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February 1, 2022

The Scarlet Macaws of Playa Dominical impress everyone they meet

You don’t need to be a bird enthusiast to appreciate the rare experience of watching a Scarlet Macaw thriving in its habitat. And you don’t need to trek into the jungle or book a tour to get up close and personal with these beautiful birds. If you’ve visited Playa Dominical in the early morning recently, it’s likely you heard or saw the families of Scarlet Macaws overhead. 

When the Scarlet Macaws returned to Dominical several years ago, they caused quite a stir. You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who isn’t impressed watching the large rainbow-colored bird soaring overhead. Being of the parrot family, they flaunt amazingly bright feathers and exceptional vocal skills, including the ability for vocal mimicry. Thankfully, we’ve yet to hear them mimic the local phrase “Pura Vida,” but even still, the macaw can cause quite a raucous morning, in our otherwise sleepy beach town. 

What are the Scarlet Macaws in Dominical up to?

Unlike many bird species, macaws do not migrate, they have dedicated roosting sites where they spend most of their lives. If you are a returning guest at one of our Costa Rica vacation villas, it’s very likely the scarlet macaw family you met last year is the same you’ll be greeted by again, roosting near the row of beach shopping in Dominical. At a rate of two to four eggs, laid once every year or so, you can watch the dominical macaw family multiply and thrive again in their wild habitat. This is an experience very few will be fortunate to have in life.

Often in the mornings, you can find them basking in the sunshine and chatting loudly from the treetops above One Love Cafe in Dominical. You’ll notice that looking up at these birds sitting in the green canopy, while the sun rays shine down through the leaves, makes them much harder to spot. Their rainbow colors, which are so vivid against the blue sky during flight, are actually the perfect camouflage when roosting in treetops over the mangroves or along the river edge. 

Most of their time is spent navigating through the large trees near river mouths, searching for food. So few people in the world will witness the Scarlet Macaw take flight that you should count yourself lucky to be in the select group. The local and visiting community are all cheering for this magnificent bird to continue its comeback and continue to thrive again in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica.

The Scarlet Macaws Come-back in Dominical Depends on Us All

This wasn’t always the case for the macaws, who are still an endangered species and have suffered greatly due to habitat destruction as well as poachers. The future of the macaw depends on the protection of undisturbed rainforests and the successful work of the local non-profit ASOMACAO.

Last year ASOMACAO teamed up with Hacienda Baru, the neighboring reserve and estuary just north of Dominical, in a research project to aid the macaws in their search for ideal nesting sites. According to the group’s Facebook update on the project, “To Scarlet Macaws, searching for a place to build a nest means looking for tall trees that rise above the neighboring canopy and are somewhat distanced from those trees, ensuring that there is good visibility for detecting possible predators such as monkeys, snakes, iguanas, kinkajous, and large birds of prey.  A major cause affecting the recovery of macaw populations has been habitat loss due to deforestation” 

Scarlet Macaws have an average life expectancy of 30 to 40 years, and improving the local habitat will ensure their success in breeding future generations.  We hope that you will appreciate and enjoy watching this rare species and small flock in Dominical grow, with each return visit to our beautiful vacation villas in Costa Rica. 

To learn more about the ongoing efforts at AMOMASCAO click here:

Category: Blog, CR Wildlife

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