Care Instructions for Hyacinth Macaws (Blue Parrots)

Hyacinth Macaw

The biggest parrot is the lovely, cobalt-blue hyacinth macaw. It is a rare and endangered species that should only be preserved by a very committed owner who can meet the bird's demands in full. For good reason, this bird is more prevalent in zoos than it is in private residences. A unique and delicate bird that is almost as big as a bald eagle requires care from an owner who has the time, patience, and means to do so.

Breed Overview

Common Names: Hyacinth macaw, blue parrot

Scientific Name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

Adult Size: 40 inches from head to tail, a wingspan of 4 feet, weighing 2.6 to 3.7 pounds

Life Expectancy: Can live more than 60 years

Origin and History

Eastern and central South America are the natural habitats of the hyacinth macaw. There are three primary populations: one in the eastern Bolivian and northern Paraguayan Pantanal wetland region, one in the Cerrado region of eastern interior Brazil, and one in the Brazilian Amazon basin. The hyacinth macaw often stays away from deep, wet woods and likes to live in palm swamps, wooded regions, and semi-open spaces. It typically grows beside large rivers in the open spaces.

The hyacinth macaw was initially named and catalogued by English ornithologist and artist John Latham in 1790, and since then, the species' natural population has steadily decreased as a result of habitat loss, demand in the pet trade, and hunting for meat and decorative feathers by native tribes. Hyacinth macaws are thus prohibited from being traded internationally under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The bird is currently legally protected in Paraguay and Brazil.

Temperament

The hyacinth macaw is a friendly giant, despite having a scary look due to its gigantic size and strong, sharp hooked beak. Hyacinths are naturally quite kind. Positive reinforcement makes training them simple, and they usually form close bonds with the people who care for them.

The of hyacinth macaws are very diverse, ranging from high trills to deep guttural growls. They have the ability to purr as well. When they gather in a big flock, they typically make more noise.

Colors and Markings

Hyacinth macaws are a , with bright yellow patches around the eyes and beak.

Care and Housing

Before looking for a breeder, inquire with animal rescue groups and adoption agencies to determine if a bird may have been abandoned by someone unable to care for it. Hyacinth macaws are difficult to maintain. Beyond this, find a breeder that specializes in this species as macaws are not often available in pet stores.

Hyacinth macaws are probably not the appropriate pets for everyone because they require more time and care than other bird types. They may be extremely seductive, being big, beautiful, and clever, but avoid the urge to bring one home without giving it some serious thought. This bird requires extensive maintenance and a lengthy time investment.

A hyacinth macaw needs a wide place to live in, as one could anticipate from such a massive bird. There aren't many commercial cages big enough for this bird and hardly any that it can't escape from. Many owners believe that a specially made cage is required, however a whole room devoted to the parrot is preferable. Even though its wing feathers have been clipped, this bird still needs room to fly.

The strong beak can easily reduce most standard cages to ruins. If you must keep the bird in a cage, a stainless steel cage is your best option. The advantages of having a stainless steel cage for years exceed the expense because they are far more resilient and long-lasting. An investment in a stainless steel cage is beneficial.

Due to their destructive nature, hyacinth macaws require a lot of and branches to gnaw on in their cages. You must prepare for regular replacement of them.

Hyacinth macaws must be trained at a young age not to "mouth" their human carers, no matter how softly, as their beak is a strong instrument. They normally appear to like learning and human company and are thankfully extremely docile and gentle. The hyacinth macaw is a highly sociable bird that, like almost other parrots, depends heavily on connection with its human caregiver to be emotionally content. Often referred to be "neurotic," neglected and restricted birds exhibit screaming, destructive tendencies, and self-mutilating habits like pulling feathers. However, if they are given lots of care, they will turn out to be among the nicest of the macaw species and incredibly curious about people.

A hyacinth can pick up a few words and phrases, albeit they are not among the most skilled orators among the macaws, and it will repeatedly use them. They are really smart, and they could even pick up how to use such terms correctly.

Food

Hyacinth macaws generally consume fruit, greenery, and nuts in the wild, particularly those from the acuri and bocaiuva palms. Even coconuts can be broken by its powerful beak. They thrive of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and lots of nuts, especially the macadamia nut, in captivity since they need more carbohydrates than other parrot species do. Hyacinth pellets made specifically for each species can be used to augment a pet's diet.

Exercise

They need enough time to exercise and space to expand as their wingspan may exceed 4 feet. Giving hyacinths a minimum of one to two hours per day on a play gym or other secure location is recommended in order to keep their muscles in excellent condition.

Additionally, these large, attractive birds require chewing to keep their beaks and mouths healthy, so they require a lot of chewable toys. Good options include toys with strips or bits of leather integrated into them, as well as large toys that can withstand the beating of a strong beak. The bird's amazing beak developed to crack open enormous nuts that were discovered, and they use it instinctively to shred and chip at hard items.

Common Health Issues

The hyacinth can be prone to overgrown beaks if they don't have an ongoing supply of toys and branches to destroy. Like other macaw species, the hyacinth can be susceptible to the following:

  • Proventricular dilation disease (macaw wasting disease)
  • Psittacosis
  • Papillomas

The key to good health with a hyacinth macaw is providing it with a diet that meets its special needs, along with regular health exams by an avian veterinarian. 

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

If you are intrigued by the hyacinth macaw, also consider the other macaw species, including: 

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