Hyacinth Macaw

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image: Hyacinthmacaw.JPG

Common Name: Hyacinth Macaw
Scientific Name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

Size: 39 inches (100 cm)

Habitat: South America; there are three main populations left in the northern part of South America. These are: 1- in the Pantanal region of Brazil and adjacent eastern Bolivia as well as northeastern Paraguay, 2- in the Cerrado region of the eastern interior of Brazil (Maranhão, Piauí, Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais), and 3- 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.

Hyacinth Macaws prefer palm swamps, woodlands, and other semi-open wooded habitats. They usually avoid dense humid forests, and in regions dominated by such habitats, they are 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, particularly the Moriche Palm (Mauritia flexuosa).

Status: Endangered. Global Population: 6,500 mature individuals with a decreasing trend. A very rapid population decline is suspected to have taken place over the last three generations, on the basis of large scale illegal trade, habitat loss and hunting. This is based on a precautionary assumption of a generation length of 15 years. The Hyacinth Macaw is protected by law in Brazil and Bolivia, and commercial export is banned by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). 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. The Minnesota Zoo with BioBrasil and the World Wildlife Fund are involved in Hyacinth Macaw conservation.

Diet: Nuts from native palms, such as acuri and bocaiuva palms.

Breeding: Male and female are identical in external appearance, and juveniles resemble adults except they have shorter tails and the yellow on their faces is paler.

Nesting takes place between July and December, nests are constructed in tree cavities or cliff faces depending on the habitat. In the Pantanal region, 90% of nests are constructed in the manduvi tree (Sterculia apetala). Hollows of sufficient size are only found in trees of around 60 years of age or older, and competition is fierce. Existing holes are enlarged and then partially filled with wood chips.

The clutch size is one or two eggs, although usually only one fledgling survives as the second egg hatches several days after the first, and the smaller fledgling cannot compete with the first born for food. The incubation period lasts about a month, and the male will tend to his mate while she incubates the eggs. The chicks leave the nest, or fledge, at around 110 days of age, and remain dependent on their parents until six months of age. They are mature and begin breeding at seven years of age. Eggs are regularly predated by corvids, possums, coatis and most prolifically toucans.

Cool Facts: English ornithologist John Latham discovered the Hyacinth Macaw in 1790.

Macaw beaks are so strong that they are even able to crack coconuts.

Found in Songbird ReMix Cool 'n' Unusual Birds 3

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