The national bird of Honduras is the Scarlet Macaw. It was decreed a national symbol of Honduras on 28 June 1993 by the National Congress of Honduras as a way to raise awareness of the varied avifauna of Honduras. Despite being the national bird of Honduras the Scarlet Macaw, which is called La Guara Roja in Spanish and has Ara macao as a scientific name, is rare in the country and vulnerable to poaching, which is widespread. In fact, all of the images of Scarlet Macaws in this post are of the birds that live at Copan Archeological Park, birds that were seized at the border before they could be illegally exported.* If it weren’t such a horrible thing to do one might almost understand why folks would want to poach and cage Scarlet Macaws. Their plumage is simply amazing and the colors are astounding.
Fortunately, there are some people working to protect the Scarlet Macaws of Honduras. Lafeber Conservation and Wildlife has Project Tomás – Parrots, People and Peace in Honduras, which seeks to “establish and maintain an international biological research and conservation center in Mabita, La Mosquitia, Honduras so as to conserve sustainable mixed species communities.” The location is one of the few left in the country that sustains a population of La Guara Roja.
Though Scarlet Macaws are threatened in Honduras there is hope that they will get protection and recover at least some of their numbers and former range. It will take dedicated, sustained effort by many organizations and individuals but if any bird is worth the effort it is the gorgeous national bird of Honduras.
*Some of the birds are actually descendants of the ones seized.
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My visit to Honduras: