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Manu, Peru

Red And Green Macaw

At a clay lick in Peru, a number of parrot species fly in to eat clay early in the morning. The largest parrot to visit this lick is the Red and Green Macaw, Ara chloroptera. This particular macaw is flying towards the riverside cliff to eat the clay. There are probably at least 2 reasons the parrots eat clay. First, the clay has been shown to decrease the absorption of toxic alkaloids from the diet. Second, the clay may contain nutrients, most likely sodium, that are deficient from the birds' diet.

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