The largest macaw species is the hyacinth hyacinth (Anodorhynchus hiacinthinus). It’s also a close relative to the smaller Lear macaw. Both species possess the strongest beaks of the Psittacidae true parrot family, capable of breaking open large fruits from different palm trees.
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According to a study published by
The Diversity in January gives them a prominent role in dispersing seeds of at least 18 species within their range. Are Bats Birds Five institutions were involved in the study. They conducted a total of 12 expeditions in Brazil’s Caatinga, Cerrado, and Pantanal biomes. There they documented a total number of 1,722 seed dispersal events.
The macaws carried the seeds up to a mile (1.66 kilometers) from the place they were picking the fruit. The unusual practice of Tertiary Dispersal was used by both macaw species. They carried the fruit to their nests from previous cattle regurgitations.
Researchers say that the study
found a surprising symbiosis among macaws, plants, and their food. Other macaw species eat only the pulp from palm fruits and throw away the seeds. However, the Lear’s and Hyacinth macaws can break the hard shell covering the fruits of different palms and get to the seeds that are their main food source.
Previously, it was believed that macaws did not contribute to the dispersal of the seeds by eating them. The study reveals a more complex relationship. “A functionally relevant portion of the seeds is successfully utilized in the macaws’ dispersal events,” it states.
Researchers used both camera trap images and direct observation to observe hyacinths and Lear’s Macaws scattering seeds and foraging fruit. These findings were then used to analyze the dispersal rates for different species of palm fruits, including Acrocomia Totai (the Grugru palm or mac aura), Attalea Phaerata (uricuri), and Attalea barreirensis in the Cerrado.
The Bolivian Pantanal was able to observe
directly in the San Matias Natural Area of Integrated Management, (ANMI), which is one of the country’s protected areas and home to the hyacinth Macaw. They had to use the infrared camera’s in Brazil Cerrado because of the A. barreirensis, and A. Crested Birds The Eichler species of palms grow closer to ground level, making it more difficult to see foraging from afar.
The cameras were placed close to the ground, approximately 3 to 5 m (10 to 16 ft) away from the palm trees. Every 5 seconds, the motion-activated cameras captured instantaneous images of macaws spreading and gathering the fruits.