a25 February 2014

Meet the Rainbow

Scarlet Macaw - living rainbow

Scarlet Macaw (ara macao) is probably one of the most impressively coloured birds in whole animals world. This beautiful, almost 1 meter long South American macaw, that you can meet in a wide latitudinal range from south of Mexico through Panama, Guatemala, Belize to Northern Brazil and Peru, has mostly scarlet plumage (hence its name) with wings covered in yellows, greens and blues and feathers on tail also being blue. Scarlet macaw therefore really looks like a living rainbow. Very curious rainbow I should add. That is interested in glasses and all sort of beads and bracelets.

Scarlet macaw is quite often confused with green-winged macaw, which is very similar, but is just slightly larger and doesn't have yellows in its wings.

Despite the fact scarlet macaw is more common than other aras (and for this reason listed as "Least Concern" by IUCN), its habitats are very fragmented and it's confined to small populations. Also scarlet macaw natural territories are getting smaller and smaller and they are also threatened by cage bird trade. Unfortunately.

Daily photo - Meet the Rainbow

Today photo isn't HDR image as you probably noticed. Instead something that suits the post a little more :) This couple of scarlet macaw birds was photographed in Xcaret park in Mexico, a very interesting theme park build near the ancient Mayan ruins.

In fact Xcaret park is something more than a regular theme park - it's also a place where they apparently really do care about ecology and natural environment. Regarding macaws, they have a breeding program that won them a Guiness record for greatest number of macaws born in one place. From the leaflet I got I read they bred 700+ macaws there, but information online mention that even 1000 macaws were born in Xcaret in just last few years. No matter which of them is true - the results are impressive. Some of these birds are then reintroduced into their natural environment, eg. they reappeared near Palenque in Mexico after being extinct there for almost 50 years!
Couple of scarlet macaw birds in Xcaret park

Despite the fact it's not a HDR photo, I still used luminosity masks to process it (but processing here was rather easy and quick as this very image didn't need much improvement - sometimes nature is beautiful on its own). This way I could get the colours and contrast the way I wanted. Specifically I darkened the background and decreased its saturation just a little bit to make the aras stand out more.

Finally some EXIF information:
Technical details:
Camera: Sony NEX-6
Lens: Sony E 55-210 f/4.5-6.3 OSS
Focal length: 99 mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure time: 1/160 s
ISO: 800
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: no
Filters: no
Technique: luminosity masks
Software: Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity

Where was this photo taken:

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