Hyacinth Macaws (Blue Parrots)
Origin and History
The hyacinth macaw is native to central and eastern South America. There are three main populations: one in the Pantanal wetland region of Brazil, eastern Bolivia, and northeastern Paraguay; another in the Cerrado region of Brazil’s eastern interior; and one in the Amazon basin of Brazil. The hyacinth macaw prefers to dwell in palm swamps, woodlands, and semi-open areas and usually avoids dense, humid forests. It can usually be found in the open areas along major rivers.
English ornithologist and artist John Latham first described and cataloged the hyacinth macaw in 1790, and its numbers in the wild have been in steady decline since then due to a gradual reduction in habitat and steady demand for the bird in the pet trade and by indigenous tribes who hunt the birds for meat and for their ornamental feathers. As a result, the hyacinth macaw is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species list, which prohibits international trade of parrot species. Both Brazil and Paraguay now protect the bird by law.
Though somewhat frightening in appearance due to its enormous size and powerful, sharp hooked beak, the hyacinth macaw is something of a gentle giant. Hyacinths are quite gentle by nature. They are easily trained by positive reinforcement and tend to bond strongly with their human caregivers.
Hyacinth macaws have a wide variety of vocalizations, ranging from deep guttural growls and loud screeching to high trills. They are also capable of purring. They tend to make more noise when they form a large flock.
Colors and Markings
Hyacinth macaws are a deep shade of solid blue, with bright yellow patches around the eyes and beak.