|Photo by Paddy Ryan (Ryan Photographic)|
hyacinth macaw (en); arara-azul-grande (pt); ara hyacinthe (fr); guacamayo azul (es); hyazinth-ara (de)
This species occurs in three separate areas of Brazil. In the east of the Amazon basin, in the centre of the country in Maranhão, Piauí, Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso, and in the south-west along the border with Bolivia and Paraguay.
The hyacinth macaw is the largest parrot in the world, with a length of 100 cm and a wingspan of 120-140 cm. They weigh 1,5-2 kg.
They are mostly found in lightly forested areas, including várzea and savanna adjacent to tropical forest, in campo cerrado, caatinga, palm-stands and palm-savannas.
These birds use their strong hard beaks to feed on hard fruits and seeds of palm tree and other plants. These include a few regionally endemic palm species like Scheelea phalerata and Acrocomia aculeata, and also coconuts, Brazil nuts, Macadamia nuts and pine nuts. They also eat soft fruits and other vegetable matter.
Hyacinth macaws breed in July-December, nesting in large tree cavities or in cliffs. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which she incubates for 30 days while being fed by the male. Typically, only one chick fledges, after staying in the nest for 3,5 months. The chick will remain with the parents for up to 18 month, and becomes sexually mature at 3 years old.
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has suffered a rapid population decline over the last three generations. There are now only 4.300 individuals in the wild. The decline was mostly caused by large scale illegal trade, habitat loss due to agricultural intensification, and hunting.