The Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is the largest flying parrot. Its length reaches one meter. It has a distinctive coloration, which determined the name of the species. A neat head, eyes framed by bright yellow circles, has a large rounded beak. Has a developed intellect. Hears and recognizes human speech and the sounds of nature. It has been proven that the hyacinth macaw not only repeats human speech, but reproduces words quite meaningfully. Asks and answers questions, participates in conversation.
View origin and description
The hyacinth macaw belongs to the chordate type, the bird class, the parrot order. One of the two described species of the genus A. hyacinthinus.
Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus or the great hyacinth macaw was first described and sketched in detail by the British ornithologist John Leyten at the end of the 18th century. An English naturalist described the bird on the basis of a taxidermy specimen sent to England from the colonies. The first work on the description of a large blue bird with a prominent beak dates back to 1790 and is entitled Psittacus hyacinthinus.
Video: Hyacinth Macaw
The modern name of the largest flying parrot on the planet & # 8212; Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus. The length of the body from head to tail is from 100 to 130 centimeters. Plumage amazing sapphire color. The head is small, neat, completely covered with small feathers. A spectacular ring around the eyes and a stripe framing the beak like a mustache in bright yellow. The Hyacinth Macaw can be recognized by its long tail and large, powerful beak. Habitat Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
The second representative of the species — the small hyacinth macaw Anodorhynchus leari was described by the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte in the middle of the 19th century. Karl Bonaparte described the bird exactly one year before his own death.
Carl Bonaparte noted several differences between the first and second species of parrots. The lesser hyacinth macaw has the same coloration, but the wings are slightly darker, and the head, chest and belly have a green tint. The main difference is the size and weight of the bird. The body length was 75 cm, and the weight was 800 grams. It lives in remote areas in the Northeast of Brazil.
Appearance and features
Hyacinth macaws are the largest flying parrots in the world. With a solid weight for birds from 800 grams to 1 kilogram, they are able to overcome not very long distances. The bird leads a sedentary lifestyle. It does not migrate, does not change habitats, remains in the territories traditional for its species throughout its life. However, in search of food, it can fly a dozen kilometers, and then return to the nest for the night.
Hyacinth macaws make their homes in the hollows of the Panama tree. The tree belongs to the flowering family Malvaceae and has soft and pliable wood, which allows parrots to expand and deepen natural hollows. Parrots choose large and fairly comfortable recesses. If necessary, line the bottom of the hollow with dry leaves, sticks and feathers, which are found in the crowns of trees and on the ground. The nesting height can reach 40 meters above the ground.
Due to their large stature and sharp mind, hyacinth macaws are called gentle giants. Parrots got this nickname for their ability to use affectionate words correctly. A smart bird speaks the languages of its owners, perfectly analyzes speech, enters into dialogues, knows how to joke. The blue macaw is balanced and friendly, making a good companion.
The largest known hyacinth macaw in the world has reached 1 meter in length. Its weight is 1.8 kg. The length of the wing is 42 cm. The tail is long and pointed. Gorgeous blue wings change color to a lighter tone at the ends. Neck color with a slight smoky tint.
Where does the hyacinth macaw live?
The hyacinth macaw lives in the thinned, not dense and abundant food forests of South America. The original habitats are in the selva. This part of the forest is located along tropical rivers. Abundant in fruits, berries and nuts. There is enough food here, tree branches serve as protection and at the same time there is enough space for flights.
Gentle giants can be found in the vast territories of Bolivia, covered with a grid of tropical rivers, for example, in the subtropical forests of the foothill regions. The traditional habitat of the hyacinth macaw is in the Amazon basin, as well as in the swampy area of u200bu200bPantanal do Rio Negro.
Three main sites are known in South America:
- the Pantanal tectonic basin in Brazil, adjacent eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay;
- in the Cerrado region in eastern Brazil (Maranhao, Piauí, Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Minas Gerais);
- open areas along the Tocantins, Xingu, Tapajos and Marajo Islands in the eastern Amazon basin in Brazil.
Small populations found in palm bogs, woodlands and other semi-open wooded areas. The hyacinth macaw avoids dense, moist forest. These parrots are found in savanna meadows, in dry spiny forests.
What does the hyacinth macaw eat?
Most of the Hyacinth Macaw’s diet is based on nuts from native akuri and bocayuwa palms. Strong beaks are adapted for eating hard kernels of nuts and seeds. Blue parrots can even crack open coconuts, large brazil nuts and macadamia nuts.
The food preferences of the great blue parrot are tied to nuts. The hyacinth macaw’s diet contains brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts. The bird of this species has dry, rough tongues. They are adapted for peeling and extracting fruits.
The blue macaw is not averse to picking up the akuri nut. Despite the fact that this nut is excessively hard and, when fresh, it is too hard «tooth» parrot, the birds have adapted to look for it in the litter of cattle. Smart birds come to pastures specifically to feast on this nut.
In addition, they eat fruits, plant seeds. Do not mind eating bakuri, mandakaru, pinyau, sapukai, peki, inga, cabasinha-do-campo, pitomba, buriti, karguata, white jabuticaba, guava, guarana and other fruits. In the Pantanal, hyacinths collect the nuts of the palm trees Acrocomia aculeata, Attalea phalerata and Acrocomia lasiospatha.
Character and lifestyle features
Hyacinth macaw forms couples. Families gather in small flocks. This makes it easier to find food and care for the chicks. In search of food, parrots fly off their nests for several kilometers and always come back.
Large Blue Parrot — very curious bird, communicates with other representatives of the fauna of South America. Plays the sounds of wildlife, mimics other animals. In wildlife, life expectancy can reach 90 years.
It has a sharp, guttural whistle. Able to wheeze, whistle and grumble. The sound made by the hyacinth macaw can be carried for several kilometers. This is how parrots warn of danger. Being in a good mood, they can communicate with their fellow tribesmen for a long time, walking or swinging on tree branches.
In captivity, they listen and understand music. They move to the beat, dance and make sounds to the beat of the music.
Birds are highly intelligent. In captivity, they show affection for their owners. Imitate speech. Understand words and commands. Parrots of this species are used as circus performers. Touchy, remember mistreatment, offended due to lack of attention, sad and angry. Subject to stress. In protest or sadness, they may pluck their feathers and refuse to eat.
Social structure and reproduction
Nesting at the hyacinth macaw falls on the period from July to December. As nests, parrots use ready-made tree hollows or in rock crevices.
In a way, the hyacinth macaw is dependent on the toucan, which is the seed-distributor of the manduvi tree — Sterculia apetala. It is the one most suitable for nesting. Its soft and pliable wood is suitable for expanding and enlarging nests. But, unfortunately, the toucan is also responsible for eating the eggs of the hyacinth macaw.
Great blue parrots start mating at 7 years old. Males care for females, offering them the most delicious pieces of fruits and nuts, affectionately pulling feathers and caressing.
Courtship ends with mating and oviposition. There are no more than two in a clutch. As a rule, out of two hatched chicks, only one survives. The reason is that parrots lay their eggs at intervals of several days. The chicks hatch at the same interval. The younger chick cannot compete with the older chick in food claims and usually dies of malnutrition.
Incubation lasts about 30 days. The male takes care of the female while she incubates the eggs. About three months after incubation, the chicks leave the nest, but remain dependent on their parents for up to six months.
Natural enemies of hyacinth macaws
In wildlife, large blue parrots have a lot of enemies. First of all, these are predators from the order of birds. The vulture — turkey, yellow-headed cathart, king vulture, osprey, as well as cayenne and long-billed kites. Harpies, ospreys and more than 12 species of hawk birds love parrots.
Some birds actively hunt hyacinth parrots, while others are not averse to feasting on their eggs. Toucans and jays have been seen devastating parrot nests. Sometimes wild cats, snakes and a large number of raccoons make raids on masonry. Nosoha deftly climb trees and climb into nests. There are cases when they fought with parrots for laying.
Large and medium-sized tree snakes also hunt not only for eggs and newborn brood. Among the most dangerous snakes are the boa constrictor, anaconda, and lizards. Wild forest cats are not averse to feasting on parrots: ocelot, forest tiger cat and straw cat.
However, the main danger for the hyacinth parrot is a person. Beautiful feathers and a valuable beak make the hyacinth macaw a desirable prey. Accessories are decorated with feathers, used for making souvenirs and amulets.
Hatched chicks are taken from the nests for further resale to private collectors and zoos. Due to the quiet and docile nature of the hyacinth macaw — desired purchase. In captivity, the blue parrot does not breed. Large parrots are affectionate and sociable creatures. Their ability to communicate and reproduce speech raises their price.
Indians of some tribes from southern and central Brazil use hyacinth parrot feathers for traditional headdresses and national ornaments.
In addition, birds suffer from loss of natural habitat. Selva, tropical rainforests are disappearing as a result of human activities. Forests are cut down and burned. This is how people free land for new farmland and industrial construction.
Population and species status
The Hyacinth Macaw is an endangered species due to black market trade, poaching and habitat loss. According to official data, only in the 80s of the last century, about ten thousand birds were removed from the wild. Approximately half were destined for the domestic Brazilian market.
In 1972 a Paraguayan dealer received 300 fledglings, only 3 birds survived. Hunting for young individuals led to the depletion of the population. The population is also affected by the disappearance of traditional habitats. The range is changing due to pastoralism and mechanized agriculture, as well as due to the construction of hydroelectric power plants.
Farmers start annual grass fires that destroy nesting sites for parrots. Bird nesting sites are no longer suitable for life and breeding. In their place were plantations of vegetables, fruits and tobacco. Parrots belonging to the Psittacidae family are endangered. 46 out of 145 species are subject to global extinction.
By the beginning of the 21st century, the number of large blue parrots did not exceed 3000 individuals. The threatened position of the species has forced people to introduce urgent measures to preserve rare birds. Over the past two decades, the population has doubled — 6400 individuals.
Hyacinth Macaw Conservation
The governments of South American countries located in the original habitats of hyacinth macaws are taking a number of measures to preserve the population. A program has been launched to preserve the rare species in the wild, as well as its breeding in captivity.
The Great Blue Parrot is protected by law in Brazil and Bolivia. International trade and export are prohibited. A number of measures have been taken to help restore the environment. The Hyacinth Macaw Project has created an ecological bird sanctuary in the Pantanal Nature Reserve in Brazil.
Ornithologists have been able to use artificial nests and methods of rearing chicks in natural conditions. This increases the immunity and survival of young birds in the natural environment.
Non-government organizations and animal rights activists conduct educational work among the local population. Farmers and ranchers in the Pantanal and Gerais have been warned of criminal liability for habitat destruction and bird traps.
Thanks to the Hyacinth Macaw project, special police departments have been created in Bolivia and Paraguay to combat poachers and smugglers who sell live goods. For illegal capture and trade of birds, violators are punished with two years in prison and a fine equivalent to the full value of the animal.
Populations in zoos and private collections are increasing. Ornithologists hope that in case of successful restoration of historical bird habitats and installation of artificial nests on fruit trees, it will be possible to move parrots from captivity to wildlife.
Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus — the largest and one of the most beautiful parrots in the world. Previously, its range extended in the central part of Brazil to Mato Grosso. Small populations are still found in Paraguay and Bolivia. There are two main reasons for the rapid decline in the number of hyacinth macaws.
Firstly, the hyacinth macaw attracts poachers who sell the birds on the illegal market at exorbitant prices. Second, habitat destruction is rapidly progressing. The third threat is looming in the near future.