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Hyacinth Macaw

 (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
Click photo to visit gallery

© Jamie Gilardi

Project Status: Active | early 1990s - current


Fundacion Noel Kempff Mercado, Vogelpark Avifauna, Berlin Zoo

Population declines halted, recovery slow but promising

Numbers of wild Hyacinth Macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) had declined over several decades due to heavy illegal trade, local hunting for food and feathers, and habitat loss. More recently the population numbers have become more stable and are gradually growing.

Progress and outcomes: WPT established the Hyacinth Fund in 1990 to help researchers protect remaining Hyacinth Macaw populations. In 2008, WPT funded a study to describe the characteristics of the vegetation found in the areas where the species nests, and to obtain information on the illegal trafficking of this species. By 2015 the WPT has supported field research and conservation actions that include construction of aviaries, hiring a part-time keeper, and providing veterinary care, food, and enrichment for confiscated birds being prepared for release into the wild.

Focus of future work: WPT is continuing to fund other new actions, such as:

  • Encouraging eco-tourism
  • Helping protect crucial foraging and breeding areas
  • Aiding nest box programmes to encourage breeding
  • Disease testing in birds in Bolivia and Brazil
  • Aiding eradication of Africanized bees in Hyacinth nests

In 2016 The Hyacinth Macaw Project began in the San Matías Protected Area, Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia. The macaw population in this part of Bolivia is stable, but small (estimated at 300), with principal threats to its survival being habitat loss and trapping for the wild bird trade. The project is an alliance between the the World Parrot Trust and several local and international organizations.

With your help we can complete these important tasks to better understand the species, and continue to deliver effective solutions to further their conservation.


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IUCN/CITES Status: Vulnerable / Appendix I

Wild population: 6500

Where found: Three isolated groups are in C South America: NE Brazil, central E Brazil, S central Brazil to Bolivia and N Paraguay.

History: The Hyacinth Macaw, Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, can still be found in three areas of Brazil: E Amazonia, the Gerais of Maranhão, Piauí, Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais, and in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul.  There have been local reports in E Bolivia (Santa Cruz), and Paraguay (Concepción, with local reports from Alto Paraguay [R. P. Clay in litt. 1997].  During the 1980s the species’ population suffered because of illegal capture for the pet trade and widespread habitat destruction. Hunting caused a further reduction in numbers (Anon. 2004). Most of the population is now located in the Pantanal. There are population declines in E Amazonia and the Gerais, from an estimated 1,500 individuals in 1986 to 1,000 in 2003.  Five thousand individuals remain in the Pantanal.


  • Heavy illegal trade in wild-caught parrots
  • Local hunting for food and feathers
  • Habitat loss from hydroelectric projects and cattle ranching

Ecology: The Hyacinth Macaw is found in areas rich in nut-bearing species of trees and shrubs, but in Amazonian Brazil avoids continuous humid forest. In dry areas it inhabits plateau country with rocky, steep valleys with deciduous woodland, gallery forest and Mauritia palm swamp. This macaw is also seen in the pantanal region in gallery forest with palm groves.  These birds are generally seen in pairs, family groups or small flocks of up to 10. They are noisy and conspicuous while foraging; favourite food items include the nuts of various palms, different fruits and the occasional mollusk.

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