Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
Order: Psittaciformes, Family: Psittacids
Hyacinth macaws grow to approximately 33 to 40 inches in length, and weigh about 3 pounds. Their wingspan measures 46 to 50 inches and their tail 21 inches.
The hyacinth has violet-blue plumage with a deeper shade on its wings. The underside of its wings and tail feathers are blackish-blue. It has a black beak and dark brown iris a with yellow circle of skin around the eyes. A yellow line lies across its black tongue.
Its huge bill is deeply curved and sharply pointed, and it has a pair of short, sturdy legs and gray feet.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
- Hyacinth macaws grow to approximately 33 to 40 inches in length, and weigh about 3 pounds. Their wingspan measures 46 to 50 inches and their tail 21 inches.
- The hyacinth has violet-blue plumage with a deeper shade on its wings. The underside of its wings and tail feathers are blackish-blue. It has a black beak and dark brown iris a with yellow circle of skin around the eyes. A yellow line lies across its black tongue.
- Its huge bill is deeply curved and sharply pointed, and it has a pair of short, sturdy legs and gray feet.
- The hyacinth macaw's range covers the interior of northeastern, central and southwestern Brazil and easternmost Bolivia.
- It prefers the seasonally drier forests of the eastern Amazon and river drainages south and east of the Amazon basin.
- Hyacinths nest in hollow tree trunks and in holes on cliff faces.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
- The hyacinth macaw consumes a nutritious, fat-rich meat of palm nuts and occasionally eats small seeds, palm sprouts and snails.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
- The hyacinth nests during the wet season, between November and April.
- It often hangs from in fruit clusters in bocaiuva trees or on dried-out branches. You can also find it on the ground eating nuts.
- Hyacinth macaws occupy the upper portion of trees, making observation and censuring difficult.
- Gregarious birds, hyacinths live in family flocks or in mated pairs, and are rarely seen alone.
- They travel more than 15 miles a day.
- They utter a a variety of loud, harsh, guttural squawks that can be heard from a mile or more away.
- The hyacinth macaw reaches sexual maturity at 7 years of age.
- Males and females are extremely faithful to one another, and share parenting responsibilities.
- Incubation varies from 20 to 30 days, with about 40 percent of eggs lost due to predation. Females lay one to three white eggs per clutch, and parents feed young regurgitated chopped-up palm nuts.
- Chick mortality occurs in nests with two eggs; when one egg hatches after the first one, it lacks the ability to compete with its sibling for food and begins to suffer from fatal dehydration and weight loss.
- Chicks remain in nests for approximately 3 1/2 months before embarking on their first flight. They continue to live in the nest for up to 1 1/2 years, then begin making flights over the forest.
VI. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT:
- Hyacinth macaws eat palm nuts from the digestive tracts of cattle. The cattle digest the nuts' thick, green covering and then deposit the "cleaned" nuts in pastures, where macaws eat them. The macaws use their bills to score and shear nuts in two.
- Taking advantage of their sturdy, short legs and feet, macaws hang sideways or upside down to pluck palm nuts from fruit clusters in trees.
- The ability to harvest palm nuts in every part of its range allows the hyacinth macaw to survive in habitats with different topographies, vegetation and climates.
VII. POPULATION STATUS:
- Hyacinth eggs are preyed upon by birds (such as crows and toucans) and mammals (such as coatimundi).
- The hyacinth's reliance on palm nuts influences its distribution.
- These colorful birds serve as an attraction for the rapidly expanding nature-tour industry in Bolivia's Pantanal region.
VIII. MORE HYACINTH MACAW FACTS:
- The illegal trade in exotic animals, hunting and habitat destruction all threaten the survival of the hyacinth macaw.
- In Pantanal, the species' population is limited, as 95 percent of hyacinth nests are located in a single type of tree, the manduvi.
- Only about 3,000 hyacinth macaws remain in the wild.
- The hyacinth is the largest of the world's 340 parrot species.
- The hyacinth's calls are much lower in frequency than those of other macaws, due partially to its large size.