An instant with the Military Macaw

Grupo de tres Guacamayas sobre un tronco seco con bosque al fondo
Grupo de guacamayas verdes (Ara militaris), vereda Tierra Grata. Foto: Jose Luis Ropero.

To walk through the woods of Manaure, in the mountains of Perijá, is to delight in the spectacle of its biodiversity and marvel about how this territory guards creatures that have disappeared in other places. One of those cases is that of the Military Macaw, scientifically known as Ara militaris. It has been classified under the conservation category of «Vulnerable» for Colombian enviromental authorities and the «Red Book of the Birds of Colombia» due to the loss of dry forest along the Magdalena river basin. This situation places the species at significative risk of disappeareance in many areas.

At the moment, important populations of this species remain in Magdalena valley and Perija mountains, in that last area it is specially outstanding the valley of the Manaure river, where birders can see big flocks of more than 40 individuals and to listen their loud calls issued on the fly or from high Caracolí trees, where the macaws use to perch and call at dawn.

Calls of the Military Macaw. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Physically, the bird is characterized for a green plumage that covers all its body, with blue edges in the wings and tail, a strong black bill and a big red front, all of which makes it very different from other macaws that may inhabit the same area. It is distributed along the tropical Americas, with isolated populations in the andean valleys of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico.

The vocalization of the Military Macaw is quite simple but frequent and powerful. The bird is a monogamous species who lays two or three eggs by nesting season. Its chicks stay around a year in the nest. When they are adults can reach up to 70 cm and weight more than 1 kg.

Guacamaya posada sobre un tronco seco con bosque al fondo
The Military Macaw (Ara militaris), vereda Tierra Grata. foto: Jose Luis Ropero.

During the 2020 Christmas Bird Count, the Military Macaws gave us beatiful sights, and fortunately i took two photos you can see in this post.

We saw this bird during the 121th Christmas Bird Count of Audubon Society in the Perijá Mountains. If you would like to volunteer in our local community and activities, or go birding in Colombia, please contact us at turismo@roperoaventuras


You can support our ecologist initiative PROYECTO ECOJUGANDO, follow this link: DONATIONS. Thanks a lot.

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Por Jose Luis Ropero

Guía de aviturismo residente en Valledupar, Colombia. Autor del blog y fundador de la comunidad ecologista Proyecto Ecojugando.

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