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Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
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This species qualifies as Endangered because the population has undergone very rapid reductions in the past and the threat from illegal trapping for the cagebird trade plus habitat loss remains (Collar et al. 1992).

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at:
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

100 cm. Huge, blue macaw with yellow facial skin. Intense cobalt blue coloration with black underwings, bare yellow orbital area and lappet bordering the lower mandible. Long tail and huge bill. Immatures have shorter tail and paler yellow bare facial skin. Older adults have lighter grey or white legs. Similar spp. Lear's Macaw A. leari is much smaller and only escaped birds could occur in the range of A. hyacinthinus. Voice Loud, raucous croaking and screeching calls, less harsh than Ara, often given in pairs.

Distribution and population
Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus occurs in three areas of Brazil: east Amazonia (along the rios Tocantins, Xingu and Tapajós, and possibly persists in Amapá), the Gerais of Maranhão, Piauí, Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais, and in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and marginally into east Bolivia (Santa Cruz), and Paraguay (Concepción, with local reports from Alto Paraguay [R. P. Clay in litt. 1997], but no observations to substantiate these despite significant fieldwork [R. P. Clay in litt. 2011]). Throughout the 1980s the species suffered major declines as an estimated 10,000 birds were illegally captured for the pet trade and widespread habitat destruction and hunting caused a further reduction in numbers (Anon. 2004). The majority of the population is now located in the Pantanal, where since 1990 the species has shown signs of a recovery and expanded its range (Pinho and Nogueira 2003, Anon. 2004), probably in response to conservation projects. Populations in east Amazonia and the Gerais have continued to decline, from an estimated 1,500 individuals in 1986 to 1,000 in 2003. The total population was estimated at 6,500 individuals in 2003, of which 5,000 were in the Pantanal (Anon. 2004) and around 200 in Bolivia (M. Herrera in litt. 2007).

Population justification
Anon (2004) estimated 6,500 individuals (equivalent to 4,300 mature individuals) in 2003, of which 5,000 were in the Pantanal.

Trend justification
A very rapid population decline is suspected to have taken place over the last three generations (45 years), on the basis of large scale illegal trade, habitat loss and hunting. The largest remaining population, in the Pantanal, has undergone a recovery since the 1990s, but the overall rate of decline over three generations is still suspected to have been very rapid.

It occurs in várzea and savanna adjacent to tropical forest in east Amazonia, campo cerrado, caatinga and palm-stands in the Gerais, and palm-savannas in the Pantanal. It feeds mostly on the hard fruit of a few regionally endemic palm species (C. Yamashita in litt. 2000) (Scheelea phalerata and Acrocomia aculeata in the Pantanal [Antas et al. 2006]). Nesting is from July-December in large tree-cavities (primarily in Sterculia apetala in the Pantanal [Johnson 1996], and S. pruriens in Amazonia [Presti et al. 2009]) and on cliffs (in the north-east). Two eggs are usually laid, but only one chick normally fledges (C. Yamashita in litt. 2000). The toco toucan Ramphastos toco is responsible for dispersing 83% of the seeds of Sterculia apetala, but also consumes 53% of eggs predated (Pizo et al. 2008).

There has been massive illegal trade in the species. At least 10,000 birds were taken from the wild in the 1980s, with 50% destined for the Brazilian market (Mittermeier et al. 1990). In 1983-1984, over 2,500 were flown out of Bahía Negra, Paraguay, with an additional 600 in the late 1980s (J. Pryor in litt. 1998). Although these numbers are now much reduced, illegal trade still continues (e.g. 10 passed through a pet market in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, between August 2004-July 2005, where birds were changing hands for US$ 1,000 and were destined for Peru [Herrera and Hennessey 2007]). There is some local hunting for food and feathers. In Amazonia, there has been habitat loss for cattle-ranching and hydroelectric power schemes on the rios Tocantins and Xingu. In the Pantanal, only 5% of S. apetala trees have suitable cavities (Guedes 1993, Johnson 1996). Young trees are foraged by cattle and burnt by frequent fires (Newton 1994). The Gerais is being rapidly converted to mechanised agriculture, cattle-ranching and exotic tree plantations (Conservation International 1999).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II, protected under Brazilian and Bolivian law and banned from export in all countries of origin. It is managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Parrot Technical Advisory Group.  Many ranch-owners in the Pantanal (and increasingly in the Gerais) no longer permit trappers on their properties. There are several long-term studies and conservation initiatives (eg. Anon 2004). At the Caiman Ecological Refuge in the Pantanal the Hyacinth Macaw Project has used artificial nests and chick management techniques and raised awareness among cattle ranchers (Anon 2004). Conservation Actions Proposed
Study the current range, population status and extent of trading in the different parts of its range (Snyder et al. 2000). Assess the effectiveness of artificial nest-boxes (Snyder et al. 2000). Enforce legal measures preventing trade. Experiment with ecotourism at one or two sites to encourage donors (Snyder et al. 2000).

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Anon. 2004. The Hyacinth Macaw makes a comeback. Partners for Wetlands Quarterly: 14-15.

Antas, P. T. Z.; Carrara, L. A.; Yabe, R. S. 2006. Radio tracking adult Hyacinth Macaws in the Pantanal, central Brazil. Journal of Ornithology 147(5): 128-129.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Conservation International. 1999. Açoes prioritárias para a conservaçao da biodiversidade do Cerrado e Pantanal.

Guedes, N. M. R. 1993. Biologia reprodutiva da Arara Azul (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) no Pantanal-MS. Brasil. Thesis. Dissertation, Universidade de Sao Paulo.

Herrera, M.; Hennessey, A. B. 2007. Quantifying the illegal parrot trade in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, with emphasis on threatened species. Bird Conservation International 17: 295-300.

Johnson, D. N. 1996. Digging for the Blue Swallow - does it work? Is it ethical? Lammergeyer 44: 46-49.

Mittermeier, R. A.; de Gusmão Câmara, I.; Pádua, M. T. J.; Blanck, J. 1990. Conservation in the Pantanal of Brazil. Oryx 24: 103-112.

Newton, I. 1994. The role of nest sites in limiting the number of hole-nesting birds: a review. Biological Conservation 70: 265-276.

Pinho, J. B.; Nogueira, F. M. B. 2003. Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) reproduction in the Northern Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Ornitologia Neotropical 14: 29-38.

Pizo, M. A.; Donatti, C. I.; Guedes, N. M. R.; Galetti, M. 2008. Conservation puzzle: endangered Hyacinth Macaw depends on its nest predator for reproduction. Biological Conservation 141(3): 792-796.

Presti, F. T.; Oliveira-Marques, A. R.; da Silva, G. F.; Miyaki, C. Y.; Guedes, N. M. R. 2009. Notas sobre alguns aspectos da biologia da arara-azul (Anodorhynchus hyacinthus) (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae) na região de Carajás, Pará. Atualidades

Snyder, N.; McGowan, P.; Gilardi, J.; Grajal, A. 2000. Parrots: status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomo

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Williams, R.

Clay, R., Herrera, M., Pryor, J., Yamashita, C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Latham, 1790)
Population size 4300 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 539,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species