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Birds Guide

Spix's Macaw

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Spix's Macaw
Conservation status: Critical[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Arinae
Genus: Cyanopsitta
Bonaparte, 1854
Species: C. spixii
Binomial name
Cyanopsitta spixii
(Wagler, 1832)

The Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) is the only member of the parrot genus Cyanopsitta. This macaw was found in Brazil, in the north part of the state Bahia. The species went extinct in the wild around 2000, when the last male bird died [2], however, there is a captive population of some 68 individuals [2][3][4]. Most of these individuals are bred in captivity. Of these individuals, only 9 are found in breeding programs of zoos; two birds are in Loro Parque, Tenerife, Spain and seven birds are in the Sao Paulo Zoo, Brazil. The pair at the Loro Parque produced two young in 2004. The aim of the breeding program is to eventually reintroduce this species back to the wild.[2] Some 47 animals belong to Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al Thani in Doha, Quatar, who acquired them from private keepers in the Philippines and Switzerland and founded the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation Center. It runs its own breeding program which has produced 12 young so far, 7 of them in 2006.[4][5]

This bird is a delicate, blue-grey macaw with long tail and wings. It has a pale ashy-blue head, distinctively square shaped, and pale blue underparts. Its upperparts, wings and long tail are a more vivid blue.

The decline of the species is attributed to hunting and trapping of the birds, destruction of its habitat, and the introduction of the Africanized bee, which competes for nesting sites and killed breeding individuals at the nest. The three last birds were captured for trade in 1987 and 1988. A single male, paired with a female Blue-winged Macaw, was discovered at the site in 1990. A female Spix's Macaw released from captivity at the site in 1995 disappeared after seven weeks. The last wild male died probably at the site in October 2000.[2]

This bird is named for the German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Cyanopsitta spixii. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is critically endangered
  2. ^ a b c d BirdLife Species Factsheet
  3. ^ University of Michigan The Spix's Macaw
  4. ^ a b Al Wabra Annual Report 2005
  5. ^ Al Wabra Newsletter 6-2006

Further reading

  • Juniper, Tony (2003) Spix's Macaw : The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird ISBN 0-7434-7550-X

External links

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