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Amazon Rainforest Parrots

The Amazon is home to many different parrots like the famed macaws, parrotlets, and parakeets. Parrots are grouped in the order Psittaciformes and can be identified by their upright stance, usually colorful feathers, and a strong curved bill.

Although there are some specialists that feed on different things, the majority of parrots eat fruits and seeds, and occasionally eat insects. They are a favorite sight for Amazon Rainforest tourists and entire tourism operations revolve around sighting these colorful birds.

Blue Headed Parrot

Blue headed parrots (Pionus menstruus) are another frequently seen guest at clay licks along with the dusky headed parrots above. Blue headed parrots share a similar diet of seeds and forest fruits. They can be easily distinguished from other similar sized parrots by their characteristic blue head and neck feathers.

Dusky Billed Parrotlet

The term parrotlet is used to describe the smallest parrots of the New World. A small parrot, dusky billed parrotlets (Forpus modestus) populations remain stable over most of the their large range, which includes the Ecuadorian, Colombian, Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon. They are also found in Venezuelan forests as well as east and west Brazil, but are absent from the central Brazilian Amazon.

Dusky Headed Parakeet

Dusky Headed Parakeet
Photo by Félix Uribe on Flickr

Dusky Headed Parakeets (Aratinga weddellii) are commonly seen in the Amazon region and occupy a very large range. They flock in quite large numbers and feed on seeds and fruit. These birds are also one of the most frequently seen parrots at clay licks where various animals gather to eat clay, which detoxifies food times they have eaten in the forest.

Short Tailed Parrot

Short tailed parrots (Graydidascalus brachyurus) are a rarer sight than the others on this page. They are the only species in their genus and inhabit areas near water feeding on different canopy fruit. Unusually for Amazon wildlife, this species is more common in the eastern parts of its range and less common in the western Amazon.

Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw
Photo by Christopher Gabbard on Flickr

Saving the most well known parrot for last, the scarlet macaw (Ara macao) is a symbol of the Amazon Rainforest. Its colorful plumage has threatened the birds in the past as people want them as pets, but this has been controlled and these macaws are now classed as least concern by the IUCN. Scarlet macaws are found throughout the Amazon Rainforest and tropical forests in Central America. They feed on fruits, seeds, flowers and occasionally eat insects.

One of the best places to see these birds is the Tambopata Research Center near Puerto Maldonado in south Peru where you can enjoy tours of the largest macaw clay lick in South America.

One of the Amazon’s most remote lodges, you will share the lodge with researchers investigating one of the largest macaw clay-licks in the rainforest. Hundreds of colorful macaw parrots gather at the lick providing you with fantastic wildlife displays. Monkeys and other wildlife are often visible from the lodge as you relax after exploring five different Amazon habitats and activities from jungle mountain biking and kayaking to aiding in macaw research.

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