Red-fronted macaw (Ara rubrogenys)
The red-fronted macaw, Ara rubrogenys, is a parrot endemic to a small area of Bolivia 200km west of Santa Cruz, in the department of the same name. It is highly endangered, and there may only be 150 or so birds left in the wild; it has been successfully bred in captivity, and is available, if not common, as a pet.
This area, which is very mountainous, is termed medium altitude semi-desert. The natural vegetation consists mostly of cactus (large and small) and thorny trees and scrub. The climate is semi-arid with cold nights and hot days. Rain comes in infrequent heavy storms.
This macaw is unusual in that it is the only one to inhabit such a climatic zone. Most macaws nest in holes in large trees, however here there are no very large trees so it nests in vertical fissures in cliff faces. The bird has been captured for the pet trade in the past and killed by local farmers because it raids their crops.
For an ornithologist or birders wishing to see this bird, the nearest villages are Pampagrande and Tambo. A small lodge has recently been built near a known roost-site for the red-fronted macaw.