|Illustration by Bourjot Saint-Hilaire|
The glaucous macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus) is a large, all-blue South American parrot, a member of a large group of neotropical parrots known as macaws. This macaw, generally believed to be extinct, was closely related to Lear's macaw A. leari and the hyacinth macaw A. hyacinthinus. In Guaraní, it was called guaa-obi after its vocalizations.
The glaucous macaw is 70 cm (28 in) long. It is mostly pale turquoise-blue with a large, greyish head. The term glaucous describes its colouration. It has a long tail and a large bill. It has a yellow, bare eye ring and half moon-shaped lappets bordering the mandible.
Range and decline
This bird was native to north Argentina, south Paraguay, the chaco and llano region of Bolivia near the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, northeast Uruguay, and Brazil. It became rare during the 19th century due to trapping and loss of habitat, and only two possible reports of wild birds were received in the 20th century. Expeditions by ornithologists to southwestern Paraguay during the 1990s failed to turn up any evidence of the species. Furthermore, only the oldest residents of the region had knowledge of the macaw, with the species last recorded in the 1870s. The bird's disappearance probably is linked to trapping of live adults for the wild bird trade and the wholesale felling of the yatay palm, Butia yatay, the nuts of which appear to have constituted its main food. However, suitable habitat remains in El Palmar National Park, in the Argentine province of Entre Ríos, as well as southern Brazil; however, no rumours of the bird's continued existence in the past several decades have been proven credible. A search conducted by Joe Cuddy and Tony Pittman in the mid-1990s concluded that the birds were extinct in their former range. Rumours persisted that blue macaws were seen in Argentina and Bolivia with a dealer in Rosario, Argentina, offering live specimens. The late George Smith gave many talks rich in conservation information on macaws, including this species, which he stated was not extinct in the wild, but existed in remote areas of Bolivia where he had encountered trappers who could identify this species. Moreover, he stated that stands of pure palm existed “as far as the eye could see” when he flew over the area which is yet to be investigated.
- BirdLife International (2013). "Anodorhynchus glaucus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Species factsheet: Anodorhynchus glaucus". BirdLife International (2008). Retrieved 24 July 2008.
- 3D view of specimens RMNH 110.103 and RMNH 110.114 at Naturalis, Leiden (requires QuickTime browser plugin).
- The glaucous macaw at Bluemacaws.org