Project Status: Active | 2007
Natural Encounters Conservation Fund
Blue-headed Macaw populations may number as few as 10,000
Blue-headed Macaw (Primolius couloni) populations are expected to decline by 30% over three generations.
Project progress: The World Parrot Trust supported biologist Toa Kyle in a search for Blue-headed Macaws along the Ucayali River in Peru in the fall of 2007.
Outcomes: The survey added important data to the current information on this poorly known species. More surveys along the entire range of the species are necessary to determine accurate population numbers. Further study by others has pointed to the importance of determining the degree to which this species occurs in protected areas. Preventing trade and educating local people as to the fragility of the species has also been suggested.
Wild population: 10,000-70,000
Where found: E Peru to W Brazil; N Bolivia, east of Andes and south to 14 degrees latitude.
History: Concern for the status of the Blue-headed Macaw (Primolius couloni) in the wild has been increasing in recent years for a number of reasons. They are rare in aviculture, increasing the motive for trapping of the species. The species is highly susceptible to hunting and/or trapping, and is expected to decline by a rate approaching 30% over three generations. Blue-headed Macaws are restricted to a relatively small area in the SW Amazon, mainly the SC Peruvian Amazon, with sightings in neighbouring areas of Brazil and Bolivia. In other areas it appears to be scarce, or absent. Numbers also seem to vary in response to food availability, making it difficult to draw conclusions about population density across its range, and population counts unreliable.
- Trade in the species going up locally and internationally, due to increasing rarity
- Very low reproductive rate
- Much of its forest is still intact but Bolivian forest threatened by expansion of the logging industry
- Forest also threatened by mining and drilling for gas
- Loss of up to 20% of suitable habitat within its range over three generations (31 years)
Ecology: Blue-headed Macaws are found at an altitude of 150-1300m (492-4264 ft) in upper tropical forests in disturbed or partly open areas at forest edge along rivers, clearings and forested settled areas. They are also seen in swampy habitats. Individual birds are not very gregarious, instead being found in pairs or threes. They are possibly seasonally nomadic.