Over the years I’ve seen many macaw parrots in cages or on perches in animal attractions with clipped wings. It was quite a sight to see them flying free in their natural habitat – the Amazon Rainforest.


Wild Macaw, Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador

We were in Yasuni National Park in Ecuador – often described as one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. The Amazon Rainforest spans several countries in South America, and Ecuador is one of them.

Our guide took us out to see parrots and we sat in a blind waiting for scarlet macaws to appear at a clay lick. There is always a period of time waiting for wildlife where you think they might not appear after all, but appear they did and we watched with wonder as one, then two, then three landed in the tall trees near the clay lick – carefully watching us back before they partook.

A clay lick is an area with naturally occurring sodium that these birds use to keep themselves hydrated in the hot weather, or so the theory goes. Scientists are not entirely sure why birds do this.


Wild Macaws, Amazon

Another day we spotted blue and gold macaws from a rainforest platform at the top of the canopy. They were flying in formation near an invading hawk – like fighter jets guarding their territory. These macaws were blue and gold and kept up their watch until the hawk flew away.


Wild Macaws, Amazon Rainforest