Okay, they’re not Amazonians. They are Macaws. But that’s okay, WC isn’t in the Amazon, anyway. More on that later. But WC is where the critically endangered Hyacinth Macaw and Blue and Yellow Macaw are still found in the wild. And pictures have been taken.
At 40 inches long, this is the Western Hemisphere’s biggest member of the parrot family and an absolute treat to see and hear . The Pantanal, a giant swamp in southwestern Brazil, is the best place on the planet to find wild Macaws.
A little smaller than their Hyacinth cousins at about 34 inches long, they are still big, noisy and beautiful. These two were preening each other, gripping bills and offering each other palm nuts. WC understands this to be serious courtship behavior among Psittiacidae. While they look big and gaudy, they blend into their surroundings quite well. And it was pretty damn exciting to find them. Loss of habitat and the cage bird trade have all of the parrot family, and especially the Macaws, in danger of extinction. In the Pantanal, a combination of unusual, seasonally flooded terrain, cooperative cattle ranchers and remoteness have so far preserved habitat and made the cage trade tough. We can be permitted to hope, WC thinks, that we won’t lose these astonishing birds.