Geophagy, or soil ingestion, is known from a wide range of animal taxa but is particularly common among macaws and parrots in the family Psittacidae. Current theory suggests that Neotropical parrots ingest soil to neutralize toxins in food such as seeds and unripe fruit and as a mineral supplement. Here, we document the occurrence of geophagy at a site in lowland forest in Bolivia. We recorded six species of parrot with a maximum of 1,044 birds on any one day. Aratinga weddellii, Pionus menstruus and Ara severa (maxima of 654, 337 and 108 birds respectively) were the most numerous species visiting the site. We recommend that the Valle de la Luna be afforded formal protection by incorporating the site into the nearby Parque Nacional Carrasco.
geophagy; parrots; Psittacidae; lowland forest; Bolivia