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All About Birds
Scarlet Macaw
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The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is a large type of parrot that is found in tropical rain forests of Central and South America, including Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. It lives in the canopy (the tree leaves) and emergent layer (the tops of the very highest trees) of the rainforest. Scarlet Macaws are an endangered species due to their capture as pets, and loss of habitat.

These noisy, magnificent birds can fly at speeds up to 35 miles per hour (56 kph), often flying in pairs or small flocks. In captivity, Scarlet Macaws have a life span of up to 80 years.

Anatomy: The Scarlet Macaw is about 35 inches (90 cm) long. The feathers are bright red with bits of yellow, orange and blue on the wings. The bill is very curved. The feet are zygodactylous; the 2 outer toes point backwards and grip in opposition to the 2 forward-pointing toes. Males and females are similar in appearance.

Diet: Scarlet Macaws eat fruit, seeds, and nuts. Like other parrots, they are seed predators; they destroy the seeds that they eat and do not disperse them. Some macaws are sometimes seen eating clay from river banks.

Eggs and Nests: Macaws nest in holes located high in deciduous trees. Females lay 2 plain white eggs in each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time). Both parents incubate the eggs. The young stay with the parents for up to 2 years.

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