The Magnificent Hyacinth Macaw
The Largest of All Macaws
If there were to be a contest for the most beautiful parrot, I would vote for the Hyacinth Macaw.
These birds are the largest flying species in the world and weigh in at about 4 lbs.
I have had the honor of working with a few of these parrots at a bird clinic in Oregon, and I can't imagine ever tiring of looking at their beauty. The power behind the large black beak and the size of the talons give you a healthy respect for the damage this bird could do, and yet the way their eyes soften when you massage their cheek, and the way they gently reach out to take a treat as small as a grape from your fingers make you feel special that they would even care to befriend you.
Possibly the hardest part of my job was to witness parrots such as this sitting on a stand in a room with people handling it.
I have absolutely no doubt that their owners love them with every inch of their hearts, and would possibly spend every last dime to tend to the bird's every need, but . . . these creatures are so intelligent and so wild in their hearts, that to this day, I feel sad remembering seeing them having a hard time even being able to stretch their wings because of the 4 1/2 ft wing span. Those beaks that can snap a broom handle in two are probably only given a mere array of toys to chew on. They will never enjoy finding and cracking a coconut, or macadamia nut in their natural habitat.
It is a question that needs to be looked at. Do we feel we are the doing these massive parrots a justice by keeping them in a habitat that is a false impersonation of their true needs? Or, is it an attempt at heartfelt breeders to further their continuance?
These are intelligent birds that deserve all the attention and respect possible. Let us consider if our attention to them is for our benefit, or theirs . . .
Hyacinth Macaws Natural Habitat
Native to central and eastern South America, the Hyacinth Macaw prefers palm swamps and woodlands to the the dense forest. The birds nest in holes already found in trees, and have small clutches of one to two eggs. The young macaws stay with their parents for about three months, and are mature enough to breed at seven years old.
The macaw's diet consists of a wide variety of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. As with other hookbills, these birds do not need or utilize gravel in their diet as they pull away any seed hull or nut shell before eating them.
The Endangered Hyacinth Macaw
The Hyacinth macaw is an endangered species due to their collection for the caged bird trade, and also because of the loss of their habitat. Though their numbers have been greatly reduced, there are measures to protect the Hyacinth Macaw by several organizations, and many farmers are now protecting the macaws on their lands.
The owners of these birds truly have a treasure on their hands, and will do well to go to any lengths possible to ensure they live as closely to their natural habitats as possible. Knowledge of diet which will include a wide array of foods is of the utmost importance. I have seen too many parrots on a seed only diet and this will surely lead them to an early death.
The intelligence possessed by all parrots demands constant mental stimulation, and this is perhaps the greatest challenge for any parrot owner. A simple toy hung in the corner of a cage is like leaving us with one comic book to look through over and over. Feather destruction and even holes chewed in their own flesh are sure signs of frustration and boredom. If these birds are to be kept captive, then the least they deserve is to have an environment rich in quality foods and stimulating surroundings.