Why is the Spix’s Macaw endangered?

Spix’s Macaw is one among Endangered Species listed by IUCN also known as the little blue macaw, a bird native to Brazil is a member of tribe Arini and subfamily Arinae, it was first described by German Naturalist Georg Marcgrave. The macaw was named after German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix, who collected the specimen in 1819 in Northeast Bahia, Brazil.

Weighing around 300 grams, Spix Macaw is a medium-sized parrot however, they are smaller than other types of Macaws. The body comes with various colors such as blue with grey-blue head, light blue towards rear end and vivid blue towards the head. Both males and females have identical colors but females are slightly smaller than male counterparts.

Scientific Classification of Spix Macaw

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Cyanopsitta
  • Species: C. Spixii
  • Binomial Name: Cyanopsitta spixii

The species were first inhabited Tabebuia aurea which is a woodland place in Brazil. They had a very restricted habitat. They stayed in the trees here for nesting, feeding and roosting, their primary food was seeds and nuts from the trees in Tabebuia aurea. However, due to deforestation, the numbers of these macaw’s declined around the 20th Century.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified these species as extinct in wild, but some of them are kept in captives and several breeding programs were undertaken and are now maintained through a captive breeding program at several conservation organizations under the aegis of the Brazilian government.

However, Brazilian Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) is now planning to take these birds in the wild once again when there are sufficient birds in captive.

The Spix macaws are easily identifiable with its color, at first glance you would notice a blue color body with bare grey facial skin. They are around 56cm in length which includes the tail. They have a wing size of 24-30cm on average.

Both male and female gender looks identical in color however, the male length is more than that of females and males weigh around 318 grams and females weigh around 288gms on an average.

The body comes with various colors such as blue with grey-blue head, light blue towards rear end, and vivid blue towards the head. The beak is entirely dark grey and the irises are yellow in color.

Spix Macaw’s reach sexual maturity at 7 years of age. Mating involves a lot of courtship rituals like feeding each other, flying together staying together, etc. They make holes in large Caraibeira trees and they reuse the nests made here year after year.

The breeding season for Spix is around November to March, and they lay eggs around January, this is due to the environmental factor in the Caraibeira region. On average, a Spix can lay around 3-4 eggs and the incubation period of these eggs is around 25-28days with only females performing incubation duties.

Spix’s can stay for around 20 years on an average. Their diet in particular is seeds and nuts of various trees such as Joazeiro, Baraúna, Imburana, Facheiro, Phoradendron species, Caraibeira, Angico, Umbu and Unha-de-gato.

The Spix Macaw has now being held in captive as there are no sightings of the wild in nature. As of census during 2013, there are around 96 of these parrots held in captive and are present in Qatar, Germany, Spain, and Brazil.

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