Blue and gold macaws (Ara ararauna) are biggish parrots that come from South America. They are also frequently known as blue and yellow parrots, and as their monikers impart, are predominantly yellowish-golden and blue in plumage. Although many of these tropical creatures are kept as pets, many of them also reside in the wild, where predators are a prominent concern.
About Blue and Gold Macaws
Blue and gold macaws are intense in coloring with their combination of pale blue, deep blue, green and yellowish feathering. Their plumage helps them remain inconspicuous, as it allows them to mix in seamlessly with their sky and sun backdrops. Their eyes are yellow, their feet are dark and their beaks are grayish or black. Adult blue and gold macaws generally grow to between 34 and 36 inches in length, with weights of around 2.5 pounds. The genders are alike, size wise. They tend to have extremely long life expectancies. In nature, blue and gold macaws sometimes live for a maximum of 90 years. In captive environments, they can occasionally exceed a century in age. In terms of food, these macaws feed heavily on seeds, fruits, bark, foliage, plants and nuts. Their sturdy bills are convenient in the eating department, as they enable them to handily grate seeds.
Blue and gold macaws typically experience predation when they're busy flying. Fellow birds are a major culprit behind this. Some notable birds that go after flying blue and gold macaws are orange-breasted falcons (Falco deiroleucus), hawk eagles (Nisaetus cirrhatus) and harp eagles (Harpia harpyja).
Outside of the avian world, people are also common predators to blue and gold macaws. People go after these macaws namely for their striking plumage and flesh; the latter is sometimes used for food purposes. It also is common for humans to unlawfully retrieve them in order to sell them as pets.
Trees and Dodging Predators
Blue and gold macaws often establish nests in openings of trees. They tend to opt for trees that are particularly lofty -- a means of staying inconspicuous to any of their big predator threats. They also frequently retreat to the empty trunks of defunct trees. Blue and gold macaws are highly cautious birds. If they suspect even a mere hint of impending peril, they immediately fly up, all the while squawking persistently and noisily.
- BirdChannel.com: Top 10 Pet Macaw Parrot Questions Answered
- Five Sisters Zoo: Blue and Gold Macaw
- Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo: Blue & Gold Macaw
- SeaWorld Animal Bytes: Blue & Gold Macaw
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Ara Ararauna
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Ara Ararauna
- Oregon Zoo: Blue and Gold Macaw
- Oakland Zoo: Blue and Yellow Macaw