The Brighsmith Lab and The Macaw Society have been working in the lowlands of southeastern Peru for over 20 years and now have expanded to the rest of the neotropics. Dr. Donald Brightsmith and Dr. Gabriela Vigo of the Schubot Center for Avian Health at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and an army of collaborators are studying a broad array of topics on ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots.

The Macaw Society (previously known as the Tambopata Macaw Project) is a long-term research study of the ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots that started in Tambopata, Peru back in 1999. It is been lead by Dr. Donald J. Brightsmith and Dr. Gabriela Vigo-Trauco of the Schubot Center for Avian Health at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS). Since 2020, it has switched gears.

Dr. Brightsmith’s team was not the first one to work with macaws in the area BUT he was the first one to collect scientific information that produced clear documentation of the natural history and ecology of the parrots and macaws in Tambopata and make it available to the public. Indeed, after 20 years of work, his team ranks as one of the best in the world on macaw research and conservation.  After documenting and publishing important baseline data, the main goal of The Macaw Society is to efficiently use this information to direct conservation actions for the studied species in Peru and especially in other locations where psittacines are declining and at risk of extinction.  

Anne Hawkinson (Field Leader Tambopata 2014). Photo Credits: Liz Villanueva Paipay

 Our research base is still Tampobata but in another new location and no longer associated with tourism companies. Moreover,  our collaboration will continue with a focus shifting to more direct conservation topics and advising local conservation action plans.  But in addition to these ongoing collaborations, The Macaw Society will operate with a much more global perspective throughout the Neotropics and work to establish new research alliances.

View of one section of Colorado Claylick with the Andes as background seen from the Tambopata River. Photo Credits: Liz Villanueva Paipay

Chuncho Clay Lick in Tambopata, Peru. Photo Credits: Liz Villanueva Paipay

Due to their large size and great beauty, macaws make excellent flagship species and serve as charismatic focal points for the conservation of the ecosystems where they occur.

Unfortunately, throughout most of tropical America, large macaws have suffered major population declines.

Many macaw species are becoming locally and globally endangered

If you or your organization is interested in working with us in the future, please get in touch via e-mail at

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This website has been designed to describe the research being undertaken, to provide public access to reports and publications about our macaw research, and for anyone who is interested in our work and is considering taking part.

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