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The amazing Hyacinth and Lear’s macaws in Brazil

The amazing Hyacinth and Lear’s macaws in Brazil
Pedro
Author:
Pedro Coelho
May 26, 2020

Nature is perfect! The beauty of plants and animals is impressive. And when we observe the routine of a blue macaw, even on TV, we are amazed at its colors and behavior.

Responsible tourism has been an essential tool for the conservation of endangered species with several cases spread around the world.

In this post, you will discover some characteristics of the blue macaws and options of tours to observe and photograph up-close these incredible birds.


Hyacinth macaw

Its scientific name is Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, it is characterized by feathers with a strong blue tone, a yellow halo around the eyes and another spot near the beak. They are large, measuring up to 1.0m from the head to the tail. The beaks of these birds are very strong and curved.

Photo: João Marcos Rosa. All rights reserved.

Diet

The Hyacinth macaw feeds basically on the fruits of palm trees, such as babassu, acuri, bocaiúva and other fruis available. To avoid the action of predators, the macaws feed in groups, and always leave one of the members watching the territory. If the sentinel notices any danger, it screams and all the birds fly away.

Habitat

As macaws usually nest high up on palm trees, they make the place their habitat. In Pantanal region, blue macaws are found in open places on the ground. In dry places, the birds nest on rocky wall flaws.

Reproduction

Hyacinth macaws are monogamous. As we have explained, the nests are built on top of palm trees, and other trees. The birds are also faithful to the breeding sites and can use the same trunk for over a decade.

The macaws have the beginning of their fertile period at seven years old. They lay two eggs per clutch, but usually only one young survives. Their eggs suffer constant attacks from rots and toucans. Hatching occurs after 28 days of incubation. The females stay close to the eggs while the males have the function of feeding them.

Where can I find this species?

This species of macaw is usually found in the Pantanal region and the Amazon. You can watch and photograph it closely joining one of our tours below:

  • Best of the Pantanal
  • Brazilian Amazon and Pantanal

Lear’s macaw

The Lear’s macaw has the scientific name Anodorhynchus leari and lives in northeastern Brazil. It is a little smaller than the bird described above, and its feathers have a shade of greenish blue. It differs from the small plover by the spots around its eyes and beak.

Photo: João Marcos Rosa. All rights reserved.

Diet

The Lear’s macaw lives in one of most driest region of Brazil, the caatinga biome, they mainly feed on the licuri palm tree plus other plam tree and some fruits of that region.

Habitat

Lear’s macaws inhabit only a small region in Bahia, northeastern Brazilian state. The two known colonies occur in Serra Branca and Toca Velha, south of the Raso da Catarina plateau. They inhabit ‘caatinga’, which are arid thorn forests. 

Reproduction

They reach reproductive maturity when they are about 2 to 4 years old.

The Lear’s Macaws generally nest high in steep sandstone cliffs. They soften the sandstone by applying their saliva to it. Then they excavate small crevasses with their beaks and clean the dirt out with their feet. They nest in colonies, although the nests are not within sight of each other. They will defend their nests from predators and competitors.

The clutch consists of 1-2 eggs. The survival rate of the eggs and the chicks is low, as they are predated on, are poached, or succumb to diseases. The nesting female will leave the nest only for short periods to feed as the young are depending on her for warmth and feeding. Once the young have developed protective feathers, she will stay away for longer periods. During the night, both parents will roost in the nesting cavity.

Those that make it to the fledging age (at about 3 months) will remain with their parents for some time after leaving the nest.

Where can I find this species?

As mentioned above, this species of macaw lives in Northeastern Brazil. It is most commonly found in the Canudos Biological Reserve (Bahia hinterland). You can watch and photograph it closely joining the following tour:

  • The Brazilian Caatinga

 Curiosities

– Belonging to the animal kingdom, the hyacinth macaw is the largest bird of the Psittacidae family;

– The cattle of the Pantanal region eat the hard seeds of palm trees. And during the digestion, the peel is consumed being eliminated from the body in the feces only the inside of the fruits. Then the blue macaws take advantage of this facility and feed on the pulp of seeds excreted by the cattle;

– The hyacinthinus name given to the large blue macaw is due to the bird’s strong blue color;

– The macaws’ young are born fragile and need protection for the first 45 days. Only after 3 months they try their first flights;

– The Lear’s macaw are endemic of Brazil.

Responsible tourism has been an essential tool for the conservation of endangered species with several cases spread around the world.

Photo: João Marcos Rosa. All rights reserved.
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Pedro Coelho
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