Spix’s macaw

Spix’s macaw, also known as the little blue macaw, is a macaw native to Brazil. It is a member of Tribe Arini in the subfamily Arinae, part of the family Psittacidae. Wikipedia
Scientific nameCyanopsitta spixii

Spix’s Macaw

The Spix Macaw

(Cyanopsitta spixii) is a species of bird considered to be extinct in the wild (a bird was however filmed in 2016) belonging to the Psittacidae family. It was named after the German zoologist and explorer Johann Baptist von Spix (1781-1826).

In September 2018, the NGO Birdlife International announced that the species is extinct in the wild1,2.

In June 2018, a partnership agreement concerning a vast program to reintroduce the Macaw Spix in its natural environment was concluded at Pairi Daiza park (Belgium) 3. This brings together the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, the Pairi Daiza Foundation, the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (Brazil) and the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (de) (Germany). Reintroduction into the wild is planned for 2019-20204

This macaw measures 55 to 60 cm in length for a weight of 340 to 350 g, entirely blue, slightly greenish on the chest and the belly. The head is light gray tinged with blue and the beak blackish.

Spix’s macaw Food

The Spix’s Macaw feeds mainly on seeds and peanuts from non-endemic plants from Brazil, including Paranà pine nuts and Cnidoscolus quercifolius which have been introduced from Argentina. The first is a critically endangered tree, the massive exploitation of which has contributed to the reduction of the natural pantry of the Macaws of Spix.

There are also many other peanuts and seeds like Baraùna, Facheiro and all the plants of the Phoradendron family.

The little blue macaw

Spix's Macaw

Spix’s macaw Population and conservation

Although fully protected by Brazilian law since 1967, the Spix Macaw was only rediscovered in the wild in 1985, when 5 birds (including 2 pairs) were located in the north of the state of Bahia. Trappers had been active in the region for fifteen years, capturing at least 23 birds, even 40, and it seems that in 1988 the last 5 had been poached. However, the last wild survivor was located in 1990. It was then realized that, if trapping was responsible for the recent scarcity of the species, its main cause was the destruction of the forests constituting its nesting habitat, of which there would not remain more than 30 km2.

In 1990, the Brazilian nature conservation authorities created a Standing Committee for the Restoration of the Spix’s Macaw, which brings together various interested parties, including most of the captive bird keepers, as well as representatives of international organizations. nature conservation. Attempts have been made to improve the results of breeding in captivity, which has brought the number of captive macaws to more than 30 individuals; but most of these are very related, which could lead to inbreeding problems. In addition, the question arises as to whether birds born in captivity have the capacity to really serve the interests of the species. In fact, among macaws, relationships with their environment are based on learning and passing on traditions. It takes them years to discover the secrets of their environment, and it seems unlikely that birds born in captivity and belonging to an extinct species in the wild would be able, from scratch, to retrieve the information they have need.

In 1995, after analyzing the feathers of the Spix’s Macaw still at large, carried out with the aim of confirming its sex (male), a captive but wild female was released to join him. However, the wild male had paired with a solitary Illiger Macaw, and although the released female encountered the male, they did not form a pair, possibly due to the Illiger Macaw, and by therefore the female disappeared. As for the male, he has not been seen since 2000 and is probably dead; according to IUCN, the species is therefore now probably extinct in the wild, and only survives in captivity.

The Scarlet Macaw has been listed in CITES Appendix I since its creation (this appendix I groups together the species whose status is so unfavorable that no form of trade is acceptable); the private possession of this macaw has even been prohibited by Brazilian law since the 1960s, which did not prevent the last specimens from ending up in the hands of the richest collectors in the world. No legislation has by itself been able to help such a coveted species.

The few dozen individuals living in captivity are now present in Qatar, the Canary Islands (Spain), Germany and Brazil itself. Coordination is currently in place to reconstitute a larger population by exchange of individuals.

On June 18, 2016, a Spix Macaw was seen and filmed in the wild in the Caatinga region in the state of Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil.

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