The great green macaw (Ara ambiguus) has a limited distribution in the Atlantic wet lowlands of Central America, from Honduras south to northern Colombia, with a small isolated population in the Pacific in Esmeraldas and Guayaquil, Ecuador. The world population is about 7.000 specimens. In Costa Rica, this species is currently limited to approximately 600 km2 of tropical very wet rainforest in the northern part of the country, in the area that borders Nicaragua. The species is highly dependent on the Almendro tree (Dipteryx panamensis) both for feeding and nesting. This endangered species, which is listed in Appendix I of CITES, is in serious danger of disappearing from Costa Rica in the near future.
Characteristics: 28” (71cm) in length; 550 grams. It has a very long neck and bill and relatively short legs. Adults: black head, with long, blue-gray occipital feathers; brown neck with chestnut and midventral stripe, silvery “filigree” on lower foreneck; chestnut belly; dark glossy green upperparts. Orange to reddish-brown iris; blackish bill, shading to grayish-green at base of lower mandible; yellow-green facial skin; blackish legs.
Male: 34”(86cm), 3kg; Female: 25”(64cm), 1.3kg. Very large, heavy-bodied, broad –winged. Adult: underside- dusky-black; upper side – black, strongly glossed with metallic green; conspicuous white upper and lower wing-covers. Male not only much larger but also has conspicuous crest and extensive bare, black faced with red carbuncles. Bill banded with black and whitish; black legs. Juvenile: browner, less glossy; only a small square of white on upper wing.
36”(91cm); 4kg. Very large and robust, with long tail and prominent crest of erectile, forward-curled feathers. Adult: Male, glossy black with white belly; yellow surmounted by bulbous knob. Bill – dusky with pale tip, gray legs. Female, variable; head and crest barred with black and sometimes white; tail – more or less barred.
53” (135); 6.5kg. huge with a heavy, sharp-pointed, slightly upturned bill. Adults, plumage entirely white; head and neck bare, black except for red area at base of neck (brighter in males). Bill and legs black. Juvenile: head and neck covered with sparse grayish down, rest of plumage grayish, mixed with white.
32” (81cm); 1.4kg. Distinctive spatula bill; only large pink bird in our area. Adults: head bare, greenish; neck and body white to pale pink; wings deep pink with rose red lesser coverts; tail puffy orange. Iris brick-red; bill greenish; legs reddish. Breeding: facial skin suffused with orange; bill, crown and pouch bluish-green. Juvenile: body pinkish-white; head covered with dull white underside; wings pale pink, primaries dusky-tipped; legs and feet blackish. Three years to have full adult plumage.
22” (56cm); 650g. heavy – bodied , very broad –winged , rather long tailed, bill relatively small and slender, and curved. Adults: upper body glossy, iridescent greenish –black; below sooty –black with slight greenish gloss, small shaggy occipital crest; feathers of neck lanceolate; facial skin dark gray, more greenish above eye, pinkish on chin, and dull bluish –gray on throat. Bill pale green with horn –color along culmen, yellowish tip; legs dull pale green. Juvenile: much duller overall, head and neck sooty with little gloss. Glossy Ibis slimmer with longer bill and legs, more pointed wings.
19”( 48cm) ; 255g. Long bill rather heavy body held horizontally. Head black with white superciliary and malar stripes; throat white; neck and breast brown, vermiculated with black; belly white, upperparts barred with olive –brown and blackish; upper surface of wing with striking “sun” pattern in chestnut, yellowish –buff, black, white, olive, and gray(revealed when wings spread); tail marbled with gray and white, with 2 broad bands of chestnut and black. Iris red; eyelids yellow; bill orange with black culmen; legs orange.