds, fruits, nectar, flowers, insects, leaves, and stems. Its strong hook-shaped beak is perfect for breaking them. Some of the seeds they consume are toxic enough to kill other animals, and to neutralize them. They ingest mud from clay walls near the rivers.

They travel great distances between feeding and shelter sites. It is a very social daytime animal, which can form flocks of dozens of members who gather to find food, groom themselves, protect each other, and sleep together. Males in reproductive age are usually dominant.

Scarlet Macaw, Ara Macao © Victoria Restrepo

They communicate using loud and sharp squeaks and can fly up to 50km/h. The macaws are quite loud when they are in the air but silent while they eat.

They nest in cavities of dead palms or in abandoned nests of woodpeckers and lay one to three eggs which they incubate for an average of 28 days. The chicks stay almost four months in the nest, and the parents feed them 4 to 15 times a day.

Photographs by Victoria Restrepo ©

Scarlet Macaw, Ara Macao 


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