Hyacinth Macaw perched on branch next to food bowl with bright cobalt blue plumage

HYACINTH MACAW

Scientific Name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

Other Common Names:  Hyacinthine Macaw or Blue Macaw

Native Country: Central and Eastern South America – Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia

Habitat:  Grassland or other non-dense woodlands

Height (Head to Tail): 100cm, Large Size

Lifespan: up to 60 years

Weight: 1.2 – 1.7 kilograms

Hyacinth Macaw – Appearance:

Hyacinth Macaw’s are covered in beautiful cobalt blue feathers whereas the base of the beak and eye rings are bare and bright yellow. These magnificent macaws have sturdy zygodactylous feet (2 toes pointing forward and 2 pointing backward) that enable a firm grip on branches or other objects. In comparison the beaks are just as strong to crack open wild nuts and coconuts. The Hyacinth Macaw looks very similar to the Lear’s Macaw however the most notable difference is the plumage.

Hyacinth Macaw extending neck and beak to grab peanut from hand at zoo

Hyacinth Macaw – Diet:

60% Nuts – Palm Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Macadamias, Coconut, Pistachios, Cashews, Pecans, Hazelnuts and Brazil Nuts

20% Fresh Fruit and Vegetables – Apples, Cantaloupe/Rockmelon, Berries, Grapes, Watermelon, Oranges, Pears, Plums, Carrots, Beans, Kale, Broccoli, Cucumber, Peas, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Corn,

20% Pellets – Specialized pellets formulated for large macaws. Popular brands include: Kaytee Fiesta Macaw Food, Lafeber Premium Daily Macaw and ZuPreem Smart Selects Food

Tip: Hide nuts inside toys to keep your bird entertained whilst foraging.

Hyacinth Macaw – Essentials:

When bringing your little birdie home for the first time, you will need to ensure you have the basics sorted beforehand.

  • Bird Cage – Hyacinth Macaw’s are the largest parrots of South America, so it’s best to buy the largest cage you can afford and fit within your space. As a guide, the cage size should be at least 200cm x 800cm x 300cm (W x L x H). It’s best to line the cage with newspaper to easily clean their droppings/mess.
  • Cage Cover – any cloth that covers 90% of the cage so the bird can sleep in darkness e.g. light blanket or sheet
  • Perch – at least two perches, preferably sturdy natural bark branches to keep their nails naturally trimmed. It’s a great idea to have an external perch i.e. on top of the cage so your bird can explore out of the cage.
  • Toys – at least 3 toys to begin with for mental stimulation/entertainment; highly recommend foraging toys or those that can be chewed e.g. yucca stack, wooden blocks or large swings
  • Bowls – 3x bowls (one for pellets/nuts, one for fresh fruit/vegetables and the other for water)
  • Bath – your macaw will need keep clean either in the shower, under the outdoor hose or with a spray bottle

Still not sure? Click here to download our 100% FREE bird care checklist here.

Hyacinth Macaw in flying, full wing span visible

Hyacinth Macaw – Behavior:

  • Socialization: Hyacinth Macaws are friendly parrots that enjoy interaction with a human companion or mating partner. However just like any other parrot, if they feel threatened they will bite. In terms of physical activity, the macaws are mostly active in the mornings and afternoons.

  • Vocalization: These parrots very loud so I definitely don’t recommend them for apartments or houses with close by neighbors. Their vocalization is an ear piercing screech that sounds a bit like “Kraaa”. The Hyacinth Macaw is not as talkative but they can mimic a few simple words.
Two happy Hyacinth Macaw resting on large tree for shelter against heat and sunlight shining through the rainforest

Hyacinth Macaw – Breeding:

On average the Hyacinth Macaw reaches sexual maturity at 5 – 7 years of age and are considered monomorphic breeds. Therefore if you plan to breed a pair, make sure you get a DNA test beforehand.

Other requirements for breeding are mentioned below:

Pair of Hyacinth Macaws preening each other inside zoo enclosure

Requirements:

Horizontal rectangle shaped nest box made from strong untreated wood (min. dimensions 100x60x60cm – HxWxL) – these birds have strong beaks, so ensure the wood is thick so it cannot be chipped away in the first breeding season

Nest box filling – non-toxic wood shavings or saw dust

You may offer a breeding food mix if available near you, usually contains extra calcium to prevent egg binding

  • Mating Partner: monogamous – one partner for life
  • Breeding Season: Wet season
  • Clutch Frequency: 1 clutch per year
  • Clutch Quantity: 1 – 2 eggs per clutch
  • Incubation Period: 25 – 28 days
  • Weaning: 7 months

Hyacinth Macaw – Health:

Common IssueSymptoms Causes
Psittacosis Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, vomiting, nasal/ocular discharge, diarrhea or pale green feces, breathing difficulties, conjunctivitis, minimal physical movement, tremorsBacteria: Chlamydia psittaci contracted via infected dried saliva, feathers, mucous and feces
Proventricular Dilatation Syndrome “Macaw Wasting SyndromeLoss of appetite, vomiting, passing of undigested food in feces, weight loss, overall body weakness, head tremors seizuresAvian Bornavirus (ABV) contracted through feces, saliva and other bodily secretions from birds – causes nerve inflammation
Feather PluckingForm of self mutilation by plucking their own feathers, leaving bald patches of skinBoredom, lack of mental stimulation, poor diet, illness, stress
Psittacine Beak & Feather DiseaseSharp, clubbed or abnormally short feathers, pigment loss in colored feathers, bloody feather shafts Beak & Feather Disease Virus (BFDV) contracted from other infected birds e.g. oral – parent feeding young or ingestion of virus particles in dust feces
AspergillosisWeight loss, lethargy, constantly fluffed feathers, difficulty breathing, cloudy eyes, droopy wingsAspergillus fungus: exposure to spores found in dust, mold, soil – mainly affects malnourished or immunocompromised birds
MalnutritionNasal discharge, sneezing, wheezing conjunctivitis, poor feather quality, weakness, egg binding, embryonic death Vitamin A or Calcium deficiency
WormsDiarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, malnutrition or blood in fecesAscaris roundworm or flatworms – eggs passed in droppings

Did You Know?

1. Hyacinth Macaws are the heaviest parrots on the plant , weighing in at a whopping 1.7kg!

2. Some macaws are known to eat clay in order to neutralize toxic chemicals within their body and absorb sodium for nutrition

3. The Hyacinth Macaw is a protected species. Current conservation status is vulnerable.


Other Species of Interest: