Blue and Yellow Macaw

The walk along the trail that goes straight back into the rainforest from the Tambopata Research Center was productive from the start. Just after entering the dim interior of the forest, a mixed flock of tanagers, barbets, and other bird species had rushed on past. A turkey-like Razor-billed Curassow was seen walking up the trail. At least 40 minutes were spent watching a large troop of Brown Capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys as they foraged in a bamboo grove. Amazingly, these sightings didn’t even represent the main goal of the walk but no one was complaining.

The main purpose for the jungle hike was a visit to a palm swamp situated deep in the forest. Although the diversity isn’t as high as in parts of the rainforest that grow on well-drained soils, palm swamps have their own special suite of birds and animals. One of the most spectacular of the palm swamp residents is the Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna). Although they forage in many other parts of the rainforest, they only nest in old palm swamps such as the one found at the Tambopata Research Center. This became evident as soon as the guests arrived at the swamp boardwalk as they could here the screams of Blue and Yellow Macaws flying overhead. Once the guide brought them to the end of the boardwalk, it didn’t take long to find the macaws as they perched by a tall, dead palm. One of the birds climbed down into the broken off stump while its mate stood watch and had its picture taken by five different cameras.

The Blue and Yellow Macaw is one of the most photogenic birds that live in the Peruvian rainforest by merit of their large size and the bright blue upperparts that combine perfectly with rich yellow underparts. Happily, this gorgeous bird is commonly seen at the Rainforest Expedition lodges in Tambopata and most guests get the chance to admire this bird’s exotic beauty.

Some interesting facts about Blue and Yellow Macaws:

  • A macaw with a large range: Blue and Yellow Macaws occur from eastern Panama south throughout much of the Amazon basin to northern Paraguay. They require both humid forest and palm swamps and are fairly common where pristine tracts of these two types of habitat occur. Like other large macaws, they tend to quickly disappear from areas impacted by deforestation and hunting.
  • They only nest in Palm swamps: Like other members of the Psittacidae, Blue and Yellow Macaws use cavities for nesting but will only nest in dead palm trunks. This behavior is shared with the smaller Red-bellied Macaw.
  • Intelligent and long-lived: As with other large macaw species, many Blue and Yellows are believed to be as smart as a 3-4 year old person and can live to the age of 70 in captivity.

How to see Blue and Yellow Macaws during your Amazonian adventure:

  • Visit the Tambopata Research Center: The big clay lick at this remote eco-lodge is one of the only colpas regularly visited by Blue and Yellow Macaws. They are also seen most days right from the vicinity of the lodge.
  • Visit a canopy tower: This big gorgeous parrot is frequently observed from the canopy towers at the Rainforest Expedition lodges.

Take in the incredibly beautiful sight of Blue and Yellow Macaws flying against a verdant green jungle by taking an Amazon jungle tour with Rainforest Expeditions!

As Seen in

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