Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus ..............................................By Gideon Scheepers


The beautiful Hyacinth Macaw is a rich cobalt blue with a bright yellow bare facial patch around the huge bill. They also have a yellow periopthalmic ring around the eye. The wings are a darker blue on top and blackish-blue underneath. The feet are grey and bill is black. The hen is the same as the male but slightly smaller, youngsters have a shorter tail and paler upper mandible. These parrots are 100 cm in length.


Range & Habitat

They are found in northern Brazil, Rio Tapajós and south across central and southern Brazil from Piau¡ and southern part of Maranhãos across Goiás, into eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay. They frequent open and semi-open areas with tall trees, savannah with palms and groups of tall trees. They are rare in rain forests. Hyacinths are common in very few areas, and are regarded as endangered, with an estimated population possibly less than 3000 birds. They are usually seen in pairs and small family groups of up to 12 birds Hyacinth macaws roost on tall Acrocomia palms or trees in open woodland and will gather early in the morning on dead trees to preen before flying off to eat, returning to roosting trees towards evening; They will forage on the ground.

Diet in Nature

They eat a variety of nuts, fruit, berries, and specializes in different palm fruits including Acrocomia lasiopatha, Astryocaryum tucuma, Attalea phalerata, Acrocomia aculeata, Syagrus commosa, Attalea funifera; in addition ripe and unripe fruits (figs). With their huge beaks they can crack extremely hard nuts, which gives them an added advantage over other macaws, which can't crack these nuts. They have also been observed eating palm nuts which have passed through the bowels of cattle in pastures.


Breeding in Nature

Their natural breeding season starts in about July through to December. The pair will seek a nest hollow in dead or living trees and palms about 4 to 14 m off the ground. These hollows are on average 50 cm in diameter, and about 30cm deep from the entrance. The hen will then proceed to lay a clutch of 1 to 2 eggs measuring about 53.0 x 40.0 mm usually only rearing a single youngster

Housing in Aviculture

They should be given a large flight up to 10 m long, made of strong mesh as those beakscan undo most meshes. They are noisy birds and this must be taken into consideration when constructing an aviary. They should be supplied with very sturdy perches and the nestbox should also be robust, ideally a 44 gallon (210 l) metal drum should be used, but it must be noted that the chicks and parents in the nest in the height of summer can cause a lot of heat, causing the chicks to overheat and this can result in death.

Breeding in Aviculture

This seems to be achieved regularly these days, but much less often than other large macaws. They will mostly start breeding in spring. They will become very aggressive towards the keeper just before the onset of laying. The hen will lay a clutch of 1 or 2 eggs and incubate the eggs alone for 28-29 days .The young fledge at around 90 days old, but will remain with the parents for a long time.


I have heard of an Lutino mutation (which is white with yellow around the eyes and bill), if you know of any please send a photo with a description and some history to Gideon



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