Working for Moraro’s Green Wings
Size and Appearance:
The Green Wing macaw (Ara chloroptera) is the second largest macaw. The Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is the largest. When fully grown, the Green Wing averages a length of about 35.5 ins. (90 cm) and weighs about 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg). Like the scarlet macaw (Ara macao), the Green Wing has brilliant red, running from its head down to the upper part of its body, the underparts and the under tail. However, unlike the scarlet macaw which has a band of yellow or gold on its back, the Green Wing has a band of green, and this is what gives it its name. The green gives way to a light blue on its rump, and to its upper and lower tail. The wings also have blue. Formed by rows of tiny red feathers, the Green Wing has red lines around its eyes and this is what makes its identity so easy for casual viewers. The scarlet macaw does not have these feathery, red lines.
Breeding and Life Practices:
Two or three eggs are laid in a tree-hole and allowed to incubate for about 28 days. Macaws seen in Moraro tend to choose still-standing, dead Ite (Mauritia flexuosa) palm trunks. The chicks leave the nest about 90 days after hatching. Macaws mate for life, so are mostly seen in pairs, or pairs within a small group. However, in Moraro, every now and again, a lone macaw is seen flying and it is assumed that its mate died or was captured.
The Green Wing macaw has an inquisitive nature and is intelligent. It is kept as a companion by local people and allowed to live as part of the family.
Macaws spend most of their day wherever they find food, which most likely would be in the canopy of very tall trees, including ones in swampy areas. They leave early-morning to get to their feeding ground, and spend most of their day there. Late afternoon they’d return to their roosting tree which would be a large one on higher, dry land. Their preferred sleeping trees used to be giant Green-heart trees at the back of Moraro. With intense logging, Green-heart trees have all but disappeared, so other tall trees are now used.
Forest fruits are extremely important food for the macaw and in Moraro, they feed on forest fruits in the surrounding area. These include Ite(Mauritia flexuosa), Hubudi(anacardium giganteum), and Maporokon(Inga alba).
Importance to the eco-system:
Apart from adding vivid colours to a very green forest, macaws are an integral part of the eco system. People read their behaviour - when taking off in alarm, their squawking can send signals. They call attention to bearing trees with ripe fruits, and most importantly they help to replant the rain-forest. They make a messy display of seeds that fall while feeding, but this is what does the trick of replanting. Other floor animals like the agouti would help to take the seeds along.
Most threatening to them:
The affectionate and gentle Green Wing makes a wonderful companion. Because of this, they are in demand, so their population is threatened. Forest trees, including forest-fruit trees that they depend on for food and roosting are being cut down, so loss of habitat is also a threat to them.
Preserving their Natural Habitat
Highly forested, Moraro is within traditional indigenous lands and the local custom of land-use is followed. Traditional land preservation methods are practised and lands, with native trees, some of which are very important to the well-being of the Green Wing macaw are kept intact. Among, unique, forest-fruit trees preserved are the Hubudi (anacardium giganteum), Maporokon (Inga alba) and Hakia (Tabebula sarratifolia). These, not only provide for the Green Wing but for other animals as well.
Sighting of Green Wings in Moraro
Forest animals know their home and tend to frequent places where they find food. Macaws are very familiar with their surroundings for miles around. In Moraro the preserved, forest-fruit trees and native trees attract them and it’s because of their preserved, natural habitat that they can be seen or heard. Hearing their calls, seeing them in flight or perched on surrounding trees create such a feel-good factor. They have habits, so it’s not difficult to tell where they’d most likely be. The best time to see them flying, would be when the sun is rising or going down. It is difficult to get up-close to them, so usually it is easier to see them close-up, through binoculars.
Purchase a book mark and help preserve the habitat of Moraro’s Green Wings. Visit Conservation Artist to do so.