Video of the Day
The parrots of Mexico's rain forests have a variety of similarities. They're vegetarians, dining on fruits, nuts, berries, flowers and seeds, and they're very social. Unlike some of Mexico's other parrots, these parrots aren't endangered or threatened, but their numbers are declining from habitat loss and human trapping for the pet industry.
The area between a bird's eye and bill on the side of his head is called the lore. It's easy to understand where this guy got his name; his red forehead and lore accent mostly green plumage. He's about 13 inches long, head to tail, with a large head and short neck. The red-lored parrot prefers life in the trees of Mexico's rain forests. Whether in the wild or in captivity, this fellow can expect a life span of about 30 years. He tends to stick close to home, enjoying the company of his flock. If he's not eating or sleeping, chances are he'll be making some noise. This is an intelligent bird; in captivity he makes a good mimic. In addition to humans, snakes and monkeys also are potential predators.
This big, beautiful fellow is found high in the canopies of southern Mexico's rain forests. The scarlet macaw is a big guy, reaching just shy of 3 feet long, however 1/3 to 1/2 of his length is from his tail. He's brightly colored, sporting bright red feathers, with yellow bands and blue wing tips. This is a faithful bird, mating for life, which can be around 40 years in the wild and up to 60 years in captivity. Not only is he vocal, but he also communicates with a variety of postures, including when he preens his mate. Toucans, monkeys, snakes and other large animals are the scarlet macaw's predators.
The mealy parrot can reach 15 to 16 inches and isn't a very vibrantly colored bird. He's mostly green, with bluish feathers on his head, neck and shoulders. He likes humid rain forests in the lowlands, but he'll also live in wooded areas in savannas. This guy's wild life span isn't known, but in captivity, he can expect to live between 50 and 100 years, so if you're interested in one of these birds, consider his longevity when you take him home. The mealy parrot makes conversation with a variety of calls, whistles and squawks. Hawks, monkeys and snakes are his natural predators.
The military macaw is small for a macaw, measuring about 28 inches, beak to tail. Like other parrots, he's a vegetarian, eating berries, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables. He's mostly green in color with a white face and red feathers above his beak and tail. This fellow nests in treetops in rain forests as well as arid woodlands. He keeps with his flock, chattering his parrot talk. In captivity he can reach 70 or 80 years of age, a bit longer than his 60 year life expectancy in the wild.
Other Parrots of Mexico
Mexico hosts 22 species of parrots, though a great number of them don't live in the rain forests, including four popular species for the pet trade: the white-fronted parrot, the lilac-crowned parrot, the orange-fronted parakeet and the Mexican parrotlet. No matter whether the bird is endangered or whether the rain forest is his home, all of the country's parrots are vulnerable to habitat loss and human trapping. Birdlife.org estimates as many as 60,000 parrots perish annually in transit from Mexico to other countries.
- Defenders of Wildlife: The Illegal Parrot Trade in Mexico. A Comprehensive Assessment
- Animal Diversity Web: Ara macao -- Scarlet Macaw
- Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens: Military Macaw
- Animal Diversity Web: Amazona autumnalis -- Red-Lored Aarrot
- Animal Diversity Web: Amazona farinosa -- Mealy Parrot
- Birdlife International: The Illegal Parrot Trade Remains a Problem in Latin America
- Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images