macaw


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parrot

parrot, common name for members of the order Psittaciformes, comprising nearly 400 species of colorful birds, pantropical in distribution, including the parakeets. Parrots have large heads and short necks, strong feet with two toes in front and two in back (facilitating climbing and grasping), and strong, thick bills, with the larger hooked upper mandible hinged to the bones of the head. They are arboreal, typically feeding (depending on the species) on seeds, fruits, nectar, pollen, and arthropods, but a few species, such as the kea (Nestor notabilis) of New Zealand, will prey on birds and animals. Parrots are notable for their intelligence, with a number of species known to have toolmaking, puzzle-solving, or number skills. They feed their young by regurgitation, and they have swellings (ceres) at the base of the nostrils.

Usually their voices are harsh, but the thick, fleshy tongue and special voice apparatus permit a wide range of articulations, and some species can be taught to imitate the human voice. The best mimics are the African gray parrots, Psittacus erithacus, and the Amazons, genus Amazona. In size parrots range from the 31-2-in. (8.7-cm) pygmy parrot of the South Pacific to the 40-in. (100-cm) hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) of South America, while in build they vary from the stocky lovebirds, e.g., the yellow-collared, or masked, lovebird (Agapornis personata), to the slender lories, e.g., the purple-naped lory (Lorius domicella) and the cockatoo. The flightless kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) of New Zealand is the heaviest, weighing up to 9 lb (4 kg), and one of the longest lived, with a lifespan of up to 120 years. The plumage is typically brilliant, the bodies solid green, yellow, red, white, or black with contrasting red, yellow, or blue on the head, wings, and tail.

The cockatoos, crested parrots native to the Australian region, may be pink, white with yellow or scarlet crests, or dark-plumaged, like the great black, or palm, cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus. They eat insects and are also able to crack extremely hard nuts. The smaller cockatiels are gray with yellow heads. The large, long-tailed macaws are found in the rain forests of Central and South America. The species are named for their gaudy colors, e.g., the scarlet (Ara macao), blue-and-yellow (A. ararauna), and red-and-green, or green-winged, macaws (A. chloropterus). In captivity adult macaws may be vicious. In the wild they travel in pairs. The small Old World parrots known as lovebirds are so named for the apparent fondness of the mates for one another. The Australasian lories and the smaller lorikeets feed on fruits and nectar.

Parrots are popular as cage birds, but they require intellectual stimulation, and many species can become aggressive as they mature if improperly raised. Care also should be exercised by selecting birds with known histories, since even apparently healthy birds may be carriers of infectious psittacosis, or parrot fever. Captive parrots that have been released or escaped have become established and even invasive in some areas, such as the monk parakeet in New York City, peach-faced lovebirds in Arizona, and a number of species in S California.

Parrots are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Psittaciformes, superfamilies Psittacoidea, Cacatuoidea, and Strigopoidea.

Bibliography

See study by J. M. Corshaw (1973).

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macaw

[mə′kȯ]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for large South and Central American parrots of the genus Ara and related genera; individuals are brilliantly colored with a long tail, a hooked bill, and a naked area around the eyes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

macaw

any large tropical American parrot of the genera Ara and Anodorhynchus, having a long tail and brilliant plumage
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Nomaan Mohammed with Karishma (left) and Kareena (Right), his macaws Image Credit: Supplied Also in this package
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Caption: Scarlet macaws. Powerful beaks let macaws crack open nuts and seeds.
Tom Wills, associate in Sintons' Real Estate department, has worked with MACAW for a number of years.
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The Blue-and-Yellow Macaw is yet common in undisturbed areas (Gilardi and Munn, 1998), and cited as the most tolerant macaw to human presence (Ridgely and Greenfield, 2001).
Rio 2 picks up the story of two specimens of the critically endangered Spix's macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) in Rio.
According to him, the yellow and blue macaws from the Netherlands are the most beautiful and intelligent among pet birds.
Dubai: Two small pythons, a few green iguanas, a wild cat with her kittens, a turtle and a couple of exotic macaws are among many other species on display at the 20-day Ramadan and Eid Fair 2013 being held until August 10 at the Sharjah Expo Centre.
Washington, May 14 ( ANI ): Researchers at Texas A and M University have successfully sequenced the complete genome of a Scarlet macaw for the first time.
Summary: Dhaka: A Bangladeshi court ruled that a lovesick macaw parrot be reunited with her male ...
The tropical military macaw (Ara militaris) is distributed from Sonora to southern Mexico.