Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw – Chew It Over

Hyacinth Macaw illustrated by Ravenari


Chew it over. Being equipped to deal with the hardest and toughest issues. Determination. Persistence. Messages and communication. Faith and loyalty. Deep connections. Twin flames and the concept of soulmates. Work on your issues with others. Don’t give up. Friendships and affection. Connection and community. Air magic. Brightness and boldness. A strong sense of home and place. Connection to palms. Embryonic/nascent magic.


The hyacinth/hyacinthine macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is an ultramarine-cobalt blue parrot with a yellow ring around its eye and a yellow section on its beak. It is native to central and eastern South America, found primarily in palm swamps, woodlands, cerrado, palm-savannahs and semi-open wooded habitats. It is longer than any other species of parrot, at around one metre. It is the largest macaw and largest flying parrot.

It primarily feeds on brazil nuts from acuri and bocaiuva palms. They will also eat coconuts, macadamia nuts, insects, grains, fruits and nectar. Some nuts are so hard, they can only eat them once they’ve been partially digested by cattle, so they will search in cow dung for food. They have a dry, smooth tongue with a bone that allows them to tap easily into fruits. They will fly to find the ripest foods. Their beaks are incredibly strong, for cracking the kernels of nuts and seeds, they can bite through coconuts or a human knuckle. They have been observed displaying limited tool yes, such as using a chewed leaf or piece of wood to keep hard nuts in position while eating them, to prevent them from sleeping. They use their beak as a third foot to assist in climbing, and will sometimes hang sideways or upside down on trees to assist in feeding or for play.

Hyacinth macaws nest between July and December in tree cavities, cliff faces and the manduvi tree (where it depends on the toucan to disperse manduvi seeds). It prefers hollows in trees over 60 years old, so competition for them is fierce. The hyacinth macaw lays one to two white eggs per clutch, incubating the eggs for thirty days, usually only one bird survives. They fledge at around 110 days, and are dependent on their parents until they are six months old. They are mature at seven years of age. Their eggs are preyed upon by corvids, opossums and coatis. The adults have no natural predators.

They are often calmer than other macaws, though the descriptor ‘gentle giant’ isn’t completely accurate, though they can be affectionate, they enjoy rougher play. They are noisy and generally fearless in the wild, as well as intelligent, curious and non-nomadic. They are social birds – gathering in flocks of 10 to 30 – and monogamous, preferring to stay with one mate for life. They will emit harsh alarm calls and can be incredibly loud. They’re most active from morning to mid-afternoon. They will fly in groups of around two to eight around their feeding grounds, enjoy flying in pairs, and sleep together at night. They can live for around 50 to 60 years in the wild.

The hyacinth macaw is affected by the pet trade (in the 1980s over 10,000 birds were taken for the pet trade), as well as habitat loss, and is considered Vulnerable. Many farmers on the Pantanal protect hyacinth macaws on their land. Hyacinth macaws in captivity can become shy, timid, neurotic, aggressive and phobic. Even well socialised hyacinth macaws can be prone to nipping. In zoos and as pets, they are reluctant to breed, and rarely breed successfully, and are prone to overgrown beaks. The hyacinth macaw is legally protected in Brazil and Bolivia. It is a frequently studied bird and involved in many conservation projects.