The hyacinth macaw stunning cobalt-blue coloring and massive size will cause anyone to pause and take notice. Bright yellow around the eyes and at the base and the corners of the beak makes the largest of the macaw species appear to be in a perpetual smile. This is a parrot for someone who afford a hefty price tag and who has space to spare.
The hyacinth macaw lives primarily in the scrublands on the outskirts of the rainforest, though its large range also includes grasslands and lightly forested regions. It is an endangered species — there are an estimated 2,500 to 5,000 Hyacinth macaws left in the wild today. Destruction of their environment, hunting for feathers and food, and illegal poaching for the pet trade have contributed to the Hyacinth’s declining numbers. Eggs and nestlings have some natural predators as well.
The hyacinth macaw is part of many conservation programs: the Species Survival Plan, which helps to ensure the survival of select species, and the World Wildlife Fund-Brazil, which has had their Hyacinth Macaw Project going for 10 years, monitoring hyacinth macaws, setting up artificial nests, and working with local landowners to protect the species, are among them.
Another reason why these birds are so rare, both in the wild and in the pet trade, is because they develop much more slowly than companion birds. Babies fledge (leave the nest) at about 13 weeks, but they don’t become fully functioning adults for another six months. Breeding age begins at about 7 years of age. These birds can live to be more than 60 years old if cared for properly.
CARE & FEEDING
The right owner for a hyacinth macaw is someone who has either kept many birds successfully before or someone who has done a lot of research has consulted the experts and knows exactly what they’re getting into. Still, the Hyacinth is not a great first bird simply because it can be a handful.
This large bird needs an exceptionally large housing area. Be willing to devote a large part of their home to this bird. A “regular” cage isn’t appropriate in this case. Not only are most commercial cages too small, but the hyacinth macaw can also easily break out of them. A custom cage or one of the very largest commercial cages would do, though a full room, patio or other safely enclosed, bird-proofed area is better. All birds benefit from flying, and this bird will need a lot of room if it’s going to enjoy this important exercise. Even a hyacinth macaw with trimmed wing feathers needs plenty of room to flap and clamber around.