Here’s Why Some Birds Eat Dirt


The macaw parrots that inhabit the Western Amazon have one pretty bizarre eating habit: They’ve developed a taste for dirt. While the birds mostly feast on the fruits that grow in the highest branches of the rainforest’s trees, they occasionally swoop down to grab a bite of soil.

In the short National Geographic video “Why Do These Birds Eat Dirt?” ornithologist and National Geographic grantee Luke Powell explains that macaws munch on soil to alleviate a sodium deficiency. While humans might grab a bag of potato chips to satisfy their salt cravings, macaws living far from the ocean have had to get a little more creative, learning to identify sodium-rich soils on the forest floor. Check out the video above to get all the details on the strange dirt-eating macaws of the Western Amazon.

[h/t National Geographic]

Banner Image Credit: National Geographic, YouTube