As the morning sun begins to burn off the mist above the Amazon rainforest, birdsong issues from the surrounding sea of green. Exclaiming their territorial rights, toucans yelp from distant emergent snags. Woodcreepers, jacamars, trogons, and hundreds of other bird species call from treetops and from deep within the dim, forest understory. The canopy towers at Posada Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas are some of the best spots to take in this dawn chorus but not every bird has a whistled, melodious song.
One of the most raucous jungle sounds heard by guests on an Amazonian jungle adventure in Tambopata are the cackling, loud screeches made by the Mealy Parrot (Amazona farinosa). These large, green parrots are common residents of forests at Tambopata and like other members of the parrot family, have loud voices and love to use them. The screeches of Mealy Parrots are commonly heard at all of the Tambopata lodges run by Rainforest Expeditions and the birds themselves are frequently seen as they fly past the canopy towers or while taking clay from the colpas.
Here are some other interesting facts about the Mealy Parrot:
- The back and nape often have a whitish tinge; almost as if it had been covered in a thin layer of flour or “meal”; hence its name).
- One of the largest parrots in the Amazon rainforest: In Tambopata, the only members of the Psittacidae larger than the Mealy Parrot are the three big macaw species (Scarlet, Blue and Yellow, and Red and Green).
- Wide-ranging, successful, rainforest bird: Mealy Parrots occur in the canopy of lowland rainforests in southeastern Mexico, Central America, northwestern South America, and throughout the Amazon jungle.
- There are five subspecies of Mealy Parrots: Five distinct subspecies occur. Some have a bluish tinge to the head whereas others sport a spot of yellow on the crown. The birds at Tambopata are the chapmani subspecies and have blue-green feathers on the head.
- They nest in tree cavities: Like other parrots, this species nests in tree cavities. As with macaws, its population is probably limited by the paucity of cavities appropriate for nesting.
- Mealy Parrots feed on fruits and seeds: This large parrot is often seen as it feeds on unripe fruits and seeds of various Amazonian trees.
- They make seasonal movements: Although the movements of Mealy Parrots have been studied very little, they may migrate short (or even long) distances within the Amazon rainforest. This hypothesis is supported by changes in the numbers of Mealy Parrots that show up at Tambopata clay licks throughout the year.
How to see Mealy Parrots during your trip to the Peruvian Amazon:
- Visit the clay licks or “colpas”: Mealy Parrots are frequent visitors to the clay licks near the Rainforest Expedition lodges. This is a fantastic way to get close looks at and take pictures of these intelligent birds.
- Watch for them from the canopy tower: Mealy Parrots are often seen as they fly by the towers that overlook the rainforest canopy at Posada Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas. They can also be viewed with binoculars and telescopes as they perch in the crowns of giant rainforest trees.
- Walk with a guide: Although seeing Mealy Parrots at the Rainforest Expedition lodges is easier than viewing some other types of wildlife, you will still see more when walking with one of our trained guides.
Come to the Tambopata region for your Peruvian jungle adventure to see and photograph loud, green Mealy Parrots in action!