Endangered Species of the Week: Hyacinth macaw
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The hyacinth macaw is the world’s largest species of parrot!
At up to a meter in length and with striking cobalt blue feathers, the hyacinth macaw is certainly a stunning parrot. This species lives in the forests and grasslands of South America, mainly in Brazil, where it feeds mainly on the nuts of native palms. While its powerful bill might make short work of most of these, the acuri nut is so hard that the parrots cannot feed on it until it has passed through the digestive system of cattle. The hyacinth macaw nests in tree cavities or cliff faces, usually laying two eggs, although only one chick will usually survive to maturity. The male tends to the female while the egg is incubated, and the chicks remain dependent on their parents for food until they are around six months old.
The hyacinth macaw population has undergone a dramatic decline due to the destruction of its habitat and also over-collection for the illegal pet trade. In the 1980s it is estimated that at least 10,000 birds were taken from the wild. This species is now protected by law in Brazil, with a number of long-term conservation initiatives established to research and conserve this amazing bird.
Find out more about the hyacinth macaw with the World Parrot Trust.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author