2 Types of Macaws in Costa Rica

Types of Macaws in Costa Rica
Photo by Maurice Smeets

There are only two types of macaws in costa Rica out of the 17 species of macaws that live in Central and South America; these two species are the Scarlet Macaw and the Great Green Macaw.

Macaws are the largest members of the parrot family, and their eye-catching colors and size make them nearly impossible to miss when they are in the air.

Despite the stunning appearance of their feathers, it is possible to identify these birds, frequently even before you see them, by the high-pitched, unmistakable squawk they give off.

Even though these types of macaws in costa Rica belong to the same family, it is quite uncommon to encounter both at the same time.

The Great Green Macaw prefers to live in the Caribbean, while the somewhat smaller Scarlet Macaw is more prevalent on the Pacific coast.

Macaws, known as lapas in Costa Rica, have huge, sharp beaks capable of expelling a tremendous amount of pressure, and their tongues are scaled and boned, which helps them get inside the tough nuts and seeds that are found all across Costa Rica.

They are gregarious birds and frequently roost and feed in huge groups. They are able to travel between the branches thanks to the unusual characteristics of their toes.

Even though they are monogamous, there is evidence that throughout the course of their 80-year lives, the birds occasionally switch partners.

In a given season, a pair may deposit little more than a few eggs in preexisting cavities in the bark of trees. After roughly 105 days from the time they hatched, the young will have adult plumage and be ready to leave the nest.

The Two Types of Macaws in Costa Rica:

1. Great Green Macaw

The great green macaw (Ara ambiguus), sometimes known as Buffon’s macaw or the great military macaw, is a parrot native to Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador.

The big green macaw prefers dry forest remains on Ecuador’s southern Pacific coast. These types of macaws in costa Rica reside in the canopy of moist tropical forests and are commonly linked with the almendro tree in Costa Rica.

Great green macaws are the largest parrots in their natural area, the second heaviest macaw species (despite being shorter tailed than other large macaws such as the red-and-green macaw and so slightly shorter), and the third heaviest parrot species in the world.

This species is 85-90 cm (33.5-35.5 in) long and weighs 1.3 kilograms (2.9 lb). They are mostly green with a reddish brow and pale blue lower back, rump, and upper tail feathers.

The tail is brownish-red with a very faint blue tip. Lines of little dark feathers pattern the naked facial skin, which is reddish in older and female parrots. Juveniles have grey eyes instead of black, are duller in color, and have shorter tails with yellow tips.

Where their ranges overlap, the great green macaw seems superficially similar and readily confused with the military macaw.

The great green macaw lives in tropical forests in Central America’s Atlantic wet lowlands from Honduras to Panama and Colombia and in South America’s Pacific coastal lowlands in Panama, where you can also find it in deciduous (seasonal), dry tropical woods.

These types of macaws in costa Rica favor wetter habitats than the nearly related military macaw. Costa Rica’s breeding habitat is a non-seasonal, evergreen rainforest with rain for ten months of the year, precipitation ranging from 1,500 to 3,500 mm per year, and an average temperature of 27 °C all year.

In the wild, These types of macaws in costa Rica eat a wide variety of items, including seeds, nuts, and fruits, as well as flowers, bulbs, roots, and bark.

2. Scarlet Macaw

The scarlet macaw is the second mention in our compilation of types of macaws in Costa Rica. The scarlet macaw (Ara Macao) is a big red, yellow, and blue Central and South American parrot that belongs to the macaw family of Neotropical parrots. It is native to the Neotropics’ humid evergreen woods.

The scarlet macaw has gone extinct in some locations due to habitat degradation or capture for the parrot trade, but it is still reasonably abundant in others. It is Honduras’ national bird.

The scarlet macaw, like its relative, the blue-and-yellow macaw, is a popular bird in aviculture due to its eye-catching coloring.

It is roughly 81 cm (32 in) long, with more than half of that length made up of the pointed, graded tail that all macaws have, albeit the scarlet macaw has a higher percentage of tail than the other large macaws.

The typical weight is approximately 1 kilogram (2 lb 3 oz). The plumage is mostly scarlet, but the rump and tail-covert feathers are light blues, and the greater upper wing coverts are yellow.

The upper sides of the wing flight feathers and tail feathers are dark blue, and the undersides of the wing and tail flight feathers are dark red with metallic gold iridescence. Some individuals’ wings may be green.

These types of macaws in costa Rica call for their groups with very loud, high, and sometimes low-pitched, throaty squawks, squeaks, and screams that can travel many kilometers.

Scarlet macaws in the wild eat fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, and nectar. They also enjoy eating insects and larvae. They also eat a lot of bugs, snails, and leaves. Snails and bugs are excellent protein sources since they require extra protein during breeding seasons.

The scarlet macaw can survive in captivity for up to 75 or even 90 years, while the average lifespan is 40 to 50 years.

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