Is there room for me?
Southern Pantanal, Brazil
This magnificent bird is the largest (and arguably most stunning) of the world’s parrots, measuring up to a metre in length. They are extremely vocal birds with a raucous screech, and very sociable with a great sense of fun. It is also an endangered species – it is thought that just 6,500 birds remain in Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northern Paraguay. However, they are relatively abundant in the Pantanal and we certainly saw – and heard - a great number! They favoured a particular palm tree for roosting, in the grounds of one of the lodges we stayed in, and it was quite awesome to see and hear them as night descended and they came flying back in great numbers to their ‘bedroom’! The sound of their screeching was incredible as they argued and jostled for the best branch. This continued for about half an hour and then… the clamour just stopped and all was quiet again.
Their bills are extremely strong, and used for cracking nuts – even coconuts. Their diet consists mostly of the hard fruit from palm trees – mostly the Acuri and Bocaiuva. They find Acuri nuts , however, too hard for even their powerful bills and can only eat them after they have passed through the digestive systems of cattle.
The Hyacinth Macaw relies on the Toucan for the continuance of the species since it is is a major disperser of the seeds of the Manduvi tree, which is where the Hyacinth makes its nest. However, the Toucan is responsible for predating many of their chicks – a rather strange form of symbiosis.