They are often mistaken for the similarly coloured Blue & Gold Macaw. There are however distinct differences, the Blue-throated is a much smaller bird; a medium-sized macaw along with the Red-fronted Macaw, and the obvious blue throat patch as compared to the black one of the Blue & Gold; they also lack the green frontal band of the Blue & Gold Macaw. The face is also more feathered than the Blue & Gold and the blue is more aquamarine and has a metallic sheen compared to the Blue & Gold. The breast is a deeper orange extending up to the ear covert area compared to the bright yellow of the Blue & Gold.
Length: 61-74 cm
These wonderful macaws originate in South America in the small provinces of Beni and Santa Cruz in Bolivia. Recently though no sightings have been made in Santa Cruz. Even though they are CITES I they are still occasionally available on the black-market. It is now estimated that there are less than 100 birds in the Beni district of Bolivia. This includes about 30-mated pairs and some individuals. The species seems dependent on the locally abundant palm Attalea phalerata. They tend to keep to the Gallery forests along rivers and around lakes, generally in swampy, semi-open regions. Seasonally inundated savannah and palm groves. These parrots are in desperate need of fieldwork to determine the exact numbers
Habits in Nature
They tend to be more secretive than their counterparts, usually retreating to the forest canopy when approached. They are usually seen in pairs or small flocks of about 5 birds, and tend to not to gather at night to roost as do their similarly coloured cousins, the Blue & Golds. They are quite rare in their natural environment and this is due to habitat destruction and trapping for export. Their call is a high, musical trill, similar to a Red-fronted Macaw, rather than that of the Blue & Gold Macaw. These parrots have never been available in large numbers in S.A. with the most successful breeder being Gill DuVenage of the then Macaw Glen in Brits. Other breeders have also reared them successfully, but they remain rare in South Africa.
The rarity of this Macaw makes it highly sort after in the international wild bird trade. Local trappers are well aware that it is worth a great deal more money to them than the common Blue & Gold Macaw Ara ararauna, so they selectively seek live specimens.Concerted efforts are made to reduce trade and to encourage community-based conservation projects such as eco tourism. The species is protected by international law, and trade is prohibited under the CITES agreement (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Housing in Aviculture
These parrots can be housed in just about any size aviary, I have known breeders keeping them in small-elevated aviaries of 1m x 1m x 1m and they have bred successfully. I prefer suspended aviaries for breeding and standard aviaries for show and during the resting period. They love to bath so a container with fresh water must always be present, not that the water will get time to deteriorate as they will empty it in no time.
They should also have plenty of things to do in the aviary. They are very active and inquisitive birds and usually stick their heads into every nook and cranny. We supply all our parrots with plenty of branches and twigs for them to strip; the nest boxes are also filled with chunks of soft wood, which they will shred into suitable nesting material.
Breeding in Aviculture
They are not difficult breeders, and once they settle down, can become prolific and reliable breeders. They need some privacy when breeding, and will accept just about any decent nest box, but I prefer a horizontal grandfather clock style box, this has plenty of room for the parents and chicks during brooding time. They are also less likely to damage eggs in this type of box, as they do not have to jump down onto the eggs when getting into the box.
They will usually start breeding at the age of about 4 years but have been known to start as early as two and a half years. Some folks say this is not advisable as the eggs will usually be infertile, I see no problem with this as long as you keep a close eye on proceedings to make sure the young hen does not become egg-bound. If they do have eggs and they are infertile you have not lost anything, but gained a more than likely compatible laying pair, if however they are fertile, close watch must be kept on the developments as they might reject the chicks when they hatch not knowing what to do with them, they should then be removed for handrearing.
The usual clutch consists of 2-4 eggs and incubation lasts for 24-26 days. The chicks weigh about 20g upon hatching. The female alone incubates the eggs. The male will help feed the chick after the first week. The male becomes very territorial at this time. Handreared parrots will also show aggression towards the keepers, and sometimes the attack will be greater as it is not afraid of the keeper.
There are presentlty no known mutations, if you know of any please send a photo with a description and some history to Gideon
make great pets, but due to their rarity I would not suggest these beautiful
parrots going to the pet trade unless two are obtained with the view to
breed them later on. These parrots have also been placed on CITES appendix
I as of 29 July 1983 so a CITES permit could be required in most places
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