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Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw / Blue Macaw Facts

Size Up to 3.2 ft (1 m)
Speed Up to 34 mph (55 km/h)
Weight 3.3-3.7 lb (1.5–1.7 kg)
Lifespan 40-50 years
Food Nuts, fruit
Predators Egg thieves: crows, toucans, skunks
Habitat Brazil, Bolivia
Order Parrots
Family True parrots
Scientific name Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Characteristics Biggest parrot, blue plumage

Main Characteristics

The blue macaw is a large parrot with a striking, bright blue colored plumage. There are only four species in the blue macaw family: the Hyacinth macaw, the Lear's macaw, the Glaucous macaw and the Guadeloupe amazon. Sadly, the Glaucous macaw and the Guadeloupe amazon are extinct already. The best-known species is the hyacinth macaw, which is often just called blue macaw.

Blue Macaw Blue Macaw - Photo: mlorenz/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

How Big Is a Blue Macaw?

With 3.2 feet (1 meter), the blue macaw is the tallest macaw, but not the heaviest. It only weighs 3.5 lb (1.6 kg), while the flightless kakapo reaches 6.6-8.8 lb (3-4 kg).

The Blue Macaw Has One of the Strongest Beaks

Its beak duts steel! Ok, this might be a little exaggerated, but when a blue macaw cuts a nut in two, the edges are as clean as if the bird had used a steel blade. Also, the bite force of the blue macaw is quite impressive: 550 lb (250 kg). This is enough to cut a broomstick in half. But most of the time the bird prefers macadamia nuts and coconuts instead.

Hyacinth Macaw Hyacinth Macaw - Photo: Uwe Bergwitz/Shutterstock

Behavior

Blue Macaws Are Gentle

Blue macaws are known for their patient, gentle, and good-tempered manner. They are also called “gentle giants”.

Intelligence

Blue Macaws Use Tools

There are situations in the life of a blue macaw in which its strong beak proves useless. Then the birds often use tools in order to break nuts – for example a wedge-shaped piece of wood, which helps them to cleave the nut in two. Before they do this, they wrap the nut into a leave, so that it cannot roll away. Only few animals actually use tools. This is seen as a sign of higher intelligence.

Senses and Abilities

Blue Macaws Love Hang Upside Down

Even though blue macaws are rather tall and heavy, they hang on branches with their heads down in order to reach their favorite food.

Hyacinth Macaw Hyacinth Macaw - Photo: zahorec/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

Blue Macaws Are Endangered

The blue macaw is an endangered species. It loses more and more of its habitat because many forests are cleared for cattle farming or agriculture. Its beautiful plumage is used by locals to manufacture jewelry or sell it to tourists. The blue macaw is also a popular pet and therefore often removed from its accustomed environment. In Germany, blue macaws can only be kept as pets if you have a special permit.

Reproduction

Blue macaws stay together for their entire lives and mostly breed once a year. The female lays one or two eggs. The young birds hatch after about 29 days. After six months they are ready to live on their own.

Hyacinth Macaw Hyacinth Macaw - Photo: Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

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