Cuban Red Macaw

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image: cubanredmacaw.jpg

Common Name: Cuban Red Macaw
Scientific Name: Ara tricolor

Size: 45 inches (45-50 cm)

Habitat: North America;Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud.

Status: Extinct. Global Population: 0. The Cuban Red Macaw was fairly common around 1800. During the early 19th century, the human population in its home range increased dramatically, leading to widespread deforestation. The bird was also hunted for food, and nests were plundered or disturbed to acquire young birds to keep as pets. Until 1849, the species seems to have been able to hold its own at least in remote areas, but subsequently, the population crashed never to recover. Unconfirmed records suggest that birds persisted there until 1885.

Diet: Fruits and seed

Nesting: Monogamous and mate for life; 1-2 eggs.

Cool Facts: A pair of Cuban Red Macaws was kept in the royal menagerie of Schönbrunn Castle, Vienna, from 1760.

Macaws are known to eat clay, which is believed to work as an antidote to the poisonous seeds they eat. The chemicals in the clay mix with the poison allowing it to pass through the bird's digestive system without harming the bird.

On the basis of old descriptions, it has been proposed to treat the parrots from the latter island as a separate subspecies, since their bill is somewhat smaller and the bare parts of the face have a slightly different coloration. The latter feature is of little use, since the color of the cheeks of a parrot may change with its moods. A macaw which becomes aggressive or excited will start to 'blush'.

The last record of the Cuban Macaw was of a specimen shot on Cuba in 1864 at La Vega, in the neighborhood of Zapata Swamp. The species may have survived for another 20 years or so. Only 19 specimens of the Hispaniolan Macaw remain. They are in museums in New York, Washington, Havana, Tring, Paris and Vienna. The provenance of the Leiden specimen is unknown. It is simply labelled 'Cuba'. International trade in Macaws is illegal under the CITES agreement. Only captive born birds may be sold as pets



Found in Songbird ReMix Threatened Endangered Extinct 2

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