Whether by their size, exuberant colours, or intelligence, the birds of the Psittacidae family – macaws, parakeets and parrots – are iconic and much admired
Brazil is the country that has the greatest wealth of parrots in the world with 87 species. In fact, in Brazil’s first official document, the famous letter from Pero Vaz de Caminha, there are some mentions of macaws (only in these we have mostly red representatives) and parrots [“(…) red parrots, very large and beautiful , and two little greens (…) ”]. In addition, in the maritime maps of the time shortly after the discovery, the Brazilian territory was identified as “Brasilia sive Terra Papagalli” (Brasilia or Parrotland).
At Mamirauá Reserve there are 19 species, the most easily seen – and heard – the Tui Parakeet (Brotogeris sanctithomae), the Orange-winged Parrot (Graydidascalus brachyurus) and the Festive Parrot (Amazona festiva – best name ever! 🎉). The latter is endemic to this environment, and Uakari Lodge is a great place to visit if your goal is to check the list on this species. Among the macaws, Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is the one we see most in the area, making it easy to hear them vocalizing and then locating them across the sky to couples, with luckier stops are seen feeding on fruits and seeds.
Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)
Parrots suffer a lot from deforestation (mainly from the loss of places to make nests, since most species use tree hollows), and from illegal trade. Due to these and other threats we have in Brazil two species considered extinct in nature, Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) and Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus). You can engage in the efforts to conserve parrots, not buying animals from the illegal trade and even through your travels! Ecotourism contributes to the conservation of these birds and many other species, as it allows lovers of nature to observe animals protected in their natural environment.
Cover image: Adam Preiss
Article text and images: Cynthia Lebrão