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 Military Macaw
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
recorded by Sebastian K. Herzog
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Video Military Macaw
Habitat loss and especially domestic trade are the chief threats, even within reserves. In 1991-1995, 96 wild-caught specimens were found in international trade, with Bolivia and Mexico possibly the most significant exporters. In Mexico, it is still one of the most sought-after species in the illegal cagebird trade; in 1995-2005, it was the fifth most seized Mexican Psittacine species by the country’s Environmental Enforcement Agency, becoming the fourth most seized Psittacine species in 2007-2010. In many areas it nests in relatively inaccessible cavities on cliff walls, which provides some protection against the pressures of nest poaching. However, nest poaching is a severe threat in Jalisco and Nayarit where the species nests in tree cavities. In Jalisco, Mexico, macaws were not found in deforested areas, even where abundant Hura polyandra (an important food source) were left as shade for cattle. One sub-population in the Cauca valley, Colombia, numbering fewer than 50 mature individuals, may shortly be lost as a dam is expected to flood the sole nesting cliff.