One of the most colorful and endangered members of the colorful parrot family, the scarlet macaw was first described by naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Still a favorite among birdwatchers, they are now an endangered species.
From December to March every year, they migrate from their breeding area in the Mayan mountains to Red Bank Village in southern Belize where they feed on local seeds and nuts. Red Bank draws mature macaws and their chicks to the plentiful food source of the polewood tree, but the birds supplement their food supply with fruit from other trees, such as the wild annatto, prickly yellow, mountain trumpet, cramanthee, and symphonia.
Known for high-pitched screams that allow them to communicate with their groups over many miles, scarlet macaws can live from 75 to 90 years in captivity, although most only live from 40 to 50 years. They often travel alone or in pairs but may sometimes be seen flying in flocks. Poachers pose the greatest threat to the species, but agriculture and development also play a big role in the bird’s demise, resulting in fewer than 250 of the endangered parrots remaining in Belize. Scarlet macaws fetch a high price on the pet market and are also sought after for meals in bush camps.
The Friends of Conservation and Development and the Belize Bird Conservation organize teams of volunteers and rangers to camp out near active nests of scarlet macaws in Chiquibul National Park and protect them from poachers and predators. The teams also rescue chicks from unsafe nests and rehabilitate them before releasing them into the wild. This work has lowered poaching rates by 75 percent, and the scarlet macaw population is slowly rising. The birds prefer high elevations near the banks of rivers, where they lay one or two eggs nestled in the holes of very tall trees.
March is the deadline for viewing the exotic birds before they return to their Mayan Mountain breeding grounds, and we can schedule your visit in time for the tours. Our excursions take you to Red Bank Village in comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles with Wi-Fi access. Car seats and private shuttles are available upon request, and you can relax knowing you’re in good hands. We provide experienced, English-speaking drivers who have completed safety training and are natives of Belize.
Our excellent customer service and our choice of packages mean you can customize your trip to fit your budget and interests. Visit Untame Belize website for more information, and book your adventure now.