Macaws are large, colorful South American parrots. So-called “New World” parrots have been known to Europeans since the 1400s, as Columbus mentioned them in his logs.
Most species of macaws are endangered and a few (such as the Spix’s macaw and glaucous macaw) are almost certainly extinct. Problems faced by macaws in the wild include deforestation (loss of habitat) and illegal trapping. While most macaws are captured for the pet trade, some are also captured and killed for their beautiful plumage.
In recent years, ecotourism has focused on the bird life of the South American rainforest. Some conservationists hope that tourist dollars will make it easier to conserve macaw habitat and lower the rate of trapping.