Brazil Trip Part Four: Hyacinth and Greenwing Macaws, with a bonus conure
One of the big highlights of my trip to Brazil was the group of Hyacinth Macaws that lived right by the lodge I stayed at. This was one parrot species I absolutely did not want to miss seeing. They are truly spectacular birds, and are the largest of all the flying parrots (the flightless Kakapo parrots of New Zealand are heavier).
Hyacinth Macaws can do just fine living alongside cattle ranches, as long as they have palm trees and manduvi trees available. The palm trees provide the food they need and the manduvi trees provide nesting sites.
Hyacinth Macaws primarily eat palm fruits, particularly those of the acuri palm tree. These fruits are very hard for them to open. However, cattle will sometimes eat palm fruits, but they cannot digest them completely. They can, however, digest off the outer coating of the palm fruits. When the fruits come out in the cattle manure, they are largely intact but are missing the very tough, smooth outer coating. Hyacinth Macaws will take these easier to open processed fruits, break them open and extract the nutritious meat on the inside.
After I spent some time in the Pantanal, I headed to a town in the same province called Bonito. Bonito is mainly known for its crystal clear rivers full of colorful fish. There is also a place there called “Buraco das Araras,” which means, “Hole of Macaws.” It’s basically a large sinkhole that was formed when an underground cave collapsed. It’s about 120 meters deep. Greenwing Macaws will nest in holes on the side of the cliffs there.
The last species of parrot I managed to photograph in Brazil was the Green-cheeked Conure. I saw a couple flocks of these while on a hike on a ranch near Bonito. However, they were really hard to get pictures of! They tended to land at the top of trees with very dense foliage. However, this one stood out on a branch for a little while, and I managed to snap his picture:
Next up: Pictures of non-parrot birds I photographed in Brazil!