Overview

Brief Summary

Description

Hyacinth macaws are the largest parrots in the world, reaching a massive 100 cm in length (4). They have striking cobalt blue feathers, contrasting with the bare yellow eye ring and yellow patch of skin next to the lower bill (4). The tail is particularly long (2), and the powerful black bill is deeply curved and pointed (4).
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Biology

Nesting takes place between July and December, nests are constructed in tree cavities or cliff faces depending on the habitat (2). In the Pantanal region, 90% of nests are constructed in manduvi trees; existing holes are enlarged and then filled with sawdust (5). Clutches of 2 eggs are commonly laid, although only one chick will usually survive to maturity (5). The incubation period lasts about a month, and the male will tend to his mate whilst she incubates the eggs (5). Although fledging occurs when the chicks are around 3 months old they remain dependent on their parents until 6 months of age (5). The majority of the hyacinth macaw diet is comprised of nuts from native palms, such as acuri and bocaiuva palms (5). The acuri nut is so hard that the parrots cannot feed on it until it has passed through the digestive system of cattle (5).
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Distribution

Range Description

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus occurs in three areas of Brazil: east Amazonia (along the rios Tocantins, Xingu and Tapajós, and possibly persists in Amapá), the Gerais of Maranhão, Piauí, Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais, and in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and marginally into east Bolivia (Santa Cruz), and Paraguay (Concepción, with local reports from Alto Paraguay [R. P. Clay in litt. 1997], but no observations to substantiate these despite significant fieldwork [R. P. Clay in litt. 2011]). Throughout the 1980s the species suffered major declines as an estimated 10,000 birds were illegally captured for the pet trade and widespread habitat destruction and hunting caused a further reduction in numbers (Anon. 2004). The majority of the population is now located in the Pantanal, where since 1990 the species has shown signs of a recovery and expanded its range (Pinho and Nogueira 2003, Anon. 2004), probably in response to conservation projects. Populations in east Amazonia and the Gerais have continued to decline, from an estimated 1,500 individuals in 1986 to 1,000 in 2003. The total population was estimated at 6,500 individuals in 2003, of which 5,000 were in the Pantanal (Anon. 2004) and around 200 in Bolivia (M. Herrera in litt. 2007).

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Range

Interior s Brazil, extreme nw Paraguay and adjacent e Bolivia.

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Geographic Range

Blue macaws are native to the neotropics. The geographic range of blue macaws is from lower Central America to about halfway down the South American continent and is concentrated south of the Amazon River.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

  • Grzimek, B. 1972. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.
  • Ridgley, R. 1980. The Current Distribution and Status of Mainland Neotropical Parrots. Conservation of New World Parrots: 237-238. Accessed April 15, 2004 at http://www.bluemacaws.org/hywild16.htm.
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Range

The hyacinth macaw occurs in three distinct areas in South America, mainly in Brazil. It is found in east Amazonia, east-central Brazil, and in the Pantanal region of southwest Brazil reaching into Bolivia and Paraguay (2).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

As the largest of all parrots, blue macaws are 95 to 100 cm long (37.5 to 39.5 inches), although half that length is tail. They weigh approximately 3.5 pounds (1,200 to 1,700 g) and their wingspans are from 117 to 127 cm. Typically macaws do not have feathers in the area surrounding the eyes and on fairly large areas on the side of the head. Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, however, has only a small ring around the eye and around the base of the lower mandible which are bare, revealing prominent rich yellow skin. Blue macaws are a uniform ultramarine blue, which is rich and glossy. The beak of blue macaws is massive, black and hooked. Like most parrots, the beak is used as a third foot to grasp onto trees, which is helpful for climbing. They have short, sturdy legs, which are useful for hanging sideways and upside-down. Male and female blue macaws are alike.

Range mass: 1200 to 1700 g.

Range length: 95 to 100 cm.

Range wingspan: 117 to 127 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

  • Ridgley, R. 1989. First Among Parrots - Hyacinth Macaws in the wild. Birds International, 1(1).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in várzea and savanna adjacent to tropical forest in east Amazonia, campo cerrado, caatinga and palm-stands in the Gerais, and palm-savannas in the Pantanal. It feeds mostly on the hard fruit of a few regionally endemic palm species (C. Yamashita in litt. 2000) (Scheelea phalerata and Acrocomia aculeata in the Pantanal [Antas et al. 2006]). Nesting is from July-December in large tree-cavities (primarily in Sterculia apetala in the Pantanal [Johnson 1996], and S. pruriens in Amazonia [Presti et al. 2009]) and on cliffs (in the north-east). Two eggs are usually laid, but only one chick normally fledges (C. Yamashita in litt. 2000). The toco toucan Ramphastos toco is responsible for dispersing 83% of the seeds of Sterculia apetala, but also consumes 53% of eggs predated (Pizo et al. 2008).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus prefers semi-open habitats. These are usually forests which have a dry season that prevents the growth of extensive, tall, closed-canopy tropical forest. Blue macaws live in a variety of habitats, including deciduous woodland, cerrado and palm groves, and the palm-Savannas of the Pantanal. The Pantanal is a particularly important habitat for the macaws, providing a large, lush oasis in southern Brazil.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; mountains

Wetlands: swamp

Other Habitat Features: riparian

  • Munn, C. 1989/90. Report on the Hyacinth Macaw. Audubon Wildlife Report: 405-419.
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In different areas of their range these parrots are found in savannah grasslands, in dry thorn forest known as 'caatinga', and in palm stands (2). The Pantanal is a vast area of swampland formed by the flooding of the Paraguay basin; here, hyacinth macaws are found amongst palm-savannahs (2).
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Blue macaws are equipped with large beaks which they use to crack open the shells of nuts. These nuts are usually quite hard, so the bird first files down the thickness of the shell in one area with its beak, and then breaks it cleanly in half. Their large hooked bill is notably efficient when compared to other macaws. Blue macaws feed on 8 species pf palm nuts, which are rich in nutrients and fat. Two of the species of plam trees are Acrocomia iasiopatha and Astryocaryun tucuma. They are largely dependent on palm nuts, but will occasionally feed on small seeds, palm sprouts and snails. Most of the feeding occurs on the ground, though macaws use their ability to climb to pick palm nuts from clusters within the trees. Blue macaws have also been known to eat palm nuts that have passed through the bowls of cattle.

Animal Foods: mollusks

Plant Foods: seeds, grains, and nuts

Primary Diet: herbivore (Granivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus serves an important role in its ecosystem by dispersing seeds and nuts throughout its territory.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Predation

The primary predators of blue macaws are egg predators: jays and crows (family Corvidae), coatis (genus Nasua), toucans (family Ramphastidae), and skunks (subfamily Mephitinae).

Known Predators:

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Known predators

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus is prey of:
Ramphastidae
Corvidae
Nasua
Mephitinae

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known prey organisms

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus preys on:
Mollusca

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Blue macaws have harsh, gutteral calls which they often emit when alarmed.

Communication Channels: acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The lifespan of Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus is unknown, partly because it lives so long. The estimate is around 50 years.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
38.8 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
50 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
38.8 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 38.8 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived 38.8 years in captivity (Brouwer et al. 2000).
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Reproduction

Although blue macaws breed year round, they have a low reproductive rate; from 100 pairs, about 7 to 25 offspring are produced per year. This is counteracted by their longevity; they have lifespans which last decades. Blue macaws are monogamous, usually remaining with one partner for their entire life.

Mating System: monogamous

Blue macaws nest in tree cavities and cliffs, depending on their location. They will nest in dead and living tree hollows usually 4 to 14 m off the ground. Although copulation occurs year round, nesting usually occurs during the wet season, which last from November to April south of the equator. Macaws typically lay one to two eggs per clutch in a two-day interval. The incubation period is between 25 to 28 days. During this period the female spends about 70 percent of her time with the eggs and is fed by the male. Although the eggs are preyed upon by jays, coatis and skunks, among others, the hatching rate is 90 percent successful. The chicks fledge in 13 weeks, but the fledglings stay with the female for about 18 months. They reach sexual maturity in 6 to 10 years.

Breeding interval: Blue macaws breed year round.

Breeding season: Although copulation occurs year round, most nesting takes place between November and April, during the wet season.

Range eggs per season: 1 to 2.

Average eggs per season: 2.

Range time to hatching: 25 to 28 days.

Average fledging age: 13 weeks.

Average time to independence: 18 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 6 to 10 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 6 to 10 years.

Key Reproductive Features: year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Typically, it takes A. hyacinthinus eggs 25 to 28 days to hatch. If both eggs hatch, the mother rears only one. The mother provides the altricial nestling with food and protection. After a week the male joins the female in feeding. Food for the chick consists of regurgitated partially-digested crop contents. The time to fledging is about 13 weeks, and the birds are independent after 18 months.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)

  • Collar, N., L. Gonzaga, N. Krabbe, A. Madroño Nieto, L. Naranjo, T. Parker, D. Wege. 1992. "Entry on the Hyacinth Macaw in Threatened Birds of the Americas" (On-line). Accessed April 14, 2004 at http://www.bluemacaws.org/hywild10.htm.
  • Scheepers, G. 2001. "Hyacinth Macaw" (On-line). Thomasriver Aviaries. Accessed April 14, 2004 at http://www.thomasriver.co.za.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

GCC---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TACCATGCAGGT------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------AAAAAGGAGCCATTTGGCTACATAGGCATGGANTGAGCAATACTATCAATCGGGTTCCTAGGATTTATTGTATGAGCCCACCATATATTCACAGTAGGAATAGACGTAGACACTCGAGCATACTTCACATCCGCCACCATAATCATCGCCATTCCAACAGGAATTAAAGTTTTCAGCTGACTA---GCTACGCTACATGGGGGG---ACCATCAAATGGGACCCCCCTATATTATGAGCCCTCGGATTCATCTTCCTGTTCACCATCGGAGGCCTTACAGGAATCGTCCTAGCAAACTCCTCACTAGACATTGCCCTACACGACACATACTATGTAGTAGCACACTTCCACTATGTC---TTATCAATAGGTGCTGTCTTTGCCATCCTAGCAGGACTCACCCACTGATTCCCCCTATTCACAGGGTACACCTTAAACCAAACATGGGCCAAA
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2cd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Clay, R., Herrera, M., Pryor, J. & Yamashita, C.

Justification
This species qualifies as Endangered because the population has undergone very rapid reductions in the past and the threat from illegal trapping for the cagebird trade plus habitat loss remains (Collar et al. 1992).


History
  • 2012
    Endangered
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Blue macaws live in areas, such as swamps, that are not coveted for agricultural use. However, the population has been steadily declining for many years. Unfortunately, blue macaws live in an area of Brazil that is being rapidly developed. The destruction of their habitat, as well as hunting and trapping by humans, has substantially reduced their numbers. Long term conservation efforts have been made, and now some land owners living in the Patanal do not allow trappers on their property.

A. hyacinthinus is currently listed in Appendix I of CITES, a decision which was made in July of 1987. They are classified as endangered on the IUNC Red List.

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: endangered

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Status

Classified as Endangered (EN - A1bcd+2bcd) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1), listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
Anon (2004) estimated 6,500 individuals (equivalent to 4,300 mature individuals) in 2003, of which 5,000 were in the Pantanal.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
There has been massive illegal trade in the species. At least 10,000 birds were taken from the wild in the 1980s, with 50% destined for the Brazilian market (Mittermeier et al. 1990). In 1983-1984, over 2,500 were flown out of Bahía Negra, Paraguay, with an additional 600 in the late 1980s (J. Pryor in litt. 1998). Although these numbers are now much reduced, illegal trade still continues (e.g. 10 passed through a pet market in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, between August 2004-July 2005, where birds were changing hands for US$ 1,000 and were destined for Peru [Herrera and Hennessey 2007]). There is some local hunting for food and feathers. In Amazonia, there has been habitat loss for cattle-ranching and hydroelectric power schemes on the rios Tocantins and Xingu. In the Pantanal, only 5% of S. apetala trees have suitable cavities (Guedes 1993, Johnson 1996). Young trees are foraged by cattle and burnt by frequent fires (Newton 1994). The Gerais is being rapidly converted to mechanised agriculture, cattle-ranching and exotic tree plantations (Conservation International 1999).

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Hyacinth macaw numbers are in decline as a result of habitat loss and over-collection for the illegal pet trade. In the 1980s, it is estimated that at least 10,000 birds were taken from the wild (2). Throughout the macaw's range, habitat is being lost or altered due to the introduction of cattle ranching and mechanised agriculture, and the development of hydroelectric schemes (2).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II, protected under Brazilian and Bolivian law and banned from export in all countries of origin. It is managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Parrot Technical Advisory Group. Many ranch-owners in the Pantanal (and increasingly in the Gerais) no longer permit trappers on their properties. There are several long-term studies and conservation initiatives (eg. Anon 2004). At the Caiman Ecological Refuge in the Pantanal the Hyacinth Macaw Project has used artificial nests and chick management techniques and raised awareness among cattle ranchers (Anon 2004).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study the current range, population status and extent of trading in the different parts of its range (Snyder et al. 2000). Assess the effectiveness of artificial nest-boxes (Snyder et al. 2000). Enforce legal measures preventing trade. Experiment with ecotourism at one or two sites to encourage donors (Snyder et al. 2000).

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Conservation

The hyacinth macaw is protected by law in Brazil and international trade is prohibited by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (2). There are a number of long-term studies and conservation initiatives in place; the Hyacinth Macaw Project in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul, has carried out important research by ringing individual birds and has created a number of artificial nests to compensate for the small percentage of sites available in the region (5). The effective enforcement of protection laws is required if this beautiful parrot is going to be saved from the fate of the other Brazilian parrots, Lear's (Anodorhynchus leari) and Spix's macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), which now teeter on the brink of extinction.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of A. hyacinthinus on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Blue macaws are economically important to humans in that interest in the bird sparks the tourism industry in Brazil. They are also part of the international live-bird trade. Capture and export of wild birds (although illegal in Brazil) has caused a sharp decline in the population.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; ecotourism

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Wikipedia

Hyacinth macaw

This article is about the bird. For the play by Mac Wellman, see The Hyacinth Macaw.

The hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), or hyacinthine macaw, is a parrot native to central and eastern South America. With a length (from the top of its head to the tip of its long pointed tail) of about 100 cm (3.3 ft) it is longer than any other species of parrot. It is the largest macaw and the largest flying parrot species, though the flightless kakapo of New Zealand can outweigh it at up to 3.5 kg. While generally easily recognized, it can be confused with the far rarer and smaller Lear's macaw. Habitat loss and trapping wild birds for the pet trade has taken a heavy toll on their population in the wild, and as a result the species is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List,[1] and it is protected by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Taxonomy[edit]

English physician, ornithologist and artist John Latham first described the hyacinth macaw in 1790 based on a taxidermic specimen sent to England. It is one of two extant and one probably extinct species of the South American macaw genus Anodorhynchus.

Description[edit]

Upper body

The largest parrot by length in the world, the hyacinth macaw is 100 cm (3.3 ft) long from the tip of its tail to the top of its head and weighs 1.2–1.7 kg (2.6–3.7 lb).[2][3] Each wing is 388–425 mm (15.3–16.7 in) long.[2] The tail is long and pointed.[2] Its feathers are entirely blue, lighter above. However, sometimes, the neck feathers can be slightly grey.

Behavior[edit]

Food and feeding[edit]

The majority of the hyacinth macaw diet is nuts from native palms, such as acuri and bocaiuva palms.[4] They have a very strong beak for eating the kernels of hard nuts and seeds. Their strong beaks are even able to crack coconuts, the large brazil nut pods and macadamia nuts. The birds also boast large, powerful beaks that easily crack nuts and seeds, while their dry, scaly tongues have a bone inside them that makes them an effective tool for tapping into fruits.[5] acuri nut is so hard that the parrots cannot feed on it until it has passed through the digestive system of cattle.[4] In addition, they eat fruits and other vegetable matter. The hyacinth macaw in as a whole generally eats fruits, nuts, nectar, and various kinds of seeds. Also they will travel for the ripest of foods over a vast location.[6]

In the Pantanal, hyacinth macaws feed almost exclusively on the nuts of Acrocomia aculeata and Attalea phalerata palm trees. This behaviour was recorded by the English naturalist Henry Walter Bates in his 1863 book The Naturalist on the River Amazons, where he wrote that

It flies in pairs, and feeds on the hard nuts of several palms, but especially of the Mucuja (Acrocomia lasiospatha). These nuts, which are so hard as to be difficult to break with a heavy hammer, are crushed to a pulp by the powerful beak of this macaw.

—Bates[7]

Charles Darwin remarked on Bates's account of the species, calling it a "splendid bird" with its "enormous beak" able to feed on these palm nuts.[8]

Tool use[edit]

Limited tool use has been observed in both wild and captive hyacinth macaws. There exist reported sightings of tool use in wild parrots going as far back as 1863. Examples of tool use that have been observed usually involve a chewed leaf or pieces of wood. Macaws will often incorporate these items when feeding on harder nuts. The use of these items allows the nuts the macaws eat to remain in position (prevent slipping) while they gnaw into it. It is not known whether this is learned social behavior or an innate trait but observation on captive macaws shows that hand-raised macaws exhibit this behavior as well. Comparisons show that older macaws were able to open seeds more efficiently.[9]

Reproduction[edit]

A pair and their nest in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Nesting takes place between July and December, nests are constructed in tree cavities or cliff faces depending on the habitat.[10] In the Pantanal region, 90% of nests are constructed in the manduvi tree (Sterculia apetala). The hyacinth depends on its predator, the toucan, for its livelihood. The toucan contributes largely to seed dispersal of the Manduvi tree that the macaw needs for reproduction.[11] However, the toucan is responsible for dispersing 83% of the seeds of Sterculia apetala, but also consumes 53% of eggs predated[12] Hollows of sufficient size are only found in trees of around 60 years of age or older, and competition is fierce.[13] Existing holes are enlarged and then partially filled with wood chips.[14] The clutch size is one or two eggs,[4] although usually only one fledgling survives[4] as the second egg hatches several days after the first, and the smaller fledgling cannot compete with the first born for food. A possible explanation for this behavior is what is called the insurance hypothesis. The macaw will lay more eggs than can be normally fledged to compensate for earlier eggs that failed to hatch or first born chicks that did not survive.[15] The incubation period lasts about a month, and the male will tend to his mate whilst she incubates the eggs.[4] The chicks leave the nest, or fledge, at around 110 days of age,[citation needed] and remain dependent on their parents until six months of age.[4] They are mature and begin breeding at seven years of age.

General traits[edit]

Hyacinth macaws are the largest psittacine. They are also very even-tempered and can be calmer than other macaws, being known as "gentle giants".[16] An attending veterinarian needs to be aware of specific nutritional needs and pharmacologic sensitivities when it comes to dealing with them. Possibly due to genetic factors or captive rearing limitations, this species can become neurotic/phobic, which is problematic.[17]

In captivity, as pets[edit]

Hyacinths are known to make excellent pets, but require an owner with extensive knowledge of how to care for them, preferably an expert. Their beaks are extremely powerful, making it important that they are taught, while young, to not bite people. However, if this is done properly they can have excellent interactions with humans. The macaws also need plenty of space for roaming and exercise; without this they may not remain healthy, with possible impacts on conservation efforts and may lead to being aggressive, and vicious.[16]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Hyacinth macaws in their natural habitat, the Pantanal, Bolivia.

The hyacinth macaw survives today in three main populations in South America: In the Pantanal region of Brazil, and adjacent eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay, in the Cerrado region of the eastern interior of Brazil (Maranhão, Piauí, Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais), and in the relatively open areas associated with the Tocantins River, Xingu River, Tapajós River, and the Marajó island in the eastern Amazon Basin of Brazil. It is possible that smaller, fragmented populations occur in other areas. It prefers palm swamps, woodlands, and other semi-open wooded habitats. It usually avoids dense humid forest, and in regions dominated by such habitats, it is generally restricted to the edge or relatively open sections (e.g. along major rivers). In different areas of their range these parrots are found in savannah grasslands, in dry thorn forest known as caatinga, and in palm stands,[10] particularly the Moriche Palm (Mauritia flexuosa).[18]

Conservation and threats[edit]

At La Palmyre Zoo, France

The hyacinth macaw is an endangered species due to the cage bird trade and habitat loss.[10] In the 1980s, it is estimated that at least 10,000 birds were taken from the wild and at least 50% were destined for the Brazilian market.[19] Throughout the macaw's range, habitat is being lost or altered due to the introduction of cattle ranching and mechanised agriculture, and the development of hydroelectric schemes.[10] Annual grass fires set by farmers can destroy nest trees, and regions previously inhabited by this macaw are now unsuitable also due to agriculture and plantations. Locally, it has been hunted for food, and the Kayapo Indians of Gorotire in south-central Brazil use its feathers to make headdresses and other ornaments. While overall greatly reduced in numbers, it remains locally common in the Brazilian Pantanal, where many ranch-owners now protect the macaws on their land.[20]

The hyacinth macaw is protected by law in Brazil and Bolivia,[10] and commercial export is banned by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).[21] There are a number of long-term studies and conservation initiatives in place; the Hyacinth Macaw Project in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul, has carried out important research by ringing individual birds and has created a number of artificial nests to compensate for the small percentage of sites available in the region.[4]

The Minnesota Zoo with BioBrasil[22] and the World Wildlife Fund[14] are involved in hyacinth macaw conservation.

Causes of endangerment[edit]

Parrots as a whole, being of the family Psittacidae, are one of the most threatened birds in the world. This family has the most endangered species of all bird families, especially in the Neotropics, the natural home of the hyacinth macaw, where 46 out of 145 species are at a serious risk of global extinction [23] This species qualifies as endangered on the IUCN Red List because the population has suffered rapid reductions with the remaining threats of illegal trapping for the cage bird trade and habitat loss [24] A few serious threats to the survival of the species in the Pantanal include human activities; mainly those resulting in habitat loss, the burning of land for pasture maintenance, and illegal trapping [25] The exceptionally noisy, fearless, curious, sedentary, and predictable nature of this species, along with its specialization to only one or two species of palm in each part of its range makes them especially vulnerable to capture, shooting, and habitat destruction.[26] Eggs are also regularly predated by corvids, possums, and coatis.[27] Adults have no known natural predators.[3] The young are parasitized by larvae of flies of the genus Philornis.[28]

Although the species has a low genetic variability, it does not necessarily pose a threat to their survival. This genetic structure accentuates the need for protection of hyacinth macaws from different regions in order to maintain the genetic diversity of this species. Nevertheless, the most important factors negatively affecting the wild population prove to be habitat destruction and nest poaching.[29]

In the Pantanal, habitat loss is largely contributed to the creations of pastures for cattle; while in many other regions it is the result of clearing out land for colonization.[30] Similarly, large amounts of habitat in Amazonia have been lost for cattle-ranching and hydroelectric power schemes on the Tocantins and Xingu rivers. Many young manduvi trees are then being grazed on by cattle or burnt by fire, and the Gerias is speedily being converted to land for mechanized agriculture, cattle ranching, and exotic tree plantations.[31] Annual grass fires set by farmers destroy a great deal of nest trees, and the rise of agriculture and plantations has made habitats formerly populated by the macaws unsuitable to maintain their livelihoods.[24] Moreover, increase in commercial demand for feather art by the Kayapo Indians threatens the species as up to 10 macaws are needed to make a single headdress.[26]

In the event of the macaw being taken from its natural environment, a variety of factors alter their health such as inadequate hygiene conditions, feeding and overpopulation during the illegal practice of pet trade. Once captured and brought into captivity, mortality rates can become very high.[30] Records reveal a Paraguayan dealer receiving 300 unfeathered young in 1972, with all but three not surviving. Due to the poor survival rates of the young, poachers concentrate more heavily on adult birds, which depletes the population at a rapid pace.[26]

According to Article 111 of Bolivian Environmental Law #1333, all persons involved in the trade, capture and transportation without authorization of wild animals will suffer a 2-year prison sentence, along with a fine equivalent to 100% of the value of the animal.[32] While many trackers have been arrested, the illegal pet trade still largely continues in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Unfortunately, animal trafficking is not necessarily viewed as a priority in the city, leaving National departmental and municipal governments unwilling to halt the trade in city centers, and local police reluctant to get involved. This ideology has in turn resulted in a lack of enforcement regarding trade in both CITES-restricted species and threatened species, with little to no restrictions regarding humane treatment of the animals, disease control or proper hygiene. In the trade centers, the hyacinth macaw demanded the highest price of $1,000 in US currency, proving it to be a very desirable and valued bird in the pet trade industry.[33]

Conservation steps taken to preserve the hyacinth macaw[edit]

In 1989 the European Endangered Species Programme for the hyacinth macaw was founded as a result of concerns about the status of the wild population and the lack of successful breeding in captivity.[32] Breeding in captivity still remains difficult, being that hand-reared hyacinth macaw offspring have demonstrated to have higher mortality rates, especially within the first month of life. Additionally, they have a higher incidence of acute crop stasis than other macaw species due, in part, to their specific dietary requirements.[34] The hyacinth macaw is protected by law in Brazil and Bolivia, and international trade is prohibited by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.[24] Appendix I has banned exporting the bird in all countries of origin, and several studies and conservational initiatives have been taken.[31] The Hyacinth Macaw Project in the Caiman Ecological Refuge, located in the Pantanal, has employed artificial nests and chick management techniques, along with effectively raising awareness among cattle ranchers. Many ranch-owners in the Pantanal and Gerais no longer allow trappers on their properties to protect the birds.[31]

A number of conservation actions have been proposed, including the study of the current range, population status and extent of trading in different parts of its range. Additionally, propositions have been made to assess the effectiveness of artificial nest-boxes, enforce legal measures preventing trade, and experiment with ecotourism at one or two sites to encourage donors.[31] Furthermore, the Hyacinth Macaw Project in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul, has carried out important research by ringing individual birds and has created a number of artificial nests to compensate for the small percentage of sites available in the region.[24] Furthermore, there have been propositions to list the species as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act to further protective measures in the USA and to create Bolivian and Paraguayan trade management authorities under presidential control.[26]

Long Term Prospects[edit]

It has been argued that each of the three main populations must be managed as a separate biological entity so as to avoid numbers dropping below 500. While the birds may be in decline in the wild, there are notably higher populations of captive macaws as thousands are being held in zoos and private collections. If there is success in managing and replanting the macaw’s food-trees and erecting nest boxes as an experiment in the Pantanals, the species could survive with strong population numbers. Survival rates could also be enhanced if ranch owners would leave all large and potential nest trees standing and eliminate all trapping on their properties. Ultimately, would these factors work in tandem with erection of nest boxes, fencing off of certain saplings and the planting of others, the long-term prospects of the hyacinth macaw species would be greatly improved.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2014). "Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Forshaw (2006). plate 70.
  3. ^ a b ADW: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus: Information
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Hyacinth Macaw". WWF. Archived from the original on 2002-11-04. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  5. ^ http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/macaw/. Retrieved 24 October 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/the-real-macaw/endangered-tropical-jewels/2734/
  7. ^ Bates, H. W. (1864). The naturalist on the River Amazons. London: J. Murray. Pages 79–80. (1st (long) ed. 1863
  8. ^ Darwin, Charles (1863). "An Appreciation: The Naturalist on the River Amazons by Henry Walter Bates". Natural History Review, vol iii. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Borsari, Andressa (2004). "SHORT COMMUNICATION". Preliminary observations of tool use in captive hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). Springer-Verlag. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus): BirdLife species factsheet". BirdLife International. Retrieved 19 September 2013.  - via ARKive
  11. ^ Pizo, Marco A., Camila I. Donatti, Neiva R. Guedes, and Mauro Galetti. "Conservation Puzzle: Endangered Hyacinth Macaw Depends on Its Nest Predator for Reproduction." Biological Conservation 143.3 (2008): 792-96. Web Of Science. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.
  12. ^ "Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus". Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Pizo,Marco Aurelio; Donatti, Camila I. Neiva, Maria R.; Guedes, Mauro Galetti, Marco Aurélio; Donatti, Camila I.; Guedes, Neiva Maria R.; Galetti, Mauro (2008). "Conservation puzzle: Endangered hyacinth macaw depends on its nest predator for reproduction". Biological Conservation 141 (3): 792–96. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.12.023. 
  14. ^ a b Brouwer, Meindert (21 April 2004). "The hyacinth macaw makes a comeback". WWF. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  15. ^ KUNIY, A A. (2006). "Handling technique to increase the hyacinth macaw population (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) (Lalham, 1720) - Report of an experience in Pantanal, Brazil.". Brazilian Journal of Biology. 66(1B): 381–382. 
  16. ^ a b Kalhagen, Alyson. "Hyacinth Macaws". Pet Birds. About.com. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  17. ^ Lennox, Angela. "The companion bird". (Cl inical Avian Medicine - Volume I ed.). p. 35. 
  18. ^ Forshaw (2006). page 95.
  19. ^ "Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus". 1990. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  20. ^ http://www.arkive.org/hyacinth-macaw/anodorhynchus-hyacinthinus/
  21. ^ "The CITES Appendices". CITES. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "BioBrasil and the Minnesota Zoo working to save Hyacinth Macaws". Minnesota Zoo. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  23. ^ Timothy F. Wright, C.A. Toft, E. E. Hoeflich et al. 2002. Nest Poaching in Neotropical Parrots. Conservation Biology 15: 710-720.
  24. ^ a b c d Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus: Hyacinth Macaw. 2013. Encyclopedia of Life.
  25. ^ Pinho, J. B., and Nogueira, Flavia M. B. 2003. Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) reproduction in the northern Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Ornitologia Neotropical 14: 29-38.
  26. ^ a b c d e Collar, N. J., A. T. Juniper. Dimensions and Causes of the Parrot Conservation Crisis. International Council for Bird Preservation 1-6, 9,12-15,19.
  27. ^ Predator of the world's largest macaw key to its survival
  28. ^ Allgayer, M. C.; Guedes, N. M. R.; Chiminazzo, C.; Cziulik, M.; Weimer, T. A., MC; Guedes, NM; Chiminazzo, C; Cziulik, M; Weimer, TA (2009). "Clinical Pathology and Parasitologic Evaluation of Free Living Nestlings of the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)". Journal of Wildlife Diseases 45 (4): 972–81. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-45.4.972. PMID 19901373. 
  29. ^ Faria, P. J., N. M. R. Guedes, C. Yamashita, P. Martuscelli, C. Y. Miyaki. 2008. Genetic variation and population structure of the endangered Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus): implications for conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation 17: 765-779.
  30. ^ a b Tania F. R, Glaucia H. F. R., Nevia M. R. G., Aramis A. G. 2006. Chlamydophila psittaci in free-living Blue-fronted Amazon parrots (Amazona aestiva) and Hyacinth macaws Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Veterinary Microbiology 117: 235-241.
  31. ^ a b c d Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus Hyacinthinus). 2013. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, n.d.
  32. ^ a b Luecker, H., S. Patzwahl. 2000. The European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for the Hyacinth macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus from 1989 to 1998. International Zoo Yearbook 37: 178-183
  33. ^ Mauricio, H., B. Hennessey. 2007. Priority Contribution: Quantifying the illegal parrot trade in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, with emphasis on threatened species. Bird Conservation International. Caimbridge, UK.
  34. ^ Casares, M., F. Enders. 1998. Experiences in the hand-rearing of hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) in Loro Parque. Zoologische Garten 68: 65-74.

Cited texts[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • del Hoyo et al., 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 4.
  • Caldas, Sergio T. and L Candiasani. 2005. Arara-Azul. DBA Dórea Books and Art, São Paulo, São Paulo.
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