Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) are some of the most beautiful birds in the world. They’re found from extreme south-eastern Mexico to Amazonian Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, where they stand out amongst the extensive green foliage with their brilliant red, blue, and yellow feathers. However, the Scarlet Macaw doesn’t come into the world looking like a gorgeous rainbow. Oh no, in fact, it has to wait a while before those feathers show up! Let’s take a look at the journey from a naked, chicken-like creature to the incredible rainbow adult.
Scarlet Macaws mate for life. The female will lay around 2-3 eggs in a tree cavity and will incubate them for around 5 weeks. Once they hatch, the little chicks come out bald and blind. You wouldn’t think that these naked little things would someday grow up to be so beautiful!
Eventually they open their eyes and as you can see, they’re pitch black. Adults will have golden eyes once fully mature. For now, this little guy is still in the ‘ugly parrot’ stage of life.
But then, suddenly, you can see feathers starting to grow! The baby transforms from a pink, naked bird into one with traces of those fantastic rainbow feathers. It’s still a work in progress, though.
Ah! A basket full of baby rainbows!!! Now I’m starting to get excited…
More feathers! More feathers!
Then, after much ado, the baby gets all his wonderful feathers in! This guy is still getting used to his new stylish ‘do. Doesn’t really seem like he’s figured out how to groom himself yet. Looks a bit messy! Chicks fledge from the nest about 90 days from hatching and leave their parents about a year later.
And what a difference a year makes!
And finally…. voilà!
Absolute rainbow perfection. Took a while to get there, but all good things in life do!