Range: Eastern Panama (in Central America) to tropical South America
Habitat: Forests, woodlands, swamps, savannas
Conservation Status: Common
Scientific Name: Ara ararauna
Imagine seeing a whole flock of these brightly-colored birds as they fly through a tropical jungle. Macaws are highly social and like to gather in large flocks. Their loud, shrill calls can be heard over long distances.
The macaw uses its sturdy, curved bill for a number of purposes. Since the bird can move both its upper and lower beak (a rarity in the bird world), it has plenty of leverage to crack even the hardest nuts and seeds. The beak is also dexterous enough to peel a grape and manipulate objects, plus it comes in handy for holding food while the bird eats. (Did you know a macaw can be left- or right-footed?) Finally, the bird can use its beak as a “third foot” when it climbs tree branches.
Like its Scarlet Macaw “cousin,” the blue-and-yellow macaw is a very smart bird. But its ability to imitate sounds is not as highly developed as it is in some other members of the parrot family.