Sunday Fun Bird Facts
This post is sponsored by SAASA and Birds of Eden
Fun Facts about Macaw's
Macaw – fun facts
1 - These birds possess a brilliant plumage, and a colouring that is suited to the Amazon jungle with its bright fruits and flowers and vivid green canopies. Different species of macaws possess varying bright colour combinations, such as blue and gold or green and red, along with sporting beautiful long graceful tails. A macaw’s facial feather pattern is highly distinctive and thought to be as unique as a fingerprint. They have long toes and sharp claws which they use to latch onto branches and examine items, and their first and fourth toes point backward. They’ve also been observed using their powerful beak as a third leg.
2 - There are around 376 species of parrot throughout the world, and macaws are the biggest of all of them. The largest species, such as the Hyacinth macaw, can span up to 3.5 feet in length, including a huge wingspan of around 4 to 5 feet.
3 - Macaws have a peculiar relationship with poison. Their diet mainly consists of fruits, seeds, leaves, flowers and nuts. Most species possess a large and extremely powerful beak which they use to open nut shells, including such foods as tough as coconuts. In the Amazon, macaws can be seen congregating at clay licks along riverbanks where they feed on the damp soil. There are various theories about why they do this. It may be a way for them to neutralize the assorted toxins in their fruit and seed-filled diet and to aid digestion. Others have highlighted that clay licks are a valuable source of minerals, particularly sodium which is hard for animals to obtain in the rainforest. Whilst macaws are apparently immune to the poisons found in many of their foods of choice (such as the seeds of Hura crepitans), they are thought to find cherries, avocados and chocolate poisonous.
4 - You will most likely hear a macaw before you see it. These birds are highly intelligent and gregarious creatures that – in the wild - congregate in flocks of anywhere between 30 and 100 individuals. Their loud calls, squawks and other distinctive vocalizations can be heard reverberating throughout the jungle, especially in the early morning. All this noise isn’t just for entertainment purposes. It’s used as a way to mark territory, communicate with the flock and identify partners.
5 - Macaws live to be around 60 years in the wild on average, and in some cases this can extend for up to 80 years and even as long as 100 years. In the wild, their long life span can be attributed to their relative lack of predators.
6 - Scientists have identified a total of 22 species of macaws. Of these, five are extinct (including the glaucus macaw and Spix’s macaw), three are critically endangered (the hyacinth macaws, red-fronted macaws and blue-throated macaws), four are listed as endangered, whilst all the rest are considered to be under threat. This pessimistic situation is largely a product of illegal trapping for the bird trade. Unfortunately, this birds species charisma and entertainment value has made them popular pets worldwide. Wild animals should never be kept as pets – it is selfish to have a wild animal as a pet.
7 - They have powerful beaks which can crack into seeds and hard nuts. Their tongues are scaly and dry which have a bone within to tap fruits.
8 - The toes of macaws are zygodactyl which means they are designed to have perfect grip to latch on to the fruits they eat and hang on to the branches. They do look pretty goofy when they try to walk on a flat surface, not their thing.
9 - Parrot feet are like human hands. They don’t just walk or perch on them. They can pick up objects with them and even pick up food and bring it to their mouths. That’s right. They can eat using their feet.
10 - No two macaws have same feather pattern on their face. It is somewhat like human fingerprints.
Come back next week for more exciting fun facts from SAASA and Birds of Eden here on Lets Go Big Tunes blog page