Nutritional Content of the Diets of Free-living Scarlet Macaw Chicks in Southeastern Peru Academic Article uri icon


  • To provide novel information on psittacine diets, we analyzed the texture, crude protein, crude fat, Ca, P (total), Mg, K, Na, S, Cu, Fe, and Zn concentrations of crop contents from 10 free-living scarlet macaw (Ara macao) chicks from lowland forests of southeastern Peru. We compared our results with nutrient concentrations of known wild parrot foods and published psittacine dietary recommendations to highlight similarities and differences and suggest future avenues of research. The diets were much coarser textured than those recommended for hand feeding. Soil in the diet provided an important source of Na, but Na levels were still lower than all recommendations. Concentrations of protein, Zn, K, Cu, and P (total) were near to or within the range of recommendations for captive psittacine birds. Fat, Ca, and Mg concentrations were greater in crop contents than in the average food plants and greater than published recommendations. The Na:K ratios were only one-twentieth of those recommended for young poultry. Future analyses should investigate the bioavailability of Fe, Ca, and Zn in these diets and the effects of varying concentrations of fat, Na, Ca, Mg, and Na:K ratio on psittacine growth and development.

author list (cited authors)

  • Brightsmith, D. J., McDonald, D., Matsafuji, D., & Bailey, C. A.

citation count

  • 28

publication date

  • March 2010