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Blue and Gold Macaw Natural History – the Wild Side of a Popular Pet

Blue and Gold MacawThe huge, stunningly-colored Blue and Gold (or Blue and Yellow) Macaw, Ara ararauna, is one of the most recognizable of all birds…size, color, intelligence (and voice!) make it impossible to ignore.  While it has long been bred in captivity, the natural history of this spectacular parrot is less-well known.  Please read on to learn about its life in the wild and the threats to its continued existence.


The Blue and Gold has the largest natural range of any macaw.  It is found from Eastern Panama east across most of Northern South America and south through Bolivia to Paraguay and Eastern Brazil.  Despite this, it is declining or extinct in some areas…Trinidad’s macaws disappeared in the 1960’s, but a new population has been re-introduced. Read More »

Corn for Macaws – a Unique Conservation Plan for the Lear’s Macaw

Lear’s Macaw PairWith a mere 500 or so individuals remaining in the wild, and very few in captivity, the Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) is one of the world’s scarcest parrots.  Yet in its tiny home range of northeastern Bahia State, Brazil, this brilliant indigo-blue macaw poses a serious threat to subsistence corn farmers.  Parrots International, in concert with Pro Aves Brazil, the Lymington Foundation and other groups, has devised a most unique initiative that benefits farmers and birds alike.

Endangered but Troublesome

It’s easy for folks living in relative financial security to criticize others for killing macaws, but for indigent subsistence farmers in Bahia State, Brazil, the Lear’s Macaw represents a serious threat to survival.  The birds pillage the fields of people who, working without the benefit of mechanized equipment and fertilizer, raise barely enough corn to feed their families and livestock.  Children are often kept home from school in order to chase the bird, but the enterprising macaws have learned to largely ignore their efforts.  Read More »

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