Hyacinth Macaw

Name: Hyacinth Macaw
Scientific name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Range: Central Northeastern, central and southwestern Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay.
Habitat: lightly forested areas in the seasonally flooded grasslands of Brazil's and Bolivia's Pantanal.
Status: Rare to endangered. 
Diet in the wild: Variety of seeds and fruits from trees and vines, they also eat clay.
Diet in the zoo: Various nuts
Location in the zoo:  Just beyond Raptor Canyon on the upper walkway (coming from the Zoo entrance). 

Physical description: 

  • Typical length is 100 centimeters or about 40 inches. 
  • Typical weight of a captive-bred adult is 1,250 grams or about 2 1/2 pounds. 
  • Plumage is predominately a deep cobalt blue.
  • Flight and tail feathers are dark gray on their undersurface. 
  • Its huge, gray to black bill is deeply curved down and sharply pointed. 
  • There are two bare areas of the face, a prominent and deeply golden colored eye rind and the pre-mandibular area making a beatutiful contrast with the rich blue plumage. 
  • Immature Hyacinths have similar plumage to adults.
General information: 

Hyacinths live in the wild as mated pairs and remain constant from season to season.  They also live in family groups that consist of the parents and their offspring.  The Hyacinth are seasonal breeders, breeding after the rainy season.  The rainy season is usually from August and December.  Clutches are usually 2 eggs.  Because the babies stay in the nest for so long the Hyacinth only breed every other year. See these photos of baby hyacinth macaws by William Clark.

The Hyacinth use the Maduvi trees for nesting as well as the sides of cliffs.  The Hyacinth, like other parrots, tend to congregate in the evening in roosting trees where they spend the night.

Special anatomical, physiological 
or behavioral adaptations:

 The hyacinth macaw's large bill reflects its food preference; it uses its bill to score and then - in steel-cutter fashion - shear the nuts in two. The hyacinth macaw cuts open palm nuts so cleanly that the cut surfaces resemble the work of a metal-cutting saw or laser rather than of a bird or mammal. 

Many South American palm species have evolved very hard nut shells to prevent predation by hyacinth macaws. Each time a palm plant produced a harder, better-defended seed, the individual hyacinth macaws with the largest bills probably were disproportionately able to crack the seeds. Hence, they passed their "big bill" genes down to their offspring, leading to larger and larger bills in each generation.

The hyacinth macaw's impressive vocalizations include a variety of very loud, harsh, guttural squawks that can be heard over a kilometer or more in the wild. Due in part to the bird's massive size, its calls are much lower in frequency than the calls of other macaws.



More Pictures of Hyacinth Macaws

Personal Observations: 

While at the Fort Worth Zoo observing these birds I noticed how playful they were.  They are truely a magnificent animal, their size and beautiful coloration is really breath taking.  I could have sat there watching them for hours.  It was very calming and they would do some funny things at times. 

Source Materials and Related Links:
  • .Report on the Hyacinth Macaw. Audubon Wildlife Report(1989/90, pages 405-419). By Charles A. Munn.

  • Foundation for the Preservation of the Hyacinth Macaw
  • http://www.funnyfarmexotics.com/IAS/hyacpj96.htm
  • http://www.bluemacaws.org
    Page author: {short description of image}Monica Reich

    Send E-mail to mlreich11@yahoo.com

    or to mac@whozoo.org

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