Species group: Macaws
Other common names: Hyacinthine Macaw
Scientific name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
The Hyacinth Macaw is the largest and most powerful of the macaws, with an enormous bill capable of cracking even the toughest nuts, such as the Brazil nut. Many people also consider it one of the most beautiful Macaws.
A properly trained Hyacinth Macaw is a true gentle giant. Most South American parrots given a high perch would become awfully bossy, yet these birds maintain their sweetness. Still, this expensive endangered species is strictly for experts who can comply with all regulations for holding endangered species, as well as having the financial wherewithal to provide top-notch care, training, and breeding opportunities for these beautiful birds.
The Hyacinth Macaw has been badly persecuted by trapping for the pet trade and is now an endangered species. Yet this species can live happily with humans where it isn't persecuted, and some cattle ranchers are proving the point in the Brazilian and Bolivian pantanal by protecting the birds on their land. Where they are not molested, these proud bird will fly in strongly bonded pairs where they can be easily observed, often vocalizing or even performing courtship activities where all eyes can see, presumably as a way for the pair to put a claim on the territory. It is not legal to capture or harm these birds, and we should not tolerate smugglers or thieves in the pet community. If you become aware of unethical activity, report it.
There are three isolated populations remaining in central South America, including an area in northeastern Brazil, central-eastern Brazil, and a flooded pantanal area of south-central Brazil where some pairs actually fly a route from Brazil in the morning to neighboring Bolivia during the day. They follow the fruiting of certain palm nuts, some of them very tough and probably only crackable by the Hyacinth Macaws. Where they are treated with respect, the birds can become very curious and confiding. There is nothing quite like a pair of curious wild Hyacinth Macaws circling around you to check you out.
A huge blue macaw that you couldn't reasonably mistake for any other bird.
1200 - 1450 grams (42 - 51 oz.)
100 centimeters (39 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
The Hyacinth Macaw has a wonderful reputation among the macaws -- gentle, curious, intelligent and yet not too dominating. Perhaps because of their physical strength, they don't have the same reputation for nerves as a smaller species like the Scarlet. Still, they are macaws, and they possess the most powerful beak in the macaw world, so it is strongly recommended that anyone who acquires a Hyacinth Macaw also invest in some good lessons with a skilled trainer. They love toys and puzzles, and it's part of their nature to want to crack open foraging toys to find the treat within. Indulge and pamper them with the best toys you can afford, and regret nothing when they destroy the toy in question within a few hours.
The Hyacinth Macaw is not a budget bird, but if you have the money to spend on a top shelf pet, it may be worth investigating this species. They have a strong pair bond, and in the wild you would never see one Hyacinth Macaw without looking around to see the other one. Don't neglect this bird or leave it to spend long hours alone. If you cannot be a true companion to the Hyacinth Macaw, it is better to choose a more independent species.
A single Hyacinth Macaw demands a huge powder-coated metal specialty cage of 60"w x 42"d x 72"h with no more than 1-1/2" bar spacing to accommodate its long, graceful tail and its powerful chewing beak. Place stout manzanita perches in all places where you don't wish to replace the perches often, but you should also have in stock plenty of chewable perches and toys that the bird can chew to destruction at will. You should also have sturdy perches and play areas around the home, so that you can spend plenty of time with your pet.
These birds have a very strong pair bond and will develop a close affection with the caregiver, so give them the opportunity to spend plenty of time to you. Even though they are not the most aggressive of the macaws, the beak can be scary or even downright dangerous if you haven't properly socialized them. Teach your pet to step up on a perch on command, so that you can always easily move the bird from cage to playpen to perch without an argument or a territorial defense. Some people have a separate, smaller sleep cage in a safe, dark location to make it easier for the Hyacinth Macaw to enjoy 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Remember, there are no long summer days in the tropics. These birds expect to get a certain amount of sleep every night, not just in the dark of winter.
The wild diet of the Hyacinth Macaw is very heavily or, in some cases, almost exclusively some unusual palm nuts with very tough shells. Creating a healthy Hyacinth Macaw diet in captivity has therefore presented a huge challenge. Feeding a high protein so-called breeder's pelleted diet may be associated with some deaths due to protein poisoning. When you first obtain your new Hyacinth Macaw, talk to your breeder and your avian vet about the very latest diets that they suggest.
At this time, a good basic diet seems to be a low protein formulated pellet, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole nuts high in fat content. The nut with the fat content closest to the wild palm nuts preferred by Hyacinths is the macadamia nut, and for many people, the macadamia nut does become the backbone of the diet. However, provide variety, including Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, pistachios, and filberts. Inspect the nuts to make sure that they don't have any mold or disease, but otherwise allow your Hyacinth to exercise that big beak doing what it does best, cracking huge Brazil nuts. Get involved with a circle of other Hyacinth Macaw owners, and keep on top of the latest dietary recommendations at all times.
Written by Elaine Radford
vibrant blue, true sweetie.These birds, beautiful yellow, stunning creatures.Hyacinths, Dream
lifestyle commitment, hefty pricetag, finances, powder coated cages, intimidating beaks, aggressive play
large macaws, largest species, strong beaks
A Big, Lovely, but Difficult Bird
The Hyacinth Macaw is among the largest parrots. Indeed, this is a BIG bird. I have worked with a few Hyacinths, including one long-term in a rescue capacity, and I must warn you that they can be somewhat difficult. They are highly intelligent, and can indeed be trained and handled easily with a bit of patience, but their size and weight can cause issues. For example, they need a large cage, and even then they need to spend significant time outside of it. Exercise is very important, here: these birds can be extremely destructive if bored.
This isn't really the pet for children or inexperienced bird owners. I would even recommend smaller macaw breeds for experienced owners. They are indeed a truly beautiful bird, and are full of intellect and personality, but take some time to research exactly what your needs and abilities are before you settle on any one parrot breed, especially one as difficult as the hyacinth. Remember; this is a huge commitment, and you want to make sure it is the right fit. I've known hyacinth owners that simply love this species, just make sure you will be one of them..
From EricPickard May 9 2015 1:18PM
The Tazmanian Devil
My Grandfather owned and operated an exotic waterfowl farm. He was also interested in pet birds. He was the founder of the western new york phesant and waterfowl association. Grandpa and I were extremely close and I was always with him, this may be why I have had such an active role with animals through my life. He did not limit the farm to birds, that was just the base line.
Most of the pet birds that we handled were small breeds, cockatiels, doves, budgies ext. Grandpa decided that we were going to start with larger breeds. The jump may have been to fast, but he purchased Taz from another breeder that he was friends with. Taz really was satan.
As a young child surrounded by well handled birds, I wanted to handle this new beauty. I remember being in awe of his gorgeous appealing beauty. Unfortunately, he hated my guts. This was not isolated to me. The previous owner claimed that he had not held Taz in well over a year and he would need a little work to be handlable again. My Grandfather was intensely skilled and charming with birds. After several months, he gave up and rehomed Taz to a breeder that was not interested in handling him.
With this experience, I would love to recommend that you do not fall for the classic line, "he just needs a little work." This is like saying, a kitty that has spent it's life outside eating from a bowl you put out but never being held would make a good house cat. It could happen, but it probably wont.
Before purchasing your large pet fowl, please educate yourself. They are significantly louder then any of the smaller breeds. They will repeat what you repeat (freshen your choice of words!) They require large expensive cages, their diets can be costly as well. They really should have regular vet visits. I find that there is a ton of ignorance when it comes to vetting your bird. They are pets that require health check ups too! They even need sets of shots. But most importantly, know your bird before you adopt. Those beaks are fun, but they really can take your finger off with one aggressive bite. I needed several stitches to prove this to me.
I am extremely against adoption of large pet birds to anyone that has not been around large pet birds. Go to your local pet store, sometimes they will have a big friendly mccaw that you can hold and ask questions. Handle them regularly and get a real feel for them. If your friend has one, ask if you can get to know him and handle him..
From kenmorecare May 5 2014 12:54PM