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What Are the Different Types of Endangered Macaws?

By Bobbie Fredericks
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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As of 2011, there are eight species of endangered macaws, out of a total of 17. There are two main reasons for the endangerment of macaws. Since they are so popular as pets, illegal trapping brings in a lot of money and is quite common. Another reason is the deforestation of their habitat, for lumber and agricultural space.

Macaws are parrots native to the rain forests of Central and South America. They are typically brightly colored with very long tail feathers. There is a great range of size, with the smallest macaws weighing in at 4.5 ounces (129 grams) and the largest weighing nearly 4 pounds (about 2 kg). Macaws eat insects, snails, fruit, nuts and seeds. They can live to be 60 years old in the wild.

Representing the largest of the endangered macaws is the hyacinth macaw. They can grow up to 37.5 to 39.5 inches (about 95 to 100 centimeters) in length. Very popular as pets, illegal trapping accounts for a large portion of their disappearance from the wild. The smallest of the endangered macaws is the blue-headed macaw. This little bird is only about 16 inches long (41 centimeters). Blue-headed macaws are also largely threatened by trapping, since they adapt well to some deforestation.

The little blue macaw, or Spix's, macaw, is very rare. This macaw is only about 21 inches (55 centimeters) long. Very popular as pets, this little bird was illegally trapped to near-extinction. As of 2011, it is potentially extinct in the wild. Another very rare small macaw is the red-fronted macaw. These little birds are highly sought as pets.

Yet another of the endangered macaws, the blue-throated macaw is a beautifully colored blue and gold bird. This is a medium-sized bird, 33 inches (85 centimeters) long. It is equally threatened by trapping and the clearing of land for cattle. Also among the endangered macaws is the great green macaw. This bird is close to the size of the blue-throated macaw, ranging from about 33 to 37 inches (about 85 to 95 centimeters). Typically, it is found in northern South America, and threatened mainly by loss of habitat.

Military macaws are bright green birds with brightly colored red and blue tail feathers. They are moderately sized at 27 inches (70 centimeters), and widely trapped for the illegal pet trade. The similarly sized indigo macaw, or Lear's macaw, is naturally a rare species; collectors can pay a great deal of money for them, making trade of these birds extremely lucrative and further declining their numbers. As of 2011, trapping and habitat loss continues to threaten all types of macaw, as more species near extinction. There are many conservation efforts worldwide to help these birds survive.

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