We didn’t travel all the way to Peru’s remote Manu National Park area to miss visiting a clay lick. Even though parrots and macaws are found in other places around the world, it is only in the Amazon Basin where they come to the licks to eat clay – and sometimes in great numbers.
We had a wonderful buffet “picnic” breakfast on the observation platform while we waited – and then waited some more.
Why would the birds gather high in the trees and not fly down to the clay lick? Danny explained they sensed danger. While we waited, we spotted other birds from our observation point – smooth-billed ani, chestnut-eared aracari, lineated woodpecker, red-capped cardinals, and more.
We thought that any minute they would swoop down to the clay, but still, they were tentative.
Why do parrots and macaws eat clay in Peru and nowhere else? The latest studies suggest it’s due to a sodium-poor diet.
It was a long vigil, but we all celebrated a successful outing to Blanquillo clay lick. After all – for us – it was a once-in-a-lifetime show.
Note: Before our visit to Peru, we did lots of research and chose Manu Expeditions’ 9-day “THE COMPLETE MANU BIOSPHERE RESERVE EXPERIENCE.” http://www.ManuExpeditions.com