With it’s rich blue plumage, the Hyacinth Macaw in not just the largest parrot in the world, but one of the most striking in appearance. It’s gray and black bill, gray undersurface feathers and bare golden eye rings create a beautiful contrast with the bird’s cobalt blue coloring.
This Macaw’s bill is curved and pointed, but lacks the tooth-like ridges common with other Macaw species. In fact, the genus name Anodorhynchus derives from the bill characteristics, literally meaning ‘no tooth nose.’
Hyacinth Macaws typically grow to a length of 40 inches and around two and half pounds in weight. The word hyacinth refers to the birds color and is defined as ‘a deep purplish blue to vivid violet.’
Hyacinth Macaws eat mostly palm nuts from the Suagrus commosa and Attalea funifera palm trees. They also eat the coverings of the nutshells, palm fronds and some fruit. They will eat some poisonous and unripe fruits that other animals cannot digest. Like the Green-winged Macaw, the Hyacinth Macaw eats chunks of clay from riverbanks, which is thought to help neutralize the toxins.
Lightly forested areas of Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay.
Mammals such as the Coati, as well as Toucans, Jays and other birds prey upon Macaw eggs, destroying as much as 40 percent of all eggs. However, the worst danger to these beautiful birds is capture for illegal pet trade and hunting for feathers used in local crafts. An estimated 2,500 to 5,000 birds remain in the wild, however the captive population is assumed to be much higher.
The Hyacinth Macaw uses it’s extremely powerful bill to open and eat nuts that are inaccessible to most other animals. They also play an important role in seed dispersal, due to their messy eating habits. These Macaws are nearly fearless and quite noisy. Combined with their dependency on palm trees, this makes these beautiful birds vulnerable to easy capture.
When startled, they will circle overhead and screech loudly. Besides flocking with other Macaws at the riverbank, Hyacinth Macaws have been spotted in groups and pairs, but they usually gather in ‘dormitories’ at the end of the afternoon.
Birth & Offspring
Hyacinth Macaws mature at around seven years old and live in mated pairs and family groups. They will mate once a year during the rainy season, usually from August to December. A female will bear an average of two eggs at one time, remaining in the nest to incubate the eggs for around 28 days.
The young Macaws are very fragile when born in their cliff or tree cavity nest. They remain vulnerable to insects and predators for nearly a month and half, when they become more able to defend themselves. Their first flights only occur after three months, and they remain dependant upon their parents for food up until six months of age.
Like most avian species, Hyacinth Macaws have excellent eyesight and hearing.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.