Dec 11, 2017 - Macaws are a group of New World parrots that are long-tailed and often colorful. They are popular in aviculture or as companion parrots, although there are conservation concerns about several species in the wild. Of the many different Psittacidae (true parrots) genera, six are classified as macaws. There are 19 species of macaws, including extinct and critically endangered species. The majority of macaws are now endangered in the wild and a few are extinct. Macaws eat a variety of foods including seeds, nuts, fruits, palm fruits, leaves, flowers, and stems, they also like to eat vegetables. Safe vegetables include asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, butternut, carrots, corn on the cob, dandelion greens, collard greens, hot peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini. Some foods eaten by macaws in certain regions in the wild are said to contain toxic or caustic substances which they are able to digest. It has been suggested that parrots and macaws in the Amazon Basin eat clay from exposed river banks to neutralize these toxins. In the western Amazon, hundreds of macaws and other parrots descend to exposed river banks to consume clay on an almost daily basis – except on rainy days. The macaws and other bird and animal species prefer clays with higher levels of sodium. Sodium is a vital element that is scarce in environments greater than 100 kilometers from the ocean. The distribution of clay licks across South America further supports this hypothesis – as the largest and most species-rich clay licks are found on the western side of the Amazon Basin far from oceanic influences. Salt-enriched (NaCl) oceanic aerosols are the main source of environmental sodium near coasts and this decreases drastically farther inland.