Nest site selection and efficacy of artificial nests for breeding success of Scarlet Macaws Ara macao macao in lowland Peru Academic Article uri icon


  • Psittacidae (parrots) have the most threatened species of any bird family in the world. Most parrots are obligate secondary cavity nesters, and can be limited in their breeding success by the availability and quality of nest hollows. However, nesting opportunities for parrots can be increased by provision of artificial nest boxes. The Tambopata Macaw Project has been studying the breeding ecology and natural history of the Scarlet Macaw Ara macao macao in the south-eastern Peruvian Amazon for over 20 years by monitoring natural nest hollows and two types of artificial nest (wooden and PVC). We present data for breeding success in natural and artificial nests over 12 consecutive breeding seasons. The aims of this study were to: (a) determine the nesting requirements and reproductive success of breeding macaws; and, (b) compare the efficacy of the two types of artificial nests and natural nest cavities. Our data showed a high rate of reoccupation of successful nests in consecutive years and that nests in artificial and natural nests had very similar reproductive parameters. Our results indicate that artificial nest types can be used by conservation managers seeking to assist A. macao populations where nest hollows are in short supply, and that artificial nests can contribute important data to natural history studies of species where access to natural nests is limited. 2013 Elsevier GmbH.

published proceedings

  • Journal for Nature Conservation

altmetric score

  • 10.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Olah, G., Vigo, G., Heinsohn, R., & Brightsmith, D. J.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Olah, George||Vigo, Gabriela||Heinsohn, Robert||Brightsmith, Donald J

publication date

  • April 2014