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Rainforests of the World 

January 24, 2010

Meet our Psittacines!!

If you’ve been through the rainforest you’ve most likely seen our two macaws climbing, chewing, and socializing in their tree on the main level. These birds are in the parrot family, and are referred to as Psittacines. They are known for their extraordinary coloration along with their social and verbal skills.

The macaws are given enrichment several times per day to keep things interesting for them. Here they are checking out their fruit kabob.


Photo by: Rachael Tom

Our blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) and our scarlet macaw (Ara macao) are young males that have pair bonded to each other. You will see them exhibiting behaviors that are very typical among parrot species – preening themselves and each other, imitating behavior and sound, and yes – squabbling! Here is the scarlet macaw wondering why we are pointing a camera at him:


Photo by: Rachael Tom

Filed under: Birds — rainforest1 @ 2:06 pm

January 20, 2010

Amazonian Stingray Pup Born!

A Smooth back river stingray (Potamotrygon orbignyi) pup was born on January 16, 2010.

newborn stingray pup in amazon gallery

Photo by: Rachael Tom

newborn stingray pup in amazon gallery

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Stingrays reproduce by aplacental viviparity which means that the eggs hatch and the babies develop inside the female’s body but there is no placenta to nourish the pups. Embryos initially feed on yolk, then receive additional nourishment by absorbing “uterine milk” from their mother. The young are born as miniature adults, free-swimming and ready to feed on their own.

newborn stingray pup in amazon gallery

Photo by: Rachael Tom

The main consideration in caring for the newborn pup will be making sure it gets enough to eat. Newborn pups are not strong swimmers and may not be able to compete for food with all of the adult rays. Pancake has been doing wonderfully, though, and has already had his first couple of meals of tubifex and bloodworms.

Filed under: Fish — brooke @ 2:10 pm

January 18, 2010

Return of little Miss Grosbeak

Last Thursday marked the return of our female yellow-green grosbeak (Caryothraustes canadensis) to the rainforest bola after an absence of nearly a year. She’s been doing great; she joins the tanagers for their morning bath and then picks her favorite treats from the breakfast platter.

Photo by: Rachael Tom

A change in the dynamics of the saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola) in our rainforest allowed us to try releasing her again…they previously bullied her too much. Here is a photo of the main culprit: saffron finch with the yellow band on its left leg.
saffron finch

Photo by: Rachael Tom

After discussing it with our veterinarian Dr. Dunker, we placed her in a “howdy cage.” This is a cage within the rainforest where she can sit and observe what’s going on and the other birds can check her out. After a day in the howdy cage, we released her.

It was a tense couple moments knowing her history with the finches, and it didn’t help that saffron finch-yellow band immediately began displacing her. But after about 15 minutes the finches grew bored and she gained confidence. Now they just ignore eachother and she gets to hang out in peace. On your next visit to the rainforest, keep an eye out for the grosbeak and welcome her home!

Filed under: Birds — rainforest1 @ 2:14 pm

January 12, 2010

What’s in flower in the Tropical Rainforest?

Take a look at the big green vine overhanging the flooded forest tank. The Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia elegans) gets its name from the large maroon and white flowers it displays, which have a pipe-like shape. This vine is native to Brazil and is often in bloom in our rainforest.
Mottled Dutchman's Pipe

Photo by: Rachael Tom

The peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) has produced a few bunches of orange fruit. These fruits are eaten by macaws in the wild, but our macaws don’t seem to think they are tasty! They are used as food by the native peoples where it grows in the tropics of South and Central America, but it does require some preparation before eating.
Bactris gasiapes

Photo by: Rachael Tom

Filed under: Plants — rainforest1 @ 10:01 am

January 8, 2010

Behind the scenes in the rainforest

There are many different aspects to the work that we do in the rainforest bola. Click below to check out a fantastic video produced by our Science In Action team and hear what the biologists have to say about the circle of life in this exhibit.


Behind the Scenes of the Academy’s Rainforest Exhibit from Science in Action on Vimeo.


Filed under: Birds,Butterflies,Fish,Herpetiles,Plants — rainforest1 @ 10:07 am

The Rainforest Team


Academy biologists share the inside scoop on the Academy's 'Rainforest of the World' exhibit.

Academy Blogroll