Macaws are large colourful parrots native to Mexico, Central and Tropical South America. They are widespread in the Brazilian rain forests.
- Macaws are the largest birds in the parrot family in length and wingspan
- They have four toes, two front and two back
- Macaws eat nuts and fruit. They also gnaw and chew on various objects
- They show a large amount of intelligence in their behaviour and require constant intellectual stimulation to satisfy their innate curiosity
- Macaws have been said to live for up to 100 years; however, an average of 50 years is probably more accurate. The larger macaws may live up to 65 years
- They are monogamous and mate for life. In captivity unmated macaws will bond primarily with one person – their keeper
- All species of macaws have very powerful, large beaks and are capable of causing considerable harm to both children and adults
- They tend to be extremely loud: their voices are designed to carry over long distances
- Macaws are known to eat clay as an antidote to the poisonous seeds they eat. Scientists have found out that the chemicals in clay mix with the poison allowing it to pass through the bird’s digestive system leaving them unharmed
The majority of macaws are now endangered in the wild. Five species are already extinct, and Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spiscii) is now considered to be extinct in the wild but still has a few representatives in captivity. The Glaucous Macaw is also probably extinct, with only two reliable records of sightings in the 20th century. The greatest problems threatening the macaw population are the rapid rate of deforestation and the illegal trapping of birds for the bird trade.