There are twelve macaws in the Ara genus. Macaws are very distinctive birds, and possibly the best known, with their distinctive screeching call, sharp hooked beak, colourful plumage, very long tails and naked area around the eyes and cheeks. They are seen in most zoos, bird collections and anywhere else exotic wildlife is likely to be found. The species or the genus Ara are social birds which in the wild iive in flocks of 40 to 50 individuals composed by family groups of two to four animals.
They form pairs, and this social structure is kept when big flocks of hundreds of individuals are constituted. The species of the Ara genus vary greatly in size and colour with all of them having a similar body shape. Ara macaws have long tail feathers and large, broad heads with beaks that are extensive and strong. The most noticeable taxonomic feature of these birds is the area of bare skin on either side of the face. These bare patches can be completely bare or be covered in rows of small facial feathers surrounding the eyes. These markings vary between each macaw species.
Listen to the sound of Blue-throated Macaw
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
recorded by A. Bennett Hennessey
|wingspan min.:||0||cm||wingspan max.:||0||cm|
|size min.:||85||cm||size max.:||90||cm|
|incubation min.:||26||days||incubation max.:||28||days|
|fledging min.:||90||days||fledging max.:||93||days|
Video Blue-throated Macaw
copyright: Josep del Hoyo
It was severely threatened in the past by illegal exploitation for the national and international cage-bird trade, although this has been radically reduced since 2000. All known sites are on private cattle-ranches, where burning and clearing for pasture and tree-felling for fuel have reduced the number of suitable nest trees and inhibited palm regeneration. However, cattle-rearing has occurred in the region since the 17th century, and nest-site availability is not currently thought to be limiting. Nevertheless, nest-site competition from other macaws, toucans and large woodpeckers is significant. Indiscriminate hunting to provide feathers for indigenous head-dresses probably has a small impact in some areas and small scale random hunting to provide meat for baiting fish hooks may occur. There are fears that inbreeding within an increasingly fragmented population is resulting in reduced fertility. The Bolivian endemic Blue-throated Macaw is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. This species was thought to be extinct in the wild, but new individuals were observed in the international pet trade, leading to the realization that a wild population must exist. In 1992 the Blue-throated Macaw was indeed discovered to still remain in a distant area of Beni Department, Bolivia. Initially the population was estimated to be only 50 birds but recent surveys have estimated that 300 birds are remaining and they are found in a more extensive area than previously thought.