The perfect destination for travelers to observe exotic parrots is the famous clay licks also known as collpa in the Amazon rainforest. This is where dozens of birds gather everyday to eat clay. This phenomenon has arisen some questions like: Why does it happen? why do birds eat clay? Well, keep reading to find out more about Clay Licks.
The High pH Number
A clay lick or collpa is a naturally formed wall of clay on a riverbank caused by erosion from the river. Every morning parakeets, parrotlets, also macaws, and other birds flock to these clay licks to eat clay, creating an incredible wildlife spectacle.
Acidic fungi affects the fruit found in the Amazon jungle, which of course affects the animals who eat it. So, there’s a hypothesis that by eating the clay, which is rich in pH, birds are able to balance out this dangerous acidity and protect themselves from health problems such as, liver damage and a weakened immune system.
The Lack of Minerals
Clay has salt and magnesium, which are essential for healthy operation of vital muscles like: the cardiac muscles (heart) and smooth muscles of the viscera as well as the nervous systems. The most accepted hypothesis about birds eating clay is that they lack certain vitamins and minerals in their diets such as salt and magnesium. So by eating clay they can get these vitamins.
Although these hypotheses are very credible, there haven’t been confirmed. What we know for sure is that eating this clay offer microbiological benefits, such as protecting the animal’s stomachs against toxins, and parasites.
The best place in the Amazon to see these clay licks full of birds is: Yasuni National Park, which is probably the most important treasure on the northeastern part of Ecuador’s Amazonian Rainforest and it is home of many species of plants, birds and animals than almost anywhere else on earth.
Our hotel, Yacuma Ecolodge, is located on the boundaries of this park. A short 30 minutes’ walk from our lodge, will take you to the base of a cliff where early in the morning you can be able to observe dozens of parrots and other jungle birds approaching the cliff. For parrot enthusiasts, visiting a parrot clay lick is to be one of the most memorable highlights of your trip to the Amazon Rainforest. Our programs include accommodations in our comfortable Yacuma Ecolodge bungalows provided with private facilities (hot and cold water), delicious food prepared by our native chefs, purified water, land and motorized canoe transport, rubber boots, an expert bilingual birdwatching guide, a local indigenous (Kichwa and Huaorani) guides, all excursions and activities outlined in the programs. To reserve your room click here.