The Blue-throated Macaw, listed as critically endangered

The Blue-throated Macaw, listed as critically endangered

The blue-throated macaw, also known as the Caninde macaw or Wagler’s macaw, is a macaw endemic to a small area of north-central Bolivia, known as Los Llanos de Moxos, this species is cultural heritage of Bolivia, Recent population and range estimates suggests that about 350–400 individuals remain in the wild. The main causes of their demise is capture for the pet trade. It is currently considered critically endangered and the parrot is protected by trading prohibitions.

 

What is the blue-throated macaw?

The blue-throated macaw is about 85 cm (33 in) long including the length of its tail feathers and has a wingspan of approximately three feet or 0.9 m. It weighs about 900 g (32 oz) to 1,100 g (39 oz). There is little easily observable sexual dimorphism; however, males tend to be a little bigger than females with approximate masses of 750 g and 950 g respectively. Upperparts are turquoise-blue, slightly duller on crown and brighter on rump.

The blue-throated macaw lives in the Gran Chaco of the Beni Department of Bolivia, nesting in “Islas” (islands) of palm trees that dot the level plains. It is not a forest dwelling bird. This species is one of the rarest in the world, There are two areas inhabited by two sub-populations of Ara glaucogularis: one is to the northwest of Trinidad (the capital city of Beni), and the other is to the south of Trinidad. This complex landscape consists of grasslands, marshes, forest islands, and corridors of forests along waterways. They occur most often between the elevations of 200 and 300 m.

Behaviour

Blue-throated macaws are most frequently found in monogamous pairs, but small groups of 7–9 do occur and one large roosting group of 70 is known. It is not known if these macaws will pair with another mate if their original mate dies. Their main mode of locomotion is flying, but they are also able to climb trees, maneuver along branches and walk on the ground. These birds are active during the day and usually stay in one general area. Blue-throated macaws communicate mostly by sound. When they suspect danger, they emit a very loud alarming call and promptly fly off. Blue-throated macaws are known to communicate with each other with quiet caws as well.

Conservation status and programs

The blue-throated macaw has a very small population and is on the verge of extinction in the wild. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered. It is also listed in Appendix I by CITES. Trapping is illegal as blue-throated macaws have been protected by the national legislation of Bolivia and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1986. According to locals the wild population of the blue-throated macaw in the 1980s was thought to number 500-1000 individuals. Although trapping ceased later in the 1990s, the wild population remains low, with previous estimates of between 110–130 individuals, that more recently have been increased to about 350–400 after surveys by Armonia Association and the Loro Parque Fundacion found additional birds.

Image: By David Friel, CC BY 2.0
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Blue-throated macaw.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 Oct. 2017. Web. 21 Oct. 2017.

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