Forests

Cascades of color fill the skies as part of ​our newest permanent exhibit, Macaws. The new aviary located between the Alaskan brown bears and Amur tigers will allow you to meet these big, brightly colored birds up close. 

Just Look UpSM flight presentations occur during Magnificent Macaws presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers, and ​will return in the spring of 2018. In the meantime, you can learn more about macaws as well as the conservation challenges facing these species in the wild. About one-third of the world's native macaws are endangered due to the destruction of habitat and the illegal international pet trade.​​ Both the exhibit and presentation are included with Zoo admission and free for Zoo Members. 

Temperate and tropical forests across the world are represented in our Forests exhibits. These environments are dominated by trees and wooded vegetation. Along with various flora and fauna, forests are also characterized by diverse animal species that call it their home. Forests occupy about one third of the Earth's land area and contain nearly 70 percent ​of the carbon present in living things. Whether interacting with tigers, bears, or any other creatures of the trees, you are sure to feel transported away from the cityscape while in our Forests area. These are the animals guests can meet at the Zoo:​

Alaska​n Brown Bear​

1-3-3 Kiak-Jackie Curts.jpgAverage​​ size: 5 to 8 feet in length, 700 pounds

Median life expectancy: 40 years

Key physical characteristics: Beige to dark brown in color; distinctive hump between their shoulders, created by a mass of muscle for upper body strengthNative region/habitat range: Northern forest and mountainous regions of North America, Europe and Asia

Eating habits: Hunt in the morning and evening, known to travel long distances to food sources; eats nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, roots, fish and some larger game.

Conservation status: Least concern

Fun facts: Because cubs stay with their mothers for up to two and a half years and twins are most common, females will only reproduce once every three years. A group of bears is called a sloth or sleuth. Brown bears have a high sense of smell, even better than a dog. So Zoo guests might notice our bears' noses twitching as they move around their exhibit. [close]

Amur Tiger

1-3-3 Amur tiger3-Fred Cate.jpgAverage size: 10.75 feet in length, 400 to 600 pounds​

​Median life expectancy: 26.3 years

Key physical characteristics: Reddish-rusty or rusty-yellow coat with narrow black diagonal stripes

Native region/habitat range: Temperate Russian forests

Eating habits: Rely on sight and hearing when cautiously stalking prey; eats large game, small rodents or birds, fish.

Conservation status: Endangered

Fun facts: No two tigers have the same stripe pattern. Tiger cubs stay with their mothers for up to three years, and are unable to hunt for themselves until they are 18 months old. Tigers are excellent swimmers. [close]​

Bald Eagle

Average size: 34 to 43 inch body, 6- to 8-foot wingspan, 6.5 to 14 pounds

Median life expectancy: 16.5 years

Key physical characteristics: White feathers along head, neck and tail in contrast to dark brown feathers along its body and yellow beak and talons

Native region/habitat range: North America

Eating habits: Glides or dives down over prey, snatching with their talons above ground or water; eats fish, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates

Conservation status: ​Least concern 

Fun facts: The bald eagle is the United States national bird. Bald eagle nests are some of the bird-world's biggest. The largest on record was 9.5 feet wide, 20 feet high and weighed more than 2 tons! Until they are about 5 years old, they lack the white marks that make these eagles so distinguishable.​ [close]​​

Blue-and-Gold Macaw

Average size: Grow up to 35 inches long and weigh up to 1-3 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 80 years

Key physical characteristics: Yellow feathers on their chest, blue-feathered wings and green feathers on the top of their head with a black and white skin mask around the eyes

Native regions/habitat range: Large range from the rainforests of Panama into southern Brazil and Paraguay

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insect

Conservation status: Least concern

Fun facts: A macaw's tongue is dry, scaly and has a bone inside it, all of which makes it an excellent tool for breaking open and eating food.​ [close]

Blue-Throated Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 34 inches long and weigh up to 1-2 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 80 years

Key physical characteristics: Bright blue feathers on their bodies and right below their beaks, whereas the rest of their bodies are yellow

Native regions/habitat range: Native to northern Bolivia; usually found in swampy lowlands to savannah grasslands

Conservation status: Critically endangered

Fun facts: Among the rarest of macaws, less than 200 of these parrots remain in the wild. Blue-throated are often mistaken for the blue-and-gold macaw. But they can be distinguished by the colors on their throat and on top of their heads. ​[close]

Great Green Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 33-35 inches long and weigh up to 1-3 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 60 years

Key physical characteristics: Green bodies with blue outlined feathers and a red patch on the tail and forehead

Native regions/habitat range: Native to central America, found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador; usually found in rainforests

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Endangered

Fun facts: Macaws are playful, curious and are able to mimic human vocalizations very well. [close]​

Green-Winged Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 35 inches long and weigh up to 2-3 pound​s

Median life expectancy: Up to 80 years

Key physical characteristics: Red head and body with bright colored feathers, like green and turquoise, but it's distinguished by its red lines around the eyes and green stripe in the wings

Native regions/habitat range: Native to South America; usually found in rainforests, savannas and mangroves

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Least concern 

Fun facts: Green-winged macaws are often mistaken for scarlet macaws but they can be distinguished by their facial feathers and green on the wings instead of yellow. ​[close]

Hyacinth Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 39.4 inches long and weigh up to 3 to 3.7 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 50 years

Key physical characteristics: Bright blue bodies and feathers with a small outline of yellow around their eyes and beak

Native regions/habitat range: Native to southern Brazil and western Bolivia; usually found in forests and near rivers

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Vulnerable

​Fun facts: The hyacinth macaw is the largest species of all parrots with a wingspan of up to 5 feet. ​[close]

Military Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 30 inches long and weigh up to 1-3 pounds

Median life expectancy: Up to 50 years

Key physical characteristics: Green-feathered bodies but a brighter color range on their wings with a red patch on top of their head

Native regions/habitat range: Ranging from Mexico to Argentina; usually found in foothills, canyons and forests 

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Vulnerable

​Fun facts: Macaws are able to reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. ​[close]

​​​Red Panda

1-3-3 Red panda11-Fred Cate.jpgAverage size: 20 to 26 inches head and body; tail 12 to 20 inches; 12 to 20 pounds

Median life expectanct: ​10.7 years

: Large, bushy, ringed tail; reddish brown coat; waddling gait

Native region/habitat range: Mountain ranges throughout Nepal, Central China and Myanmar

Eating habits: Climb and forage largely in trees; eats primarily bamboo, insects, acorns, eggs and fruit

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Fun facts: The red panda is actually distantly related to the better known, black and white, giant panda. These creatures are very well adapted to colder climates. Red pandas use their fluffy tails to wrap up in during winters in the mountains, and they even have fur on the pads of their feet to help keep them warm. [close]​​​​

​Ring-Tailed Lemur

Average size: 18 to 22 inches, 5 to 8 pounds

Median life expectancy: 16.5 years

Key physical characteristics: Long black-and-white striped tail

Native region/habitat range: Madagascar

Eating habits: Forage on the ground for fruit; also eats leaves, flowers, tree bark, and sap

Conservation status: Near threatened

Fun facts:  Ring-tailed lemurs live in groups of 17 lemurs on average. The groups are called troops and are led by one dominant female. During mating season, the male lemurs show their dominance by attempting to stink more than any of the other male lemurs. [close]

Scarlet Macaws

Average size: Grow up to 32-39 inches long and weigh up to 1-3 pounds 

Median life expectancy: Up to 50 years

Key physical characteristics: Bright red body with yellow and blue feathers on the wings

Native regions/habitat range: Native to southern Mexico to Peru, Bolivia, eastern Brazil and the island of Trinidad; usually found in rainforests and near rivers

Eating habits: Omnivorous; feeds on nuts, seeds, small fruits and insects

Conservation status: Least concern

Fun facts: The scarlet macaw is the national bird of Honduras in order to raise awareness of the varied bird species in the country. [close]

White-Handed Gibbon​

1-3-3 Gibbon Elliot-Fred Cate.jpgAverage size: 16 to 23 inches in length, 9 to 15 pounds

Median life expectancy: 25-30 years

Key physical characteristics: True brachiators, which means they move by swinging, hand over hand, from branch to branch; strong hook-shaped hands and long arms; pale cream to black coats; white markings on face, hands and feet

Native region/habitat range: Tropical rain forests of Southern and Southeast Asia

Eating habits: Climbs to crowns of trees or descend to clumps of bamboo and low bushes, ​to drink; eats fruit, especially figs, leaves and insects

Conservation status: Endangered

Fun facts: Gibbons are apes, not monkeys. Gibbons chose one mate for life and the couples sing duets to announce their territory. They are one of the few primates that sing and their duets can last up to a half an hour at a time, and they have a throat sac that helps to amplify the sound. [close]​​