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Red and Green Macaw Claylick - Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, Tambopata.

One rule to bear in mind when planning a wildlife spotting / photographing day is that anything can happen. Indeed, most of the time, an animal's presence is hardly predictable, therefore one always gets hooked by random but fascinating wildlife behaviour bringing them away from the initial plan. This is exactly what happened on the 26th of July 2022 on the Peruvian Amazon during an Untamed Photography Tours photo tour.

Photograph by Maximillian Bozon

We were planning on admiring the rainforest’s horizon from one of a few Tambopata canopy towers when the sharp sight of Mark Fernley spotted a movement on a faraway claylick, there were Red and Green Macaws. We therefore decided to stealthily come forward. The Macaws were peacefully flying by and feeding in front of us, allowing us to increase our portfolio with iconic and memorable Macaw behaviour images. You can see some of the pictures I had taken attached in this article. I used the Sigma 150-600mm contemporary with my old but efficient Canon 70D. Because of the boat’s movement, I used a fast shutter speed (1/800s) to make sure the Macaws were sharp, especially for the in-flight shots. I decided to keep the aperture quite low to allow more light to come in and soften the background, making the Macaws stand out when flying. Because of the fast shutter speed, I needed to bring the ISO slightly higher than usual (3200 ISO) compromising a bit of noise for increased sharpness. Eventually, I managed to get those shots. I quite like the angelic parrot landing on the claylick allowing us to see the actual size of its body along with the blooming colours of its feathers. Thanks to the team from Untamed Photography Tours, the photographs came out beautifully and it turned out to be a wonderful and unique moment.

Written by Untamed Photography Tours guests, Maximilian Bozon

Photographs by Maximillian Bozon

A Claylick, in this case a Macaw Claylick, is a fascinating open area on the side of a river where Macaws gather in great numbers. The Macaw Claylicks in the Tambopata Region are fantastic social gathering areas for Red and Green Macaws and parakeets. These exposed salt licks contain minerals that Macaws crave. They are essential for the Macaws diets as they can neutralise the toxins that the fruits contain that many animals in the forest eat. These salt licks also attract howler monkeys and smaller mammals that feed on these licks for the same purpose. Predators occasionally use these licks as prime hunting where pray is at its highest.

Photographing Red and Green Macaws

In the Amazon Rainforest of Peru, the Macaw is one of the most iconic species of wildlife to photograph. The range of colours that these Macaws obtain can be rather inspiring to photograph. From majestic blues to harsh reds, these stunning birds make for strong and inspirational images. A Macaw Claylick can be a perfect location for photographing Macaws in flight. When stationery while using a tripod, capturing these birds in flight can be an easy task. Usually Macaws land on a near by branch for a couple of minutes and then fly off, making their way onto the clay itself allowing you to gain those mid flight shots. The Macaws are fairly low making the background solid not showing any over exposed sky. Below shows a Red and Green Macaw in short flight to the Claylick.

Photo by Untamed Photography Tours guests, Gavin Hanna

A visit to the Macaw Claylick is always a highlight of our Tambopata Photo Tours. Join us next year for an opportunity to capture some amazing photographs of Red and Green Macaws, Scarlett Macaws, Chestnut Fronted Macaws, and many species of Parakeet. If you are interested in visiting the claylick, click here for more information:


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