- Genus /Species: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
- Conservation Status: Endangered
- Location: South America
The Largest Parrot
The hyacinth macaw in not just the largest parrot in the world, but it is also one of the most striking in appearance. Its feathers are a bright blue color with brightly contrasting yellow rings around its large, black eyes and smaller yellow streaks beside its lower beak. The beak is long and sharply curved and the genus name "Anodorhynchus" means "toothless beak”. Hyacinth macaws are at home in the forests and grasslands of South America, south of the Amazon River. They are very intelligent birds and have even been known to use tools. They use their feet like hands, giving them the ability to grasp objects, which makes them excellent climbers. They also use their beak to help them climb.
Hyacinth macaws are the largest of the parrot species. They grow to approximately 40 inches in length- or a little more than the width of your bunk bed. They have wingspan of up to four feet. Adult hyacinth macaws generally weigh between 3 and 4 pounds. Their main source of food in the wild is from palm nuts which have been passed through the digestive systems of cows. Hyacinth macaws also enjoy other types of nuts, fruits and berries, and flowers and stems of plants.
The number of hyacinth macaws in the wild has declined over the years due to hunting and trapping. These beautiful birds are also threatened because their habitat is being lost or altered due to the introduction of cattle ranching mechanized agriculture, and the development of hydroelectric systems. Fortunately, The Hyacinth Macaw Project was launched in 1990 and has been successful in increasing the number of these birds.
Did You Know?
- The hyacinth macaw uses it’s extremely powerful bill to open and eat nuts that are inaccessible to most other animals.
- Hyacinth macaws also have gripping toes that they use to latch onto branches and to grab, hold, and examine items.
- The hyacinth macaw’s dry, scaly tongue has a bone inside that makes it an effective tool for tapping into fruits.
- This clever parrot will drop the whole palm nuts on the ground and come back later when the husks have been removed by other animals. It will then eat the nutritious nut inside after the hard shell has been cracked.