Scarlet Macaw

The Scarlet Macaw is one of the most impressive of the birds in the parrot family. It is about 30 inches long with bright red feathers. Its strong wings are have blue, green, and yellow patches throughout. The macaw has a very curved beak that is yellow on top and black underneath. It also has a patch of yellow feathers around the eyes. A scarlet macaw has unusual feet: 2 toes point forward and the other 2 point backward! This helps the bird keep a strong grip on tree branches.

Scarlet macaws are found mainly in South and Central American rainforests, especially in Brazil, Guatamala, and Equador. It lives high in the trees, at the very upper layer of leaves and vines of the forests. This type of parrot eats seeds, fruit, nuts, and leaves. But did you know that they also eat clay from river banks?? There seems to be some nutrient in the clay that is important to the survival of the scarlet macaw. They are active throughout the day, looking for food from the trees. Scarlet macaws can fly as fast as 35 miles an hour, especially if they are startled by an enemy.

The scarlet macaw sometime lives in small groups but will mate with only one other bird for life. This is why they are most often seen flying or in a nest in pairs. During mating season, the female will lay 2 or 3 round white eggs. Both parents guard the eggs until they hatch. Young macaws stay in the parents' nest for up to 2 years! The female will not lay another group of eggs until the first group is independent. This means that the population does not grow quickly--a big problem because scarlet macaws are often killed or captured by humans as pets. They are also at risk when humans cut down the rainforests where they live.

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