STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
RANGE: South America
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
Blue and gold macaws can be identified by their bright blue, green, and yellow plumage. The bright coloration allows them to blend into the canopies of the South American rainforests. They have large, powerful beaks that allow them to crack open nuts and seeds. They also have a tongue with a bone inside that allows them to clean out fruits. Their four toes on each foot allow them to grip branches easily without slipping. These birds can range from 11 to 40 inches tall, weigh between half a pound and three and a half pounds, and have a wingspan of forty to forty-four inches. Even though they are large birds, they can fly easily through the trees.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
Macaws can live up to sixty years in the wild. They are extremely social birds that form flocks of ten to thirty birds. The size of the flock gives them protection from predators. Macaws remain in their flock while looking for food, which usually occurs in the morning and afternoon before deciding where to roost for the night. They use a vast selection of vocal calls to establish territory and communicate with others in the group. Macaws will often bathe and play in water. They also gather things that can be used as tools and sometimes objects to play with.
Macaws typically mate for life. They reach sexual maturity between three to four years of age. The breeding season is the beginning of the year, though they typically breed every other year. Macaws use nests or cavities made by other animals that are found high in trees to reproduce. The females will lay two to three eggs and incubate them for about twenty-six days. The hatchlings are born blind and featherless, but after about ten days, they begin growing feathers. Both parents protect young birds until they are approximately three months old and become independent.
Macaws are found throughout subtropical and tropical forests, woodlands, and savannas in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, and Paraguay. They can also be found in Mexico.
Blue and gold macaws are found mainly in rainforests and swampy areas. They nest and roost high in trees to avoid predators, which include harpy eagles, hawk eagles, orange-breasted falcons, and humans. The blue and gold macaws play a big part in seed dispersal in their environment.
Blue and gold macaws eat a variety of seeds, plant material, fruits, and nuts.