The Scarlet Macaw has experienced a drastic reduction and progressive fragmentation in Mesoamerica (the cyanoptera subspecies), due to habitat destruction and illegal trade as pets. There has been substantial lack of knowledge about environmental and temporal characteristics that affect the selection and survival of their nests.
Conservation status: Category LC (Least Concern) in the Red List of the IUCN
Wild population: 50.000, in gradual decline: A. m. cyanoptera more threatened.
Captive population: Number unknown
Scientific information on key aspects of habitat use and breeding of the Scarlet Macaw has been necessary to obtain for future conservation projects that contribute to the preservation of the species.
Identify nesting sites of this species and the survival of the nests in two areas of great relevance: the Maya Biosphere Reserve in central-west Guatemala, Chiquibul Forest Reserve in Belize and Volcano Consigüina Nature Reserve, Nicaragua.
Observation and monitoring has been used to analyze the behaviour of over 200 macaws, with the application in three breeding females of a lightweight collar with a satellite controlled transmitter that detaches from its carrier at the end of the eight month period of data collection. Research is key to understanding the spatial use of habitat by the macaws in the breeding season, and the results will help policy makers in land use to act with respect for the reproductive needs of these birds. Increased protection is needed to reduce habitat destruction in Guatemala and poaching in Belize, and to facilitate long-term viability of these populations. It is also important to intervene in Belize to improve the training of local rangers in terms of surveillance and protection.
Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua
American Public University
New Mexico State University
Other organizations involved
Friends for Conservation and Development
Funds since 2010: 75.314 $