Posts Tagged 'tropical birds'

Animal Update – February 7

national aquarium animal update

New Boat-Billed Herons in the Rain Forest! 

Two boat-billed herons, transported to Baltimore from the Buffalo Zoo, have been introduced into our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit!

national aquarium boat-billed heron

Boat-billed herons are found in forested areas near water from Mexico to Argentina.  These stocky birds feed mostly on fish, invertebrates, and small amphibians.

Did you know? The large characteristic beak that gives the bird it’s name is used for both food gathering and for social signaling between other members of the species!

 Both of our herons are females, estimated to be about six-years-old. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at one of our herons getting a quick exam before going on exhibit:

national aquarium heron exam

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Happy 25th Birthday, Margaret!

National Aquarium is celebrating a very special birthday today: Margaret, our blue hyacinth macaw, is turning 25!

With the help of our Animal Programs staff, Margaret started her day off with a special enrichment surprise:

national aquarium hyacinth macaw

Hyacinth macaws are one of the largest species of parrot – they are typically 40 inches in length and can have a wingspan of up to 5 feet! They’re on of the few species of parrot that can even mimic human speech. Margaret can say “Hello” (and she loves to say it a lot!) and is learning to say her name!

national aquarium hyacinth macaw

Did you know? Hyacinth macaws have beaks specially designed for cracking the hardest nuts in the world, the Brazil nut!

In addition to a powerful beak, Margaret has some pretty powerful and nimble feet that help her climb trees, hold food and even play with toys (or in today’s case, rip through a present box filled with newspaper and treats!).

national aquarium hyacinth macaw

Hyacinth macaws can be found in parts of Brazil, eastern Bolivia, and northeastern Paraguay. Unlike most parrots that prefer tropical rain forest habitats, this species of macaw usually makes its home in lightly forested areas such as palm swamps and flooded grasslands! At the Aquarium, you can see Margaret during our Animal Encounters throughout the day.

Can’t stop by in person to wish Margaret a happy birthday? Leave her a note in the comments section or on our Facebook page

Four Blue-Crowned Motmot Chicks Have Hatched in the Rain Forest

animal expert update

Our pair of blue-crowned motmots has produced four chicks! This is the second successful brood for the pair (who produced their first set of chicks in 2011).

blue crowned motmot chick
Blue-crowned motmots are neo-tropical birds known for their unusual nesting behaviors. Parent birds excavate long tunnels into the earth where they lay their eggs and raise their offspring.

Our resident pair of motmots are often seen working on a burrow within the rainforest exhibit. Earlier this summer, we were excited to learn that the pair was raising chicks in their most recent burrow! It is impossible for exhibit staff to see what is going on underground, so our team is left to interpret the behavior of both adults to infer what’s happening. When only one motmot is present during our morning bird inventory, we can assume that the adults are taking turns incubating their eggs. When we observe the adult birds carrying food into the tunnel, it’s likely that a chick has hatched!

blue crowned motmot chicks

This feeding pattern continues for about four weeks, with the amount of food being brought back escalating as the chicks grow. After the four week period, the baby motmots emerge from the tunnel fully feathered, able to fly and nearly the size of an adult!

Stay tuned for more updates on our chicks!

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Animal Updates – April 12

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Recapped Cardinals on exhibit! 

We have a pair of redcapped cardinals now on exhibit in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest!

redcapped cardinal national aquarium

Similar to the well-known American Cardinal, this South American bird is a type of finch! Redcapped cardinals use their strong beaks for cracking seeds and sturdy legs for perching.

redcapped cardinal national aquarium

Redcapped cardinals have surprisingly large feet, which allow them to walk steadily on floating vegetation as they feed in the mangrove swamps. Like many other finches, these songbirds have a beautiful call!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Animal Update – September 21

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Green wing doves in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes

We’ve introduced green wing doves to our Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit this week.

Our green wing dove and her chicks!

 Our dove has imprinted on humans and so she is much friendlier and less easily spooked than the rest of our dove population. They can easily be seen roaming our exhibit!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!


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