Rare Lear's Macaw perched on zoo fence


Scientific Name: Anodorhynchus leari

Other Common Names: Indigo Macaw

Native Country: Brazil

Habitat:  Dry forests or Sandstone cliffs

Height (Head to Tail): 70-75cm, Large Size

Lifespan: up to 50 years

Weight: 900-950 grams

** Lear’s Macaw are an endangered species therefore we do not recommend keeping these parrots in captivity due to their conservation status. Unless you are a professional part of breeding programs.

Lear’s Macaw – Appearance:

The Indigo macaw’s are covered in luscious deep blue/grey plumage whereas the base of the beak and eye rings are bare and bright yellow. Nevertheless, the Lear’s Macaw looks strikingly similar to the Hyacinth Macaw or Glaucous Macaw. Nevertheless don’t be mistaken, some distinguishing features include the Lear’s smaller size, limited geographical distribution within Brazil and plumage color ranging for blue to greenish tones. For example, Lear Macaw chicks will have a turquoise green head which slowly fades throughout maturity.

Hyacinth Macaw or Lear's Macaw in sleeping position with head tilted backwards

Lear’s Macaw – Diet:

60% Nuts/Seed – Licuri Nuts, Palm Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Macadamias, Coconut, Pistachios, Cashews, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Safflower, Wheat, Millets

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 Fiest Macaw Food, Lafeber Premium Daily Macawa and ZuPreem Smart Selects Food

Tip: Hide nuts within toys to keep your bird entertained and foraging for hours.

Essentials section is not included for the Lears Macaw however you can still:

Click here to download our 100% FREE domesticated bird care checklist here.

Lear’s Macaw – Behavior:

  • Socialization: Lear’s Macaws are social parrots meaning they enjoy foraging in flocks of up to 30 birds. However little is known about their interaction with humans as not many are known to be in captivity.

  • Vocalization: These parrots have loud calls that resemble a “kraaa” screech. Their talking or mimicking ability is unknown.
Pair of rare Lear's Macaws sitting on cactus in Brazil
Image Credit: Rick elis simpson, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Lear’s Macaw – Breeding:

On average the Lear’s Macaw reaches sexual maturity at 2 – 4 years of age. They are considered monomorphic breeds meaning female and males look alike. Therefore if you plan to breed a pair, make sure you get a DNA test beforehand.

Other facts for breeding are mentioned below:

Lear's macaw happy and smiling in the woodland

  • Mating Partner: monogamous – one partner for life
  • Breeding Season: Wet season
  • Clutch Frequency: 1 clutch per year
  • Clutch Quantity: 2 – 3 eggs per clutch
  • Incubation Period: 29 days
  • Weaning: 8 – 10 months

Lear’s 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

Listen to the Lear’s Macaw Success Story by the American Bird Conservancy below:

Did You Know?

1. According to the National Geographic, it is believed that there are under 1,200 of these birds remaining in the wild

2. The population of the Indigo Macaw has been threatened by habitat loss and illegal trafficking

3. Don’t miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to view these endangered macaws at Sao Paulo Zoo!

Other Species of Interest: