The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis; previously Ara caninde) is a macaw endemic to a small area of north-central Bolivia, Brazil, known as Los Llanos de Moxos. Recent population and range estimates suggest that about 100-150 individuals remain in the wild. The main cause of their demise is capture for the pet trade and land clearance on cattle ranches. It is currently considered critically endangered and the parrot is protected by trading prohibitions.
The Blue-throated Macaw is about 85 cm (33 in) long including the length of its tail feathers, and weighs about 750 g (27 oz). It has vivid colours with turquoise-blue wings and tail, and bright yellow under parts and blue under tail coverts. The throat is blue and continuous with its blue cheeks. It has a large black bill. Bare skin at the base of the beak is pink and pale bare skin on the sides of the face is partly covered with lines of small dark blue feathers. The adults have yellow irises and the juveniles have brown irises. It can be separated from the slightly larger Blue-and-yellow Macaw by the blue (not black) throat, the blue (not green) forehead and the lack of contrast between the remiges and upper wing coverts.
In the wild the Blue-throated Macaw often competes for nesting-holes in trees with the Blue-and-yellow Macaw, large woodpeckers and toucans. The number of suitable nest trees has been reduced by land clearing in its range.
The Blue-throated Macaw lives in the savannah 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 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.
They are relatively easy to find in captivity, and the captive population is many times larger than the wild population. Individuals are kept in several zoos around the World, among them, the Santa Cruz zoo in Bolivia.
Several breeding and conservation schemes in zoos have now been set up to save this species. Other projects have been started to protect the remaining wild population, but at present numbers are still decreasing.
In the wild, within the palm groves of Bolivia, birds nest in tree hollows created in dead palm trunks, rotten knot-holes and dead limbs of trees. There is some evidence that parents maintain the third chick of a clutch with minimal food as an insurance against the loss of the older dominant chicks. If disaster should befall the larger chick the parent can switch to feeding the youngest and it will exhibit a constant growth curve from the day of active feeding. It is this physiological response that enables researchers to raise the third chick of a clutch in captivity and then return them to the wild nests when they are nearing fledge.
Blue-throated Macaws are early nesters and utilize these rare resources of nest holes before the other macaws are in breeding condition. (Source: Wikipedia – The Free Online Encyclopedia)
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