Animal Update: Macaw-esome Pair in Upland Tropical Rain Forest

Next time you visit, keep your eyes peeled for the Aquarium’s two new residents—a blue and gold macaw and a scarlet macaw!

Published August 23, 2019

There are 19 species of macaws, primarily hailing from Central and South America. The blue and gold macaw can be found in Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama and Paraguay. The scarlet macaw can be found throughout the Amazon River basin, from Peru to Bolivia, and in parts of Mexico, Panama, Guatemala and Belize.

Blue and gold macaw

Both species have unique adaptations suited to their native habitat. Among the more bizarre is a high-powered beak which holds a dry, scaly tongue with a bone in it—perfect for cracking open the tropical tree nuts that make up a good portion of a macaw’s diet!

The scarlet macaw is immediately recognizable for its intense red, gold, blue and green coloring. This is what is known as ‘disruptive coloration’, and it helps the macaws in flocks confuse predators. When the flock takes off, the bold colors create visual noise that obscures individual birds…where does one macaw begin and one end?

Scarlet macaw

You may notice that the macaws in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest habitat spend a lot of time together. They are what’s known as a “pair-bond.” Pair-bonded macaws take care of one another—assisting with grooming and feeding, and generally keeping one another company.

The two new macaws at the Aquarium are both male and pair-bonded! (Cue the awwws.)

Don’t forget to stop by the Rain Forest on your next trip to visit our new residents!

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