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Michael Palin presents the scarlet macaw from Costa Rica. The Scarlet Macaw is a carnival of a bird, eye-catching, noisy and vibrant, with a colour-scheme verging on bad taste. Its brilliant red feathers clash magnificently with the bright yellow patches on its wings, and contrast with its brilliant blue back and very long red tail. It has a white face and a massive hooked bill and it produces ear-splitting squawks. Subtlety is not in its vocabulary.
Scarlet macaws breed in forests from Mexico south through Central America to Bolivia, Peru and Brazil. They use their formidable beaks not only to break into nuts and fruit, but also as pick-axes.
Colourful and charismatic birds usually attract attention and in some areas where the Scarlet Macaws have been collected for the bird trade, numbers have declined. In south-east Mexico where they are very rare, a reintroduction programme is underway to restore these gaudy giants to their ancestral forests. Published on February 2, 2015.