ROYAL OAK, Mich. -

Two green-winged macaws have soared into the Detroit Zoo?s Free-flight Aviary, joining more than 30 other species of birds that fly freely throughout the tropical sanctuary in the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery.

?These large, colorful parrots add diversity to the aviary and are very popular with Zoo visitors. They can be seen when guests first enter the habitat from the Butterfly Garden, and their loud calls can be heard throughout the building,? said Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Birds Tom Schneider.

Known for its ability to mimic speech and sound, the green-winged macaw (Ara chloropterus) is one of more than 350 species of parrot native to the tropical forests of South America. It is the second largest parrot, after the hyacinth macaw, with an average body length of up to 35 inches and a wing span of 2 feet. Its flight speed can reach up to 35 miles per hour.

Covered predominantly in red feathers, the green-winged macaw is named for the vibrant green hue on its wings. The species is distinguished by the red lines surrounding its eyes, formed by rows of tiny feathers. The bird has a large, curved, strong beak used to pick seeds and nuts in the wild.