Cuban Red Macaw

cuban red macaw
Will you look at how lovely this guy is? This was a species of parrot native to Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud, an island off the Cuban coast. It was one of the smaller types of the macaws, only 18-20 inches long, and the last native Carribean macaw to go extinct.

As befits a flashy bird like this one, early explorers, like Christopher Columbus and Diego Álvarez Chanca, who came to Cuba noticed the bird and wrote about him. Parrots were culturally important  to native Caribbeans, were traded between islands, and were among the gifts offered to Christopher Columbus when he reached the Bahamas in 1492.

During the early 19th century, the human population in its home range increased dramatically, leading to widespread deforestation. The bird was also sometimes hunted, although it apparently tasted bad, and nests were plundered or disturbed to acquire young birds to keep as pets. Until 1849, the species seems to have been able to hold its own at least in remote areas, but subsequently, the population crashed, never to recover.


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