Conservation Land Trust, Center for Applied Coastal Ecology (CECOAL - CONICET), Zoo La Plata, Department of Natural Resources under the Ministry of Tourism, EcoBolivia NGO, Catherine Soos (University of Guelph, Ontario), Laurel Neufeld (biology undergraduate), Charles Munn
Populations decreasing, restoration work now underway to boost species
The Red-and-green Macaw, or Ara chloropterus, is losing ground in the wild due to exploitation by humans, and habitat alteration.
Progress and outcomes: In 1995 and 1996 the Canadian World Parrot Trust supported the NGO EcoBolivia to study the habits of Red-and-green, Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet, Blue-throated and Hyacinth Macaws in Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
Focus of future work: In 2013 Dr. Igor Berkunsky and other WPT staff began working with the Red-and-green Macaw Recovery Project, a part of a re-wilding program sponsored by the Conservation Land Trust (CLT). Since 2005 the CLT has been working with the government of Corrientes, wildlife authorities and other provinces, scientists, NGOs, zoos, businesses and individuals to restore much of the region's native fauna. The project has a dual purpose to restore the area's original ecosystem, and to ensure its sustainability and protection by promoting eco-tourism.
The Red-and-green Macaw project's goals are:
- Build a network of zoos and breeders in Argentina to provide individual macaws to be released to the wild
- Build an aviary for hold the birds prior to release
- Train the birds to recognize local foods, predators and habitat
- Reintroduce the birds to the wild
- Equip a field station in N Corrientes to continue to study wild macaws
The project aims to restore a sustainable population of at least 50 macaws in the first four years in the species' historic range in the Reserva Provincial del Ibera, Corrientes province, Argentina. With WPT support, Red-and-green macaws were released in 2015 in NE Argentina and their success is being monitored.
With your help we can complete these important tasks to better understand the species, and continue to deliver effective solutions to further their conservation.
Wild population: Unknown, decreasing
Where found: E Panama and South America south to N Argentina. Formerly west to Caribbean slope; tropical zone of Colombia; lowland Venezuela; interior of Guianas; throughout Amazon basin of Brazil, eastern Ecuador, Peru and NE Bolivia. In Brazil, Mato Grosso and western Sao Paulo. Northern and eastern areas of Paraguay.
History: The Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloropterus) is found at various latitudes in E Panama and South America south to N Argentina. The global population size of the Red-and-green Macaw has not been determined, but it is suspected to be in decline due to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation. These macaws also need large trees for nesting, and the trees are disappearing.
- Ongoing habitat destruction
- Unsustainable trapping for wild bird trade
- Persecution as pests or for feathers for ceremonial use
Ecology: The Red-and-green Macaw is found in rainforest in the north of its range, in the south more dry, open areas including floodplain forest, upland forest and dry woodland. They are found up to 1000m (3280 ft) in Panama, 500m (1640 ft) in Colombia, 1400m (4592 ft) in Venezuela. Their diet includes fruits and seeds of various plants and trees. Birds forage for food in the rainforest canopy and nest in large tree cavities but also crevices in cliff faces. They are generally found in pairs or small flocks; less inclined to large congregations like the Scarlet Macaw, but will associate with these and Blue-and-yellow Macaws.