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Glaucous Macaw Anodorhynchus glaucus
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This species was last recorded in the 1960s and it is likely to have declined severely as a result of hunting and trapping, plus habitat degradation and destruction. However, it may well remain extant, because not all of its formerly large range has been adequately surveyed, and there have been persistent and convincing local reports. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

70 cm. Large blue macaw. Pale turquoise-blue with large greyish head. Proportionally long tail and massive bill. Yellow, bare eye-ring and half-moon-shaped lappets bordering mandible. Similar spp. Lear's Macaw A. leari has a bluer head and is not sympatric, but specimens in trade could be confused. Hyacinth Macaw A. hyacinthinus is considerably larger and bulkier, more violet-blue in coloration and yellow lappets extend along the base of the mandible. Also not sympatric. Voice Unknown.

Distribution and population
Anodorhynchus glaucus was formerly widespread but clearly very local in north Argentina, south Paraguay, north-east Uruguay and Brazil from Paraná state southwards. It was endemic to the middle reaches of the major rivers (Uruguay, Paraná and Paraguay) and adjacent areas, with most records coming from Corrientes, Argentina. It became rare before or early in the second half of the 19th century and there were only two acceptable records in the 20th century, one direct observation (in Uruguay in 1951) and one based on local reports (in Paraná in the early 1960s). Whilst it has been generally treated as extinct, persistent rumours of recent sightings, local reports and birds in trade indicate that a few birds may still survive.

Population justification
Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals) based on the lack of confirmed records since the 1960s.

It was reported mostly along major rivers, but this may reflect travellers' dependence on river transport rather than the species's true habitat requirements. It appears to have been adapted to consume palm nuts as its staple, and therefore presumably wandered into palm-savannas and potentially lightly wooded areas. The only palm in its range with the appropriate size and type of nut is the Yatay (or Chatay) palm Butia yatay (Yamashita and Valle 1993). It nested and roosted on cliffs and the average clutch-size was probably two eggs.

Settlement of the major river basins within its range was presumably accompanied by the widespread loss of palm-groves, either through direct clearance for agriculture or the suppression of regeneration by colonists' cattle. Yatay palm, which the species probably fed on, was targeted for clearance by early colonists as it is an indicator of good soil quality (Collar et al. 2014). Widespread loss of gallery forests could also have had an impact on the species (Collar et al. 2014). The size and appearance of the bird probably made it a significant target for hunters, and even the taking of young as pets could have been important. There is some evidence that it was traded, but little to support various claims that there has been recent trade in live specimens. Any current trade in eggs, skins or live specimens would obviously be extremely harmful.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and protected under Brazilian law. There have been various attempts (so far unsuccessful) to rediscover the species. There are ongoing funding proposals to attempt to finance a programme of work aimed at confirming this species's presence in the wild.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct interviews with local people, especially former and active parrot trappers, to assess the likelihood that any populations remain. Prepare to follow-up on any positive data from these interviews.

Begazo, A.; Munn, C.; Castelino, M.; Yamashita, C. Undated. Humans caused the first proven extinction of a South American land bird: a post mortem for the Glaucous Macaw Anodorhynchus glaucus.

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.

Collar, N., Boesman, P. and Sharpe, C.J. 2014. Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. and de Juana, E. (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Yamashita, C.; Valle, M. De P. 1993. On the linkage between Anodorhynchus macaws and palm nuts, and the extinction of Glaucous Macaw. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 113: 53-60.

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.

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.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Clay, R., Sharpe, C J & Symes, A.

Clay, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Anodorhynchus glaucus. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Vieillot, 1816)
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species