Hyacinth Macaws – Pantanal, Brazil 2022

Hyacinth Macaws.  As we drove around Caiman Lodge’s extensive grounds in Brazil’s Southern Pantanal, we had several nice encounters with Hyacinth Macaws. Sometimes they were on the ground, in trees or flying around making their characteristic calls. It is hard to miss these striking birds with their raucous call and vibrant colour. They are beautiful birds. Dramatic cobalt-blue plumage provides the perfect background for the bare yellow skin around the bill and eye. It makes them appear as if they are grinning. The large bill is a powerful nutcracker given that their main diet is the very hard fruit of a small number of palm trees. The bill is also used as an aid for climbing around in trees. It can be comical to watch Hyacinth Macaws waddling on the ground or clambering around in the trees.

The Hyacinth Macaw is a vey large bird. Indeed it is the largest of all the parrots and also one of the rarest. The Hyacinth Macaw is one metre in length and weighs an impressive 1.5kg. It is thought that just 6,000 Hyacinth Macaws remain in the wild. Remarkably, more than 10,000 of these most gorgeous birds were captured for the caged-bird trade. Habitat loss is also affecting their numbers in the wild. Encouragingly, conservation efforts centred around enhancing the tourist trade is having a beneficial effect.