Lear's macaw (Anodorhynchus leari ), also known as the indigo macaw, is a large all-blue Brazilian parrot, a member of a large group of neotropical parrots known as macaws. It was first described by Charles Lucien Bonaparte in 1856. Lear's macaw is 70–75 cm (27+1⁄2–29+1⁄2 in) long and weighs around 950 g (2 lb 2 oz). It is coloured almost completely blue, with a yellow patch of skin at the base of the heavy, black bill.Show More
Although there are records of the macaw from Britain from the early 1830s, this bird was only generally recognised as an independent species in the late 1970s. It is rare with a highly restricted native range, which was only discovered in 1978, although intensive conservation efforts have increased the world population about thirtyfold in the first two decades of the 21st century. It inhabits a dry desert-like shrubby environment known as caatinga, and roosts and nests in cavities in sandstone cliffs. It mostly feeds on the nuts of the palm species Syagrus coronata, as well as raiding maize from local farmers. Its ecology also appears curiously linked to cattle ranching.Show Less
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
Seed predation, often referred to as granivory, is a type of plant-animal interaction in which granivores (seed predators) feed on the seeds of pla...
A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits or succulent fruit-like produce of plants such as roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds. Approx...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Congregatory animals tend to gather in large numbers in specific areas as breeding colonies, for feeding, or for resting.
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Zoochory animals are those that can disperse plant seeds in several ways. Seeds can be transported on the outside of vertebrate animals (mostly mam...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
Flocking birds are those that tend to gather to forage or travel collectively. Avian flocks are typically associated with migration. Flocking also ...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Lear's macaw is a large, beautiful blue parrot that has a long tail. Napoleon's nephew, Lucien Bonaparte, first described them in 1858, from an illustration by Edward Lear, the well-known British nonsense poet. However, this macaw stayed elusive in the wild and was only accepted in 1978 as a distinct species when finally naturalist Helmut Sick located the wild population. Its head, neck, and underparts are greenish-blue, while the rest of its body is violet/indigo. It has bare skin around its eyes, and the base of its lower beak is pale yellow.
Lear’s macaws inhabit only a small region in Bahia, the northeastern Brazilian state. The two known colonies occur in Serra Branca and Toca Velha, south of the Raso da Catarina plateau. These birds don't migrate and inhabit a dry desert-like shrubby environment known as caatinga, and roost and nests in cavities in sandstone cliffs.
Lear's macaws are social, diurnal, territorial, and noisy birds. Lear’s macaws usually form groups of around 8 to 30 birds, and, to a lesser extent, there are pairs or smaller groups of families. They have conspicuous loud calls and are usually observed flying or perched on the outermost limbs of trees or palms. Typically up to 4 individuals roost in one crevice or hollow of 30 - 60 m (100 - 200 ft) in high sandstone canyons. In the daytime, these birds rest up in shady trees or licuri palms, where they can also feed on the fruits of the palm. They can be observed preening each other, croaking now and again. Lear's macaws are shy birds, and, when alarmed, fly upwards, calling loudly. Then they may circle briefly before they land again on a tree (when they consider it safe), or they will fly off.
Lear’s macaws are herbivores (granivores, frugivores) and eat mostly the hard nuts from the licuri palm, and also the fruit and seeds of numerous other bushes and trees. Their diet also includes maize, agave flowers, a range of ripe and unripe fruits, vegetable matter and berries. They also forage on any available crops.
Lear’s macaws are monogamous, with pairs staying together for life. Breeding takes place between February and April. Pairs will build their nests on the sandstone cliff faces. The female lays 1 - 2 eggs and incubates them for around 26-28 days. The nesting female leaves the nest just for short periods to eat, as her young are dependent on her for feeding and warmth. Once the young have grown protective feathers, the mother will stay away from the nest for longer periods. At night, both parents roost in the nesting area. Chicks that survive to about 3 months, when they fledge, will stay with their parents for a period of time after leaving their nest. They reach reproductive maturity at around 2 to 4 years of age.
The major threat to Lear’s macaws is the illegal wildlife trade, and they are also vulnerable to the availability of their main source of food, the licuri palm, which has recently been greatly reduced in numbers as a result of livestock-grazing. If a major fire wiped out the whole palm population, this parrot’s survival would be fatally threatened.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Lear’s macaws was 1,694 individuals in 2018, including 250-999 mature individuals. Currently;y, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are increasing.
Lear’s macaws have an important role to play in their ecosystem through the dispersal of seeds and nuts within their territory.
One of the earliest records (and one of very few at all) of a Lear's macaw in a public zoo was a dramatic display of "the four blues" including Lear's, glaucous, hyacinth, and Spix's macaws in 1900 at the Berlin Zoo.Show More
According to the World Parrot Trust, the Lear's macaw is currently extremely rare in captivity and may live for 60 years, whereas the Animal Ageing and Longevity Database cites the maximum recorded longevity for a captive Lear's macaw at 38.3 years. It is recommended that this parrot be kept in an enclosure of 15 metres in length.Show Less