Blue Bird Fly
Have you ever seen a Lear's Macaw?
Have you ever seen a Lear’s Macaw? Probably not, right? That’s because even though these majestic birds can live for up to 60 years, they’ve now become extremely endangered in the wild — with fewer than 1,700 individuals remaining. That’s a smaller population than the Pandas we all love and way less than the endangered African Elephant, which numbers over 400,000, that we all want to support.
We’ve seen these beautiful parrots battle through habitat loss, be trapped in the pet trade, struggle through persecution, and compete for food sources to stay in the skies. Sadly, as a result, just like your favorite blue bird logo, they’re on the verge of disappearing. So let’s come together to do good for the real bluebirds. Let’s save a species that needs it now more than ever.
Rare macaw's world population at fewer than 1,700 individuals
Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari)
Habitat loss, hunting and the wild bird trade all endanger the Lear's Macaw. The World Parrot Trust is funding important research into breeding ecology and emerging threats.
The Lear’s Macaw may have always been rare but trapping, logging, persecution and hunting have driven numbers down further. Emerging threats include poaching related to honey-gathering and powerline collisions. By 1983, the global population was just 60 birds but by 2001 thanks to conservation efforts and improved survey methods had increased to 246 birds and later 1,123. The population is now nearly 1,700.
The WPT has long supported work:
- surveying the population and researching its ecology
- detecting potential problems such as low juvenile survival
- uncovering the species' reproductive biology at its second-largest breeding site
- documenting the percentage of fertile eggs laid per season, nestling survival
- investigating the threat of invasive Africanised bees on chicks and adults and solutions to the problem
- researching disease, availability of food and new breeding sites
In 2016, the team discovered that the macaws had returned to a historical breeding site after an absence of four decades.
Status: IUCN Endangered / CITES Appendix I
Wild population: 1,694 individuals
Range: Are found in two colonies at Toca Velha and Serra Branca, south of the Raso da Catarina plateau in NE Bahia, Brazil.
Natural history: Is seen in dry, rugged caatinga (thorn scrub) terrain, mostly in areas with Syagrus coronata palms. Staple food item is Syagrus palm nut, but fruits, agave flowers and maize also taken. Liquid from unripe palm fruit a major source of moisture. Is usually seen in flocks, roosting communally in sandstone crevices. Forages before dawn and returns at dusk. Breeding is October-January; nest is in a cliff tunnel.
- Trapping for wild bird trade, although now reduced
- Reduction in wild Licuri palm stands due to livestock grazing
- Threat of fire wiping out habitat
- Persecution as crop pest
- Hunting for food and wildlife products
Ecology: Lear’s Macaw populations are confined to the Raso da Catarina plateau, NE Bahia, Brazil. This species makes its home in dry, rugged caatinga (thorn scrub) terrain, mostly in areas with Syagrus coronata palms. Its staple food item is Syagrus palm nuts, but fruits, agave flowers and maize are also taken. Liquid from unripe palm fruit is thought to be a major source of moisture. Lear's Macaws are gregarious and usually seen in flocks. They roost communally in weathered crevices near the tops of sandstone ravines. When departing for the day they leave in groups to fly, foraging before dawn and returning at dusk.
We need your help to act when and where efforts are most urgently needed.
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