Spixs Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii)

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Cyanopsitta spixii | [authority] Wagler, 1832 | [UK] Spixs Macaw | [FR] Ara de Spix | [DE] Spixara | [ES] Guacamayo de Spix | [NL] Spix’ Ara | [copyright picture] Birdlife


Monotypic species


The Spix?s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) is the only member of the genus Cyanopsitta and has been
presumed extinct in the wild since around the year 2000, due to loss of habitat and illegal trapping. It was found in Brazil, in parts of the Brazilian state of Bahia. It has a very restricted natural habitat due to its dependence on the Caraibeira (Tabebuia aurea) tree for nesting. As at year 2010 there are approximately 85 Spix?s Macaws in captivity. 73 of these are participating in an international breeding program managed by the Institute Chico Mendes of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the Natural Heritage Branch of the Brazilian Government. 56 of these are managed at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), State of Qatar.

Physical charateristics

Various shades of blue, including a pale blue head, dark blue wings and tail. The underside of the wings and tail is black. They have a bare area of grey/black facial skin which sometimes fades to white and is white when they are juveniles. Beak is entirely black except in juveniles which have a neat white stripe down the centre of the beak. The white beak stripe and facial skin off juveniles disappears after 1-2 years. Feet are light grey as juveniles before finishing up dark grey, almost black when adults. The eyes are dark as juveniles but fade to white as the birds mature.

Listen to the sound of Spixs Macaw

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/PSITTACIFORMES/Psittacidae/sounds/Spixs Macaw.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Juan Mazar Barnett

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 55 cm size max.: 57 cm
incubation min.: 25 days incubation max.: 28 days
fledging min.: 65 days fledging max.: 75 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 7  


South America : East Brazil. The Spix?s Macaw is endemic to the state of Bahia which is located in the north-east of Brazil


They inhabit a great expanse of semi-arid territory known as the Caatinga. Within the Caatinga there are micro habitats, one of which – the Caraibeira riparian woodland, was home to the Spix?s Macaw.


In the wild, Spix?s Macaws nested in tree hollows. Copulation usually lasts between 2 and 3 minutes and is done side-by-side with both birds remaining on a perch with one leg of the male (usually the right) mounted on the back of the female?s rump. It is thought that the normal clutch size in the wild was three eggs. However, in captivity the most common clutch size is four and it can range from one to seven. An average egg is 40mm x 30mm and weighs 20 grams when laid. They lay a white oval shaped egg. Incubation period is 25-28 days and only the female performs incubation duties. Females are fed by the male inside the nest as well as outside the nest. Chicks hatch mostly naked with a small amount of down covering. Fledging occurs at approximately 70 days and captive, hand-reared birds become independent at between 100 and 130 days.

Feeding habits

This species inhabits gallery woodland with sufficient numbers of caraiba (Tabebuia caraiba) trees, where it feeds on seeds and fruit.

Video Spixs Macaw


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


Although this species exists in several captive populations, the last known individual in the wild disappeared at the end of 2000, and no others may remain, primarily as a result of trapping for trade plus habitat loss. However, it cannot yet be presumed to be Extinct in the Wild until all areas of potential habitat have been thoroughly surveyed. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct in the Wild).
Estimated 20-30 years in nature and 20-40 years in captivity.The last known wild individual was known to be at least 20 years old, at the time of its disappearance. There is one Spix?s Macaws in captivity which hatched in 1976 and is the oldest recorded individual of the species. While trapping is recognized as the main cause of the species decline, the other significant factor was the alteration and destruction of the regions Caraibeira riparian woodland habitat.
Spixs Macaw status Critically Endangered



Distribution map

Spixs Macaw distribution range map

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