The Macaw Society has been working in the lowlands of southeastern Peru for more than two decades.
Drs. Brightsmith and Vigo-Trauco are leading its expansion to the rest of the neotropics, as they continue
to work with collaborators on a broad array of projects focused on the ecology and conservation of psittacines.

Due to their large size and great beauty, macaws are an excellent flagship species. They 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 and many macaw species have become locally and globally endangered.

Chuncho clay lick in Tambopata, Peru (Photo Credit: Liz Villanueva Paipay)
Chuncho clay lick in Tambopata, Peru (Photo Credit: Liz Villanueva Paipay)

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 1999. Lead by Dr. Donald J. Brightsmith and Dr. Gabriela Vigo-Trauco of the Schubot Center for Avian Health at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS), it has switched its focus since 2020.

Dr. Brightsmith’s team was not the first one to work with macaws in the area. However, they were the first 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. His team now ranks as one of the best in the world when it comes to macaw research and conservation.

Anne Hawkinson handles a psittacine while other folks watch and take photos.
Anne Hawkinson, Tambopata field leader 2014 (Photo Credit: Liz Villanueva Paipay [2014])

After documenting and publishing important baseline data, the mission of The Macaw Society is to efficiently use the information to direct conservation of the studied species in Peru—and in other locations where psittacines are declining and are at risk of extinction. Moving forward, it will operate with a more global perspective throughout the neotropics and work to establish new research alliances.

While The Macaw Society’s research base remains in the Tambopata region, it’s in a new location and no longer associated with eco-tourism companies. Collaborations will continue with the focus shifting to more advising of direct conservation and local action plans.

A section of the Colorado clay lick is visible, with the Andes in the background, as seen from the Tambopata River. (Photo Credits: Liz Villanueva Paipay)

Learn More

Looking to partner with The Macaw Society or need more information?

Contact Us

Gabriela Vigo-Trauco, PhD
Vice President | The Macaw Society
Postdoctoral Research Associate | Schubot Center for Avian Health
Email: or

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
4467 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-4467