Meet the largest species of parrot in the world
Monday 4 July 2005
On your next visit to London Zoo, make sure you see the largest species of parrot – the hyacinth macaw. Growing up to one metre in length, they look incredibly striking with their electric blue feathers and bright yellow skin surrounding their eyes
London Zoo is currently home to eight hyacinth macaws – three breeding pairs and two additional females. As the species mates for life, arrangements are being made so that one of the females can be exchanged with a male from another zoo – creating four pairs in the enclosure. Hyacinth macaws are generally very protective over their mate.
Native to South America, the hyacinth macaw typically resides in light wooded areas. The majority of the species reside in the seasonally flooded Pantanal region of Brazil and Bolivia. Feeding mainly on fatty and oily palm nuts, the hyacinth macaw uses its powerful beak to crack open hard nutshells.
The threats of habitat destruction and trapping for the illegal bird trade have critically reduced their wild population numbers to an estimated 3-5,000. The hyacinth macaws at London Zoo are part of a European breeding program to help conserve this amazing species. The Macaw Aviary, built in 1994, is large enough to allow the macaws to get plenty of exercise, which is an important factor in breeding success.
To replicate their natural diet, our hyacinth macaws are fed a mix of oily seeds and nuts including sunflower seeds, peanuts, macadamia, pecan and walnuts. They also enjoy small amounts of fruit, vegetables and animal protein.
Why not come and visit our resident hyacinth macaws and help us to conserve these and other endangered animals by supporting London Zoo.