Common Name : Great Green Macaw, Buffon's Macaw, or Great Military Macaw
Genus & Species: Ara ambiguus
Family: Psittacidae
Order: Psittaformes
Class: Aves
Phylum: Chordata

Kingdom: Animalia

Range and Abundance: E. Honduras to NW Columbia and W. Ecudor. Wide range over Carribean slope. Uncommon.It was reported at La Selva on December 19, 2009 that 131 individuals had been seen in and around the La Selva border. On our trip, John and I saw a pair of macaws flying over our heads into their Almendro tree (Dipteryx panamensis) where they were nesting. The tree was growing in an open pasture, among other trees inhabited by red-lored parrots (Amazona autumnalis) and an unidentified species of parakeets.IMG_5407.JPG

Coloration and Morphology: green with red forehead and olive tail, rump. Blue remiges. shorter tail than Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) . White facial skin crossed by lines of red and black feathers. Black bill.

Habitat: canopy of humid lowland forest. Particularly likes the comfort of an Almendro tree (Dipteryx panamensis).

Ecology: relies on certain trees for fruit, found niche but often requires long travel for food or roosting sites. Interacts with the Almendro tree's epiphytes for drinking water. In essence, the tree provides shelter, food, and water for the birds.

Behavior: often flies long distances to feeding trees, usually in small flocks (up to 15), calls freely in flight, more often seen with another individual than alone

Diet: fruit of leguminous tree Dipteryx panamensis

Other Species that interact with Great Green: Humans capture young great greens for illegal animal export, pet trade, and to be put on exhibit at zoos. Humans are also breeding the birds in captivity as to maintain populations and genetic variation. Birds of prey can locate macaws since their colors are so bright but their ability to fly helps them avoid most land predatorsIMG_6849_-_Copy.JPG.

Common Name
: Scarlet Macaw
Genus & Species: Ara MacaoIMG_5374.JPG
Family: Psittacidae
Order: Psittaciformes
Class: Aves
Phylum: Chordata
Kingdom: Animalia

Range and Abundance: S. Mexico to Peru, Bolivia, and Eastern Brazil. Located throughout Neotropics but very rare in Costa Rica, Belize, and the Guiana Shield. Was once abundant in 1900s in Carrbean but gone by 1950s. Still common over most of Pacific slope.

Coloration and Morphology: mostly red, with blue remiges and yellow patches on wings, long tail. Unmistakable brilliant colors. Powerful bill. Pinkish white facial skin.

Habitat: dwells in solid or patchy deciduous evergreen forests, feeds in canopy. At La Selva, only eight individuals were reported on the December 19, 2009 bird list. We saw a pair flying out of a large tree on the riverbank of the Sarapiqui River.

Ecology: sometimes makes nests in old woodpecker holes in the soft wood. Rely on clay deposits for nutrients in dry season. Often flock by the thousand to clay canyons to feed and socialize
IMG_6661.JPGduring dry season. Have developed a lookout system to guard flocks against avian predators by signaling when to fly away.

Behavior: in pairs or family groups of 3-4, sometimes flock 25+, up to 50 in communal roosts in tall trees or mangroves. Lay 1 or 2 eggs during the dry season. Flies steadily. Noisy in flight, silent when feeding.

Diet: fruits and nuts, palms

Other Species that interact with Ara macao : Humans trap them and export them for pet trade, illegal animal trade, and to zoos. Birds of prey can easily locate macaws since they are so brilliantly colored.

Other species seen at La Selva:
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Aratinga finschi -- Crimson-fronted Parakeet
A. nana -- Olive-throated Parakeet
Brotogeris jugularis -- Orange-chinned Parakeet
Pionopsitta haematotis -- Brown-hooded Parrot
Pionus senilis -- White-crowned Parrot
Amazona autumnalis -- Red-lored Parrot
A. farinosa -- Mealy Parrot

A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Stiles, Gary & Skutch, Alexander. 1989.