Ecology and Management of Nesting Blue-and-Yellow Macaws (Araararauna) in Mauritia Palm Swamps Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper reports on the nesting ecology of blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara ararauna) and the structure, conservation, and management of the Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps where they nest: clutch size averaged 2.6 and the number of chicks fledged per nesting attempt was 0.5. Macaws nested in tall dead palms in healthy palm swamps and in palms of all heights in open dieing palm stands. All nesting palms rose well above the surrounding vegetation presumably to discourage terrestrial predators. PVC nest boxes failed to attract nesting blue-and-yellow macaws. A small section of palm swamp was managed to encourage macaw nesting by cutting the tops off of M. flexuosa palms and clearing the understory vegetation. The palms remained standing from 4 to 7 years and were occupied by nesting macaws at a rate of 24%. The data presented here suggest that cutting five palms a year in perpetuity would produce a stand of approximately 20 standing dead palms used by 6 or more pairs of macaws annually. However, macaw occupancy rates would depend on the density of macaws and density of naturally occurring nest sites. This management scheme could be conducted on a 100-year rotation in an area of 1-4 ha or more depending on the palm density. Such a colony could be used to increase reproductive success of blue-and-yellow macaw populations, create a valuable ecotourism resource, and concentrate macaw nesting in protected areas. 2006 Springer.

published proceedings

  • Biodiversity and Conservation

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Brightsmith, D., & Bravo, A.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Brightsmith, Donald||Bravo, Adriana

publication date

  • January 2006