Tropical Rainforest Macaws..
The most popular of all South American birds

Have you ever heard about tropical rainforest macaws? If you haven't, read on because they are some of the most beautiful birds on Earth.

Amazonia and the tropical rainforests of Indonesia is where we find 50% of over 10,000 different bird species in the world.

Scarlet macaws. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
Scarlet Macaws. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil - © Istockphoto/Roberto Sanchez

Only in the Amazon rainforest there are 1/3 of the world's total bird's species, but this percentage grows bigger if we include other habitats such as the tropical savannah of Brazil (Cerrado), the Pantanal region and adjacent areas of Bolivia and Paraguay.

In fact, South America is often referred to as "bird-continent", being macaws one of the most representative of all South American birds.

The abundant water and vegetation with favorable climate for breeding make the paradise like home for the birds, and a top destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.

There are 18 species of tropical rainforest macaws, including extinct and critically endangered species. Six species are already extinct, being the Spix's macaw (Cyanopsitta Spixii) one of them. It is considered critically endangered, possibly extinct, last seen in the wild in 2000.

Macaws are part of the parrot species - there are over 300 parrot species in the world and 30 of them comprise the genus Amazona - most prominent in the rainforest, although, they are found in other tropical habitats.

Parrots feed on fruits, seeds, grass and leaves. Their powerful beaks is used to crack hard shells. A good example of this is the Hyacinth macaw, able to crack coconuts as well as macadamia nuts. Southeast Asia and Australia have cockatoos, while the tropical forests of Central and South America have macaws.

Well known for their bright colours and laud call, macaws gather by the hundreds in the clay cliffs of the Amazon river to feed on minerals. Minerals help the birds process toxins found in the seeds they eat.

Birdwatching in South America - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

A common sight in the jungle is to observe a pair of Scarlet macaws flying over the Amazon rainforest canopy. They build their nest high up in the canopy trees and mate for life. Loving and intelligent, scarlet macaws are the most strikingly beautiful of all tropical rainforest macaws, which make them very vulnerable to the pet trade.

They can reach 80 cm (32 in) long - of which more than half is the pointed tail - and an average weight of about 1kg (2.2lb).

The list of tropical rainforest macaws found in the genus Ara include...

The Hyacinth macaw is the largest macaw and the largest flying parrot species in the world.

Flying macaw
Flying Macaw
It can reach 1 meter (40 in) and 1.5-2 kg (3-4 pounds) in weight, with a wingspan of 120-140 cm (48-56in).

It is entirely blue with black under the wings and a black beak, with yellow on the lower side of the beak and around the eyes.

Hyacinth macaw in one of the endangered species of tropical rainforest macaws, victim of the bird cage trade and habitat loss.

The smallest member of the parrot family is the Pigmy parrot. Found in the rainforests of New Guinea, it can reach little over 8cm (3.5in) long.

With different conservation status, the tropical rainforest macaw population is threatened by destruction of habitat through deforestation and illegal trapping for the bird trade.

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