There are now some 400 images on the website, some on the images pages, but many on the articles pages, which are historical and historic. Click on any item hyperlinked in blue to get images or links to articles elsewhere on the website.
WARNING: It has come to my attention that some fraudsters operating scams out of West Africa have been claiming this website as their own in trying to entice potential buyers in Europe and elsewhere into sending them money for non-existent Hyacinthine Macaws. I should like to make quite clear that I am not involved in any way with the dealing and selling of macaws of any species, let alone Hyacinthine Macaws. This website has always been dedicated to just providing news and information on the conservation and legitimate keeping of blue macaws in aviculture where permitted as well as historical data.
Hier klicken fur die Neuheiten/Nachrichten in deutscher Sprache.
Wednesday, 15th May 2013
I have been sent some early documentation on Spix's Macaw conservation by the ZGAP in Germany. I have started translating this and will post it to the website as I complete the translations. The first - a report by Paul Roth on a journey undertaken in April/May 1987 - can be accessed here.
Thursday, 9th May 2013
I have just received a statement from Loro Parque Fundación on the recent repatriation of the Spix's Macaws held there to Brazil. You can read it here.
Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Some old film of a news broadcast in 1987 on Brazilian TV can be viewed at
It relates to the repatriation of two Spix's Macaws from Paraguay to Brazil. Juan Villalba-Macias was Director of TRAFFIC South America at the time and had led a raid with police support to a house in Asunción belonging to Ernst Koopmann, a notorious wildlife dealer of German origin. They were the last known offspring - approximately two months old at the time of seizure - of the Spix's Macaws at Melância Creek near Petrolina in Bahia. It was intended that they would be sent to Europe for re-sale. Apparently a dealer in Petrolina had transferred the two young macaws to a middleman in the south of Brazil for US$ 10,000 and they had been passed on to Koopmann for US$ 20,000. He would have received $US 40,000 from the dealer in Europe.
Thursday, 7th March 2013
You can watch the arrival of the two Spix's Macaws at São Paulo's Guaruhlos airport on 26th February via the following link on U-Tube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h86TRIDAo6c&sns=em . The two macaws were carried off the aircraft in transport boxes before being transferred to transparent containers to be taken into quarantine. They were accompanied by Jürgen Dienst, the representative of ACTP, Germany.
Tuesday, 5th March 2013
In February 2012 I put up a link to a short film on U-Tube featuring the last Spix's Macaw in the wild. There is a slightly longer film with Portuguese sound-track on U-Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLL6D-EBI4Q . Made by biologist Francisco Pontual it is titled "O sobrevivente solitário" (the solitary or lonely survivor) it features some interesting footage of the last Spix's Macaw in the wild taken in 1990 including some of him with the female Illiger's Macaw at a nest hole and also grooming her. Carlos Yamashita and Martin Kelsey also appear briefly.
Monday, 4th March 2013
I learned over the weekend that two female Spix's Macaws - Felicitas and Paula - have been transferred to Brazil from ACTP in Germany at the end of last week.
Wednesday, 27th February 2013
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Denmark informing me of an advertisement that appeared in 1979 in Dansk Fuglehold, the magazine of the Danish Foreign Bird Assocation, where a pair of Spix's macaws held by a Brazilian breeder was offered for sale for 45,000 Danish krone (approx. £ 5,000, US$ 8,000). My informant said he understood they were eventually sold to a breeder in Switzerland.
Monday, 25th February, 2013
I am putting up today an interesting interview with Ryan Watson, which was published in Cage & Aviary Birds in November 2011. My apologies for the delay. I had been asked not to put it up immediately after publishing, but had not intended to leave it so long.
Thursday, 21st February 2013
My apologies for not putting information on-line recently. There's been quite a bit going on, much of which needed and still needs checking out. It appears that the Spix's Macaw Recovery Committee has requested Loro Parque to surrender the Spix's Macaws in its care, including those bred there. Seven macaws are involved. Two - one male, one female - left Tenerife last week and are now at ACTP in Germany. Four more are scheduled to travel to Brazil soon to the NEST breeding facility. More on this very soon.
I have also discovered an article in a.f.a Watchbird written by Steffen Patzwahl 22 years ago about the transfer of a Spix's macaw held at that time at Walsrode Bird Park in Germany to Brazil. You can access this article here. I am also including a short article by David Waugh, published in a.f.a Watchbird in September/October 1997 on the hybridisation of the Spix's macaw. The scientific paper published on this aspect in 2001 can be read here. An slightly earlier paper on the same topic may be accessed here.
Monday, 29th October 2012
One of the most interesting presentations at the AFA annual convention this year - held in August in San Antonio, Texas, was that given by Cromwell Purchase, the Blue Macaws Scientific Co-ordinator at Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar. His presentation "Reproductive Research Strategies for the Spix's Macaw " provided much previously unknown information on the situation with breeding the Spix's Macaw in captivity. At the end of September Sven Hammer, who held a senior position at Al-Wabra and now works for Goerlitz Zoo in Germany, gave a presentation at the annual meeting of the German parrot conservation organisation, Fonds für bedrohte Papageien - this year at Leipzig Zoo - where he expanded on the information provided by Cromwell Purchase. All of this information was included in a paper published in Der Zoologische Garten - an Elsevier publication - earlier this year. I have put the salient points together for this website and you can access them by clicking here. You can acquire the complete paper, which was published in English and contains tables as well as illustrations, by visiting the website for the journal.
Monday, 22nd October 2012
Some more good news from Loro Parque. At the end of last month they reported that the Lear's Macaw pair that has successfully bred every year since 2007 had produced two young, although quite late this year. They have, however, since discovered that the pair, which had laid three eggs, had actually hatched the third egg. The pair are quite aggressive and belligerent when raising young so the staff keep nest-box inspections to a minimum. This is a first. All three young are doing well.
Thursday, 21st June 2012
I have received a press release from Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) on the meeting held recently in Brazil to decide on a National Action Plan for the conservation of the Spix's Macaw and also to outline the plans of AWWP to advancing this. You can read this by clicking here. I have also been sent an image of the flocking aviary for the Spix's Macaws in Qatar and four of the five chicks reared this year so far.
Friday, 18th May 2012
Just heard that Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) has bred five Spix's Macaws this season bringing the total bred there to-date up to 60. Readers will recall that on 7th October 2011 I reported that they had been disappointed in the results of last season. Congratulations to everybody who has been involved in the breeding successes at AWWP over the years. AWWP has also set up a Facebook page, which can be accessed at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spix-Macaw-AWWP/328625947211249.
Tuesday, 1st May 2012
I have now been able to post the article written by Tony Silva and published in 1994 in the International Zoo Yearbook on breeding the Spix's Macaw at Loro Parque. The text includes interesting information virtually day by day on the chick's development.
Saturday, 27th April 2012
Loro Parque Fundación has just released information on an artificial insemination project with the Spix's Macaw, which it has been conducting for several years with the University of Giessen, Germany. You can read about it by clicking here. A photograph with researchers extracting sperm from a Spix's Macaw under the watchful eye of Matthias Reinschmidt, Zoological Director of Loro Parque, can also be seen here.
Monday, 19th February 2012
I've just been sent two U-Tube links on the Spix's Macaw, which I should like to pass on. The first is some archive film from 1990 of the last Spix's macaw in the wild. It also includes the illustration done by Jenevora Seawright more than 20 years ago, which I used in a set of cards I sold at the time to raise funding for blue macaw conservation. I am considering reissuing these with the information updated. The link is
Then there is a short amusing animated film on the wedding of two Spix's Macaws (O casamento da Ararinha Azul).
Monday, 21st November 2011
I was sent this photo today of three of the four Spix's Macaws bred this year - two in January and two at the end of June - at ACTP in Germany this year. They are pictured with their elder sister, Frieda (second left), who hatched in December 2008 (see below), and all appear to be doing well.
Wednesday, 19th October 2011
There appear to be six young Hyacinthine macaws at Loro Parque, not five as reported below on 7th October. Four are in the baby station and doing well as can be seen here.
Friday, 7th October 2011
I have heard from Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) that they have had a disappointing season in breeding Spix's Macaws. Apparently out of 32 eggs laid from 5 hens only one egg showed any visible sign of development. That egg hatched and the chick is doing really well. 11 of the 18 pairs appeared to have been re-paired so hopefully they might have a few more hens laying next year. This season's eggs will be analysed to get a better picture of the status of the eggs - whether, for example, there was early embryonic death, whether sperm actually entered the egg and how much. They also hope to get a better idea of the physiological viability of this season's laying pairs.
On a more optimistic note I have also heard that the three pairs of Hyacinthine Macaws at Loro Parque produced five young. Two are being raised by their parents (one pair) and three are in the baby station.
Saturday, 24th September 2011
At the end of August a four-day workshop took place in Salvador, the main city of the state of Bahia, Brazil, attended by the representatives of 31 institutions directly or indirectly involved with the conservation of the Lear's Macaw in the wild. They met to discuss and agree on the second stage of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of the Lear's Macaw. The meeting was convened by the Chico Mendes Institute for Conservation of Biodiversity, which is responsible for the co-ordination of national action plans (COPAN) in Brazil, and the National Center of Research and Conservation of Wild Birds (CEMAVE), which aims to ensure that action plans for Brazilian avifauna cover the largest number of species and are feasible.
The first stage of the national action plan for the conservation of the Lear's Macaw was agreed in 2006 and monitoring by CEMAVE and COPAN in 2010 has revealed that 69% of the proposed measures in that first stage were successfully implemented. One result has been the increase in the wild population from some 500 birds in 2006 to a possible 1,125 in 2010. Poaching and the illegal trade in the species has also been significantly reduced. However, much still has to be done in improving the quality of the habitat by, for example, planting and protecting the licuri palms (Syracrus coronata), which provide the main natural food for the macaws. This will hopefully reduce the incidence of predation of subsistence farmers' maize crops by the macaws. The second stage will be published later this year and I'll post further information then.
Friday, 2nd September 2011
I have just received some information from Loro Parque. Firstly Simon Bruslund, who worked for several years at Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) before going to Germany to be Zoological Director at Walsrode, has joined the team at Loro Parque as Curator of Birds. I have known Simon for many years and know he will make a great contribution there. Secondly four Lear's Macaws have been bred at Loro Parque this year to the two breeding pairs there, thus bringing the total of Lear's Macaws now held at Loro Parque to 27 birds.
Wednesday, 24th August 2011
The September 2011 issue of Parrots magazine has a report entitled " The desert Spix's ", which the editor, John Catchpole, has kindly allowed me to reproduce here.
Friday, 12th August 2011
I've just got back from San Francisco, where I went to attend this year's American Federation of Aviculture's (AFA) convention. I have been attending this three-day convention for nearly twenty-five years and it's where I got to know Thomas Arndt in 1988, which resulted in our collaboration on the Lexicon of Parrots. There was as usual an excellent programme of presentations. Well-known veterinarian Susan Clubb gave the opening keynote address on the past, present and future of aviculture and the pet bird industry. Of particular interest to blue macaw lovers were the presentations by Matthias Reinschmidt, now Director of Zoological Operations at Loro Parque, who talked about the breeding of rare macaws there, and Scottish-born Ian Tizard from Texas A & M University, who gave an update on research into avian bornavirus, which he and his team identified as the cause of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD). This is important as many of the captive Spix's Macaws are suffering from this. He also gave a separate interesting presentation on the Scarlet Macaw Genome project, which he is conducting for the Schubot Centre. To date only the chicken, turkey and zebra finch have been completely sequenced among avian species- the research for the first two being sponsored by the poultry industry. They hope to publish the genome sequence of the scarlet macaw in October of this year. It would be great if they could follow this up by sequencing the Glaucous and Lear's Macaws to solve the relationship riddle of the two species. The DNA of the Glaucous could be obtained from the leg of a museum specimen.
While I was in the USA I received a photo of the two recently hatched Spix's Macaws - see 5th July 2011 below - from ACTP in Germany. As the adult pair at ACTP are siblings the male will be sent to Loro Parque and ACTP will receive another adult male.
Tuesday, 12th July 2011
I've been sent the link to an interesting article in the Washington Post published on 4th July 2011. You can read it here.
Tuesday, 5th July 2011
A short news report on the Spix's Macaws at Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation by the Al Jazeera English language channel can be viewed ion U-Tube by clicking here . While on the subject of Spix's Macaws I have heard that ACTP in Germany has successfully hatched another chick and there may be more on their way. Congratulations to all involved at ACTP! I'll bring further news, hopefully with images, when I receive it.
Friday, 17th June 2011
I attended the Parrots International annual symposium in Coral Gables, Miami, at the beginning of the month. It was held in the Biltmore Hotel, a huge very grand art deco structure built in the mid 1920s. The hotel has very extensive grounds including an enormous golf course, but still with plenty of trees. It also has a feral parrot population, which includes Blue and Yellow Macaws (Ara ararauna), several species of Amazon parrot such as Lilac-crowned (A. finschi) and Orange-winged (A.amazonica), conures such as Aratinga mitrata and frontata as well as Brotogeris and Pionus species. I went out early on the last day with Roelant Jonkers, one of the symposium speakers, and his partner, Grace, who are recognised experts in feral parrot populations worldwide and managed to get some reasonable photographs of the local feral parrots.
The two-day symposium was very informative and also enjoyable. The speakers included David Waugh from Loro Parque Fundaciόn, who gave the opening keynote presentation on the work of the Fundaciόn and Ryan Watson from Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar, who gave his usual excellent presentation on breeding the blue macaws there. He also informed us he would be moving to Brazil soon to look after the AWWP operation there. Let's hope this will give much needed impetus to the re-introduction into the wild of the Spix's Macaw. Other Blue Macaws people present, whom I was very pleased to see, were Neiva Guedes from the Projeto Arara Azul, Yara Barros, who now works at Foz do Iguaçú and, of course, Ryan's wife, Monalyssa, who is a blue macaws specialist in her own right.
I arrived two days early, so managed to visit Island Jungle, formerly known as Parrot Jungle, in its location on Watson Island, just off one of the causeways over to Miami Beach from the mainland. I first visited Parrot Jungle in its old location in a Miami suburb more than 25 years ago, but it was my first visit to the "new " location. It occupies some 18 acres ( just over 7 hectares or 70,000 sq. metres) on the island and thus is just slightly larger than the former Parrot Jungle. It still holds a lot of parrots, although there are many hybrids. Parrot Jungle also used to have many hybrids, which included a green Hyacinthine Macaw. Nonetheless I enjoyed my day there wandering around and attending the shows.
Just before I left I visited the shop and bought a book entitled "Miami's Parrot Jungle and Gardens - The Colorful History of an Uncommon Attraction " written by Cory H.Gittner and published eleven years ago in 2000. I started reading it on the flight back to the UK and found it very readable as well as informative. However it held a big surprise for me. On page 108 I learned that the very first breeding of the Lear's Macaw in captivity was at Parrot Jungle and not Busch Gardens in Tampa as I had always believed.
The author wrote " ...... But breeding did thrust the attraction back into the international spotlight in 1982. In June of that year, the world’s first Lear’s macaw was born in captivity at Parrot Jungle. Lears (sic) are perhaps the rarest of all macaws with less than fifty individual birds living in a protected forest of northern Brazil. In 1952, Parrot Jungle received two male Lears along with a shipment of hyacinths, which they resemble. In 1981, one the males, Jet, was paired with a female loaned from Busch Gardens in Tampa. The birth of their chick, Buscherr, made headlines around the world. At the time, Jerome’s wife, Nita, had been hand-raising chicks in special cages at their home close to Parrot Jungle. She also specialized in nursing sick birds back to health. She fed Buscherr for three months until he was eating on his own and then packed him off to Busch Gardens. The next year, two females were successfully hatched. Unfortunately Buscherr died young from intestinal parasites. By 1990, both the mother and the other Parrot Jungle male were dead of old age. Today, Jet and his two daughters are the only known Lear’s macaws in captivity in the United States. The Lears, along with three other rare macaw species – the Spix, the blue-headed, and the glaucous – almost certainly face extinction. .............." The text was accompanied by a monochrome picture taken from a local newspaper in 1982.
As this information is contrary to published literature I have since spoken to several leading experts, who also believed the first breeding was at Busch Gardens, and am trying to get confirmation from Jungle Island.
Finally I was fortunate enough to get an invitation to visit the private facility operated by the Berlin-based ACTP in Florida and see the St Vincent Amazons (Amazona guildingii) acquired from Ramon Noegel in the USA some five years ago. The parrots live in large suspended flights, which allow them plenty of movement, and they looked well cared for. I saw no evidence of the obesity problem, this species of Amazon is prone to. They have also hatched a chick successfully very recently there.
Sunday, 10th April 2011
A film crew from Globo has visited the Lymington Foundation near Sao Paulo to see Presley, the Spix's Macaw, which was repatriated several years ago from the USA to Brazil, and appears to have inspired Carlos Saldahna, the director of Rio, the animated film mentioned below with trailers, just released. It also appears he made the male Blu darker blue than the female Jade and more like a Lear's Macaw, so the audiences could tell them apart easier. You can watch a short clip of the visit to Lymington Foundation via the link below. My thanks to Linda and Bill Wittkoff at Lymington for sending the link.
Thursday, 17th March 2011
I received some more information with new photos of the two Spix's Macaws hatched earlier this year - see entry on 2nd February below - from ACTP in Germany today. The two young macaws, called Kiki and Felix, are being hand-reared and doing well. The staff at ACTP are hoping the adult pair may lay again soon. Frieda, who hatched in 2008 has now developed her full plumage and has become a "macaw beauty." Kiki and Felix will be introduced to her when they have been weaned.
With so much interest being generated about the animated film by the Brazilian director, Carlos Saldanha, reported on below - 15th February 2011 - with links to trailers, the Sunday Times decided to produce a report entitled "Birds of a feather who can't flock together - in its magazine issued on 13th March. The report is very interesting with titbits of information such as the US owner of Presley, who has never been publicly identified, named him after the singer's blue suede shows. Apparently it was the press reports on Presley's return to Brazil that fired Saldanha's imagination.
Tuesday, 15th February 2011
An animated film about a blue macaw - ostensibly a Spix's Macaw - , which is discovered in the USA (shades of Presley here) and sent to Brazil to pair up with a lonely female, is about to be released. Hopefully it will arouse the interest of the general public in the on-going situation with the Spix's Macaw, if only for a few months. It certainly provides a rare opportunity for all those closely involved with the re-introduction programme for the species to make contact with a much wider audience. There are trailers viewable on U-Tube.
In English at
and in German (Deutsch) at
Wednesday, 2nd February 2011
I have just had news from ACTP in Germany that the Spix's Macaws there produced two fertile eggs, which hatched successfully on 18th and 21st January. The male - Ritchie - was returned to Germany last September year after failing to breed at the Lymington Foundation in Brazil where he had been on breeding loan since early in 2007. Altogether the pair produced four eggs, one of which was infertile. The three fertile eggs were removed and placed in an incubator. As stated above two hatched, but the third apparently had its umbilical cord tightly wound around its head and it could not pick the shell. The two surviving hatchlings are being hand-reared.
The adults have re-commenced breeding behaviour and ACTP expects that they will lay a second clutch soon. The female is incidentally the mother of Frieda, who hatched in December 2008 (see below). I congratulate all at ACTP on this breeding success so soon after Ritchie's return.
Friday, 21st January 2011
I have just received a press release from Loro Parque on the breeding successes for 2010. Breeding another Spix's Macaw as well as seven Lear's Macaws were, of course, the highlights of the year. The proven pair of Spix's Macaws are currently incubating a fertile egg. For the first time a second pair in the breeding centre has started to breed. The female, Bonita, was hatched there in 2006 and is now four and a half years old. She is one of the youngest Spix's Macaw female to have laid eggs even though they were found to be infertile. However the team at Loro Parque is confident the pair will produce fertile eggs soon.
Tuesday, 18th January 2011
A belated happy new year to everyone! There has been a problem with the English Index page by author for the articles to the website, although strangely this problem did not affect the German index page. I have now hopefully sorted this out so it should be easier for visitors to the website to access articles quickly and easily. Please send me an e-mail if you continue to experience problems with this.
Tuesday, 14th December 2010
I thought the depiction of a Hyacinthine Macaw in Rebau's work - see below 12th December 2010 - looked familiar and indeed it is virtually the same as that produced by Travies for the "Disciples" edition of Georges Cuvier's Le Règne Animal distribué d'après son organisation (Edition accompagnée de planches gravées) published in 1836, twenty years before Rebau's work.
Sunday, 12th December 2010
I am working on the video footage and should publish it soon. In the meantime Nicole Ludwig from Cologne has sent me some information on a natural history book published in 1856 based on a work written by Christian August Gebauer, who used the pen-name Heinrich Rebau. He lived from 1792 to 1852. In 1818 he became Professor of Philosophy at Bonn University, but apparently gave this up in 1823 and thereafter lived an itinerant existence as author and poet in south-west Germany in what is now the state of Baden-Württenberg. He ended up in 1848 in Tübingen, where he died four years later.
In a work called Vollständige Naturgeschichte des Thierreichs (Eng: A Complete Natural History of the Animal Kingdom) published in Stuttgart four years after his death there is a plate with an illustration of a Hyacinthine Macaw. The work was substantially revised and supplemented by Eduard Brandt before publication. The description in the text is quite short simply stating it comes from Brazil, but also includes a very interesting reference to breeding success in Germany. Apparently a pair had laid nineteen clutches in a four and one half year period, of which 25 hatched. Of these ten died, but the remainder became conditioned to the local climate. I am now on the search for further information about this remarkable pair.
Thursday, 25th November 2010
Some exciting news. Lear's Macaws have been sighted in the Boqueirão da Onça region, more than 200 km (150 miles) west of Canudos, where the main population resides and breeds - well outside the accepted distribution area of the species. The region of Boqueirão da Onça is part of the São Francisco river basin and comprises the municipalities of Sento Se, Campo Formoso and Umburanas in the extreme northwest of the state of Bahia. Last year CEMAVE, the National Centre for Bird Conservation Research, organised two expeditions, one in May during the wet season and another in August in the middle of the dry season. The findings of the expeditions reinforces the need and urgency to create a national park in this region. Here is a photo taken of two macaws by Ciro Albano, who accompanied the expeditions.
Information on the expeditions appeared in a poster session at the International Ornithologists Congress held in Brazil in August of this year. My thanks to Elivan Arantes de Souza of ICMBIO for further information.
Interestingly the expedition of the Austrian Academy of Sciences was in this area in 1903 and in his report published in 1926 Othmar Reiser mentions that "According to information received the “arara preto“ as well as the red macaw is supposed to breed in the numerous holes and crevices in the rocky galleries and often inaccessible rock formations near Riacho d’Ardeia and lays eggs in December. " (my translation). The original German text suggests that Reiser simply assumed the macaws were Hyacinthine Macaws. It now seems possible that they were Lear's Macaws. The Reiser report can be read by clicking here.
Saturday, 13th November 2010
While looking around on YouTube I came across the following two short items relating to the breeding of Spix's Macaws at Loro Parque, which may interest visitors to this website. The first shows Matthias Reinschmidt Parque feeding a newly hatched Spix's Macaw
and the second consists of a short presentation by David Waugh and Rafael Zamora in Spanish about breeding Spix's Macaws.
I have been very busy in the last four weeks, but hope to bring new information soon as well as some unique film footage I made many years ago of Spix's Macaws in the wild.
Thursday, 30th September 2010
I have just returned from Tenerife from attending the VII International Parrot Convention. Despite the global economic crisis it was well attended with some 650 participants from around the world. The speakers, who were talking on a wide range of topics, were excellent and despite the uncertain weather - unusual for Tenerife at this time of year - we enjoyed all the accompanying social events. Late one afternoon we all travelled to the south of the island to sample Loro Parque's new water attraction, Siam Park, brillantly conceived and executed by Christoph Kiessling, the son of the founder of Loro Parque, and his team. Many of the participants tried out the numerous exciting rides, including an enormous water slide, which finished with the visitors sliding through a transparent tube in a shark-infested tank. The day finished with a party on the artificial beach there and an impressive firework display.
We also had the opportunity to visit the breeding centre at La Vera and see the many species and sub-species of parrot being successfully bred there, including the Lear's and Spix's macaws. Of course no visit to Tenerife would be complete without going to Loro Parque itself and enjoying the attractions there, including the huge "Katandra treetop" aviary with Australian and Asian birds inaugurated a year ago.
The proceedings with all the presentations are available in English, French, German and Spanish in digitalised form on CD as well as in hardcopy and can be ordered from the Loro Parque Fundacion website. Make sure you order your copy!
Monday, 20th September, 2010
Only two more days to go for the opening of the VII Parrot Convention in Tenerife. I have just received a press release from Loro Parque with the latest information on developments there. The huge "Katandra treetop" aviary inaugurated a year ago and accommodating mainly birds from Asia and Australia can be enjoyed by attendees of the convention. They will also be able to see three of this year's Lear's Macaw chicks in the hand-rearing station. Two others are still with their foster parents - a pair of Green-winged Macaws (Ara chloropterus) - while one of the adult pairs is raising its own young. Finally the other pair of Lear's Macaws has produced the first egg of the second clutch. This clutch will remain with the parents to allow this now experienced pair the opportunity to raise the young produced.
Tuesday, 7th September 2010
Just two weeks to go until the great event in Tenerife. The 7th International Parrot Convention starts with the evening welcome reception on 22nd September. I have just received some news from Loro Parque. The young female Spix's Macaw hatched earlier this year has been moved into an aviary with her older sister, Turquesa, bred in 2004. She has been named Yara in honour of Yara Barros, the Brazilian biologist, who observed the last surviving wild male until its disappearance in 2000 and then was responsible until recently for the Spix's Macaw project in Bahia. Her important work revealed much information about the nutrition, behaviour and habits of the Spix's Macaw in the wild, which will one day provide the essential basis for the re-introduction of the macaw into its natural habitat. Here you can see Yara with Turquesa in their aviary.
Loro Parque has enjoyed great success with breeding Lear's Macaws this year - so far five young from two breeding pairs, making a grand total of 15 since 2007. Here you can see three of this year's young with their eyes still unopened.
Wednesday, 1st September 2010
I have heard today that Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar has updated the Spix's Macaw fact file. This is now available in English, German and Portuguese at the Al Wabra website. There is also a video of an interview by Christopher Booker about the important work with the Spix's Macaw conducted at Al Wabra. You can view it by clicking here.
Tuesday, 24th August 2010
The three male Lear's Macaws confiscated very recently in the Czech Republic (see reports on June 15th and August 20th below) appear to be only some five months old and are still partially reliant on hand-feeding. I have also realised the atlas of parrots mentioned in the news report can only be the Lexicon of Parrots produced by Arndt Verlag in Germany, since it is the only work on parrots published where every species and subspecies of parrot has a dedicated page entry number.
Friday, 20th August 2010
It was confirmed to me today that the Spix's Macaw bred earlier this year at Loro Parque is in fact a female and not a male as suggested in my report of 23rd June.
The three Lear's Macaws confiscated in the Czech republic - reported by me on June 15th below - have now been confirmed as male and according to Pavla Rihova of the Czech Environment Inspection Agency, will probably go to a captive breeding programme. The only one I am aware of in Europe is at Loro Parque. The authorities in the Czech Republic appear to have had the group of five parrot breeders responsible under some form of surveillance for a number of years. The breeders apparently used a code to denote species when e-mailing each other based on the page number in an atlas of parrots.
Thursday, 12th August 2010
We were very disappointed to hear at the AFA convention from American veterinarian Dr Darrel Styles that it has been established now that avian bornavirus is not the sole causative agent for Proventricular Dilatation Syndrome (PDD), known colloquially as Macaw Wasting Disease, as thought two years ago. This means the development of an effective vaccine is at present not possible.
The 25th International Ornithological Congress will be taking place at Campos do Jordão in Brazil from 22nd to 28th August. The city of Campos do Jordão is 170 km (106 miles) north-east of São Paulo and 300 km (190 miles) north-west of Rio de Janeiro. Among the speakers are Neiva Guedes from the Arara Projeto Azul and Luis Fabio Silveira from São Paulo University. Neiva will be taking about her project's highly successful work with Hyacinthine Macaws in the Pantanal and Professor Silveira on the equally successful work with the Lear's Macaws at Toca Velho near Canudos in Bahia. There is further information on the IOC website here.
Wednesday, 11th August 2010
I have just got back from attending the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) annual three-day convention, which was held this year in St Petersburg, Florida. The convention went well and I shall report further on this shortly. The weather was quite severe at times with some very heavy rain during the day and thunder storms in the evenings.
While I was in the USA I received some good news from Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar. They have successfully bred six Spix's Macaws (1 male, five female) this year - pictured here - and two Lear's macaws (both female) - pictured here. Two of the Spix's Macaws are the first in the international breeding programme to be bred from a second generation parent - a female. The father of the two is a 36 year old wild caught bird. He is not only genetically important for this reason and the oldest known Spix's Macaw to have reproduced, but the oldest Spix's Macaw ever recorded. Hearty congratulations to Sven Hammer, Ryan Watson and the rest of the team at Al-Wabra for these record-breaking breeding successes.
With the six bred at Al-Wabra and the female bred at Loro Parque this year, the studbook managed population of Spix's Macaws now stands at 73 macaws (29 male, 44 female), of which 56 (22 male, 34 female) are held at Al-Wabra.
Friday, 9th July 2010
I watched a very interesting BBC programme last evening on Harpy eagles in the Orinoco area. These magnificent creatures predate Hyacinthine Macaws occasionally as this illustration shows, but its usual prey consists of various species of monkey and sloths. Even the very young eaglets have enormous feet and claws as this picture shows and again here of a seven month old. Various members of the production team were attacked by the female as they attempted to use climbing equipment to get within camera shot of the nest.
Thursday, 24th June 2010
I have just heard from Loro Parque that the 1st International Convention on the Conservation of Psittadae - Science, Policy and Practice, which was scheduled to be held from 20th to 22nd September 2010, will unfortunately now not take place. This is due to lack of attendees. The dire global financial situation continues to affect scientific, zoological and conservation organisations and institutions particularly badly. The main convention from 22nd to 25th September will, however, take place as scheduled. I have removed the information about the scientific convention from the website, but information about the main convention with booking forms is still available here.
Despite the financial situation interest in the scientific convention was very high worldwide. Therefore Loro Parque will consider organising such a convention in addition to the main convention in 2014.
Wednesday, 23rd June 2010
I have just heard from Loro Parque that the Lear's Macaw pairs there laid eggs at the beginning of the month and at least one is fertile. Loro Parque plans to have a Lear's Macaw exhibit in the main park so attendees at the convention in September will be able to see them there as well as in the breeding centre. The young Spix's Macaw hatched earlier this year will be on view in the breeding centre with his 6 year old sister. Here is a recent photo of him.
Monday, 21st June 2010
I have now put up the photos I took twenty years ago of the Glaucous Macaw specimens in the Natural History Museum collection at Tring. I have been sorting through my photos, slides and video footage for interesting material and will add anything I find in the coming weeks. I am also looking into re-ordering all the information on the website.
Tuesday, 15th June 2010
A report has just appeared in the Prague Daily Monitor that 18 rare parrots have been confiscated in the Czech Republic. These included three Lear's Macaws as well as five Palm Cockatoos. Apparently the cockatoos were discovered first in a vehicle during a road check on the D2 highway near Breclav in southern Moravia in May. This led to further investigation and most of the other birds were found during home searches. The Lear's Macaws were in another vehicle, a Skoda Octavia, with forged documents. The investigation is still ongoing. Full report here.
Monday, 7th June 2010
I have just changed the server arrangements for the website and hope this does not cause problems for any visitor. The e-mail address has also changed. I have also discovered that a fraudster in the Cameroons has been claiming ownership of this website in a scam to sell non-existent Hyacinthine Macaws. I should like to make quite clear that I do not sell nor deal in macaws of any species, let alone Hyacinthine Macaws.
Wednesday, 26th May 2010
I heard today that the young Spix's Macaw bred this year at Loro Parque is just about to fledge. It is some 70 days old. I hope to bring a recent picture soon. I am also changing the hosting arrangements for the website after some 13 years and hope that there are no problems for anyone with this.
Monday, 17th May 2010
Well, as you are all probably aware by now we have a coalition government in the UK. We'll have to see how it develops. Anyway preparations for the conventions in Tenerife are well underway. The early-bird booking date of 1st July is drawing closer. I have heard that the first workshop planned for 26th September after the two main conventions have finished is now booked out.
Thursday, 6th May 2010
Today is election day for the UK. It is a beautiful sunny day, the bluebells are out in the local wood and all the birds are singing in the hedgerows. I doubt we shall be singing tomorrow. It looks like we shall have a "hung Parliament" - a situation where no political party has gained an overall majority - when we really need at this time clear decisive governance. Coalitions have never really worked in the British political scene except in dire situations such as total war. We are therefore entering new territory.
On 13th April 2010 below I promised to bring
more information about the transfer of the young female Spix's Macaw and Lear's
Macaw bred at Loro Parque to Brazil. In the press release issued at the end of
April Loro Parque states "The 22nd of March was a memorable day,
because for the first time two young animals that were bred in the Loro Parque
Foundation, returned to their home country Brasil, to be paired with the
appropriate partners from the zoos of Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte. This event
After the birds had arrived safely into the state quarantine of Sao Paulo, Dr. Reinschmidt and Mr. Elstner, accompanied by a German television crew of the SWR which is filming a documentary for the first German television channel (ARD), continued travelling to look for some history and “traces” and at the same time to visit the parrot conservation projects, financed by the LPF.
In the Caatinga they visited the former habitat of the Spix’s Macaw, and the breeding cliffs and feeding areas of the Lear’s Macaw. They were able to observe flocks with up to 150 Lear’s Macaw. After that the trip took them to the Pantanal, the largest swamp area of the world, and the retreat of the Hyacinthine Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). Here among the many blue macaws they also many other parrots and birds as well as many mammals and caimans. The 90-minute documentary of the trip will be broadcast at the end of the year on the first German television channel."
The report was accompanied by this photo of Matthias Reinschmidt and Frank Elstner.
Thursday, 22nd April 2010
Some of the information on the two conventions in Tenerife in September has been slightly amended. I have posted the updated information in the various languages on the website. There is also new information on the poster session planned for the Scientific Convention.
Posters will be placed in a section of the Convention hall (Sala Gran Teide - Hotel Botánico), and can be displayed throughout Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd September. Poster presenters should station themselves by their posters at intervals during the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd, 14.00 to 18.00, to answer questions and explain their work. Posters can be set-up at any time on the Tuesday or Wednesday, but must be in place by 13.45 on Wednesday 22nd September. The guidelines can be viewed in English here and in Spanish here.
Friday, 16th April 2010
I am very pleased to report that the fertile egg from the re-united Spix's Macaw pair, which I mentioned on 25th February 2010 below, successfully hatched on March 11th. It is now 35 days old and weighs a healthy 258 g. Here is a picture of the chick at 11 days with Matthias Reinschmidt. There are 71 Spix's Macaws in captivity now. Although Birdlife International refers to 120 on its website, this is highly speculative. There were 78 noted in the official studbook, but after no evidence was made available to prove the existence of 12 macaws in Switzerland, which were included, the studbook-keepers decided to remove them from the record. Two have since died and seven hatched, thus making the present verifiable total 71 macaws.
Further to my brief report on 13th April 2010 below the young Spix's Macaw returned from Loro Parque very recently to Brazil will eventually join the breeding group at São Paulo Zoo and the Lear's Macaw will go to the zoo at Belo Horizonte. Here is a photo of three young females at Loro Parque. Both Spix's and Lear's macaws can be visited by attendees at the conventions in Tenerife in September and this is included in the list of 33 good reasons produced by Matthias Reinschmidt to travel to Tenerife then. There are at present 17 Lear's Macaws and 8 Spix's Macaws at the Loro Parque breeding centre in Tenerife.
Thursday, 15th April, 2010
I have been reading Rosemary Low's latest book " Go West for Parrots - A South American Odyssey ", which is quite different from her other many books on parrot keeping and breeding. I have known her for nearly twenty-five years and have long admired her dedication to the preservation of parrots, whether in the wild or in the aviary. She has been publishing books for nearly 40 years and during this time got to know many of the great names in conservation and aviculture. This very personal book relates her experiences on many trips throughout Central and South America over a 35 year period. It touches on the enormous changes during this period throughout the continent and the various endeavours, successful and otherwise, to conserve parrots and their habitats. She has not been afraid to offer criticism where she felt it necessary.
Rainer Niemann has written a short book review for publication in the April edition of "Papageien", which I have translated. You can read the translation by clicking here and the original German text by clicking here.
Tuesday, 13th April 2010
I have had the opportunity to study Cameos from the Silver-Land; Or the Experiences of a Young Naturalist in the Argentine Republic by Ernest William White published in 1881. He travelled extensively in Argentina including the north-eastern regions along the Parana and Uruguay rivers. Although he writes about the depredations to crops caused by various species of parrot he does not mention any macaws. I cannot imagine he would not have referred to the Glaucous Macaw if he had seen or heard about it. This may be a clear indication of how the population had declined since D'Orbigny was there in 1827.
I have put up an up-dated list of the organisers for the Loro Parque conventions in September. It now includes, for instance, an organiser based in Japan. You can find it here. The American Federation of Aviculture has also included information on its website and potential visitors from the USA can find it by clicking here.
Finally Matthias Reinschmidt from Loro Parque has just returned from a trip to Brazil where he delivered a young female Spix's Macaw and a young Lear's Macaw, both bred at Loro Parque. He was accompanied by a German TV film crew from ARD so German visitors to the website can look forward to an interesting programme soon. I am awaiting more information on these transfers and will post them to this website as soon as I receive it.
Thursday, 25th March 2010
I went to the Natural History Museum library again in London yesterday to try to track down a depiction of the Hyacinthine Macaw, which appears in Cuvier's Le Règne Animal distribué d'après son organisation , numerous editions of which were published in the first half of the 19th century. In English it was called "The Animal Kingdom, arranged according to its organisation" and in German "Das Tierreich nach Gestaltung unterteilt" The English edition contained a large amount of new material not in the original French version. You can view the plate and small amount of text by clicking here.
Monday, 1st March 2010
I made a quick visit to the Natural History Museum library in London today between business appointments and managed to copy the text of Vieillot's entry on the Hyacinthine macaw in La Galerie des Oiseaux published in 1825 in Paris. You can view it here. It raises some questions as the description is rather more of a Glaucous Macaw although the accompanying plate looks more like a Lear's macaw.
Sunday, 28th February 2010
I have added brief biographical information on Vieillot to the entries from the Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle published in Paris in 1816.
Thursday, 25th February 2010
More good news from Loro Parque. The Spix's macaws, which were re-paired after the male was returned from Berlin last year, have produced a fertile egg. Visitors to the conventions in September will have the opportunity to see the Spix's Macaws at the Loro Parque Fundación breeding centre.
Thursday, 18th February 2010
I have now put up the entries on the four blue macaws from the Lexicon of Parrots . This comprehensive work by Thomas Arndt featuring images and information in the wild and in aviculture on every species and subspecies of parrot first appeared in eight loose-leaf parts between 1990 and 1996. Several years later it was updated and produced in CD format. It has just been updated again with new information from the field as well as taxonomic changes and this third version is available in DVD format. It is still the only work with photographic images of every species and subspecies of parrot, extant and extinct, as well as video footage. I have been involved from the outset in preparing the English language edition from the German original.
Sunday, 14th February 2010
We have had snow again in the south-east of England. I woke up to find 8 inches (20 cm) had fallen overnight. I have now added the Latin text to the entry on George Shaw's Museum Leverianum, which was published between 1792 and 1796. The illustrations of birds and animals in this rare work are quite delightful.
Saturday, 13th February, 2010
The information on the forthcoming 7th International Parrot Convention in Tenerife in September is now completely up on the website in the various languages (see below on 9th February). I have also included a list of the local organisers for visitors to the website to contact if they should require further information or wish to book.
Tuesday, 9th February 2010
Some time ago I promised information on the 7th International Parrot Convention, which will be held on Tenerife in the Canary Islands this coming September. This great occasion for parrot aficionados and experts is held every four years and is really an unmissable event. The 7th International Parrot Convention will be preceded this year by the first Scientific Convention on Parrots. Information is available in English, French, German and Spanish by clicking here. Further information is available at the Loro Parque website.
Friday, 22nd January 2010
I have now completed the translation of the entry on the Hyacinthine Macaw in the report by Otmar Reiser on the zoological expedition to northeast Brazil by the Academy of Sciences in Austria in 1903. The scientists were shockingly very ready to shoot the macaws in some numbers and also eat them. You can access this English translation by clicking here.
Wednesday, 20th January 2010
I received news from Loro Parque today that the two Spix's Macaws, which were re-united recently after a two year absence of the male on breeding loan in Germany, have been busy in the nest-box. The female is organising the nesting material in the box and is being fed by the male. There is also intensive mutual grooming activity. A camera has been placed to the nest-box to observe their behaviour and you can see one of the images by clicking here.
Friday, 8th January 2010
A belated happy new year to everyone. We are experiencing a long spell of exceptionally cold weather in the UK at the moment. Minus temperatures everywhere - in Scotland as low as minus 25C - and the entire island is covered in snow as you can see from this satellite image. I am working on a number of interesting texts at the moment which I hope to put on the website soon.
Thursday, 12th November 2009
The Ornithea in Cologne, Germany, at the end of last month went well. This unique show had fewer aviaries and birds than last year, which meant it was less crowded in the gangways. On Friday, 30th October the show was visited by some 800 primary and secondary pupils from the area. As well as seeing exotic and native birds - all aviary-bred - in natural settings close-up, they had the opportunity to ask the club members detailed questions about the birds. Among the birds were rarities such as Bali Starlings (Leucopsar rothschildi). A German breeder has successfully bred more than exist in the wild now and it hoped that a re-introduction programme can be set up once the species' protection in the wild can be assured. Altogether some 2,000 adult visitors came to the show over the three days it was on, most at the weekend. There were, of course, many amateur photographers and interestingly many of the school children returning with their parents.
Monday, 9th November 2009
I attended the annual convention of the German parrot conservation organisation "Fonds für bedrohte Papageien" (Eng: Funding for Endangered Parrots) at the end of September. This year it was held at Walsrode Bird Park -probably Europe's best known and most interesting bird park, which had faced closure, but fortunately had been rescued earlier in the year by a large company. The one-day programme was varied and interesting. The only presentation on the blue macaws was an excellent illustrated talk by Nicole Ludwig on her experiences at Al-Wabra Wildlife Conservation in Qatar on assisting in the training of Spix's macaws to accept veterinarian examination and treatment. There was also a brief unscheduled report on the situation with the Lear's Macaws at Serra Branca in Bahia, Brazil. It was, however, curiously alleged that the Lear's Macaws did not breed at Raso da Catarina near Canudos because the temperature there was lower than at Serra Branca. This is, however, incorrect as the these photos of eggs, a chick and fledgling clearly show.
I have also just been sent a report published two years ago in a Brazilian specialist ornithological journal suggesting that the Lear's Macaw is a sub-species of the Glaucous Macaw. This report is in Portuguese so I need a little time to translate it to place on this website.
Monday, 26th October 2009
I can now reveal that the two female Lear's Macaws bred at Busch Gardens in Florida in the early 1980s have been transferred to Loro Parque in Tenerife as part of the international breeding programme. They are at present in quarantine, but eventually will be paired with two young males bred in recent years at Loro Parque. There are now 17 Lear's Macaws at Loro Parque. You can see an image of one of the females by clicking here.
Ornithea will be held again this coming weekend (30th October to 1st November) at the school centre in Porz-Zündorf, a suburb of the city of Cologne in Germany. Last year more than 450 birds from 169 species and sub-species were exhibited in 124 aviaries and large exhibition cages, which were very attractively arranged with small trees, foliage, grass, rocks and water features. The birds range from native species to exotics, all of which have been bred in aviculture. None are for sale. Each year the birds are presented in a different setting. More information (in German) as well as a comprehensive album of photographs of the exhibition at the show website.
Thursday, 17th September 2009
On 25th April 2008 I mentioned a study entitled Conservation Puzzle in which Neiva Guedes from the Projeto Arara Azul played a major part. It studied dispersal of seeds from the manduvi tree on which the Hyacinthine Macaw depends for nesting and the role played by the macaw's greatest predator, the Toco Toucan, in this dispersal. You can view the report by clicking here.
Wednesday, 9th September 2009
I have at long last got round to translating a short article mentioned by me below in January 2007 by Hans, Baron Berlepsch published in 1917, in which he mentions seeing Anodorhynchus leari during his journey to eastern Paraguay in 1886. This obviously aroused my interest at the time and I am still following this up with further research. In the meantime the translation with interim comment by me can be viewed by clicking here.
Tuesday, 8th September 2009
I have noticed that one of the three specimens of the Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus) held at the Smithsonian in Washington DC is alleged to have been collected by Cpt. Thomas Page in March 1860, some four years after he apparently returned from his famous expedition on behalf of the US Government. I shall investigate this and report back.
Friday, 28th August 2009
The type specimen for the Hyacinthine Macaw is held in the Natural History Museum in Vienna. It was acquired by its representative in an auction of the Leverian museum collection held in London in 1806. You can read about it here as well as view images of the type specimen and the plate in Shaw's famous work. I am grateful to Nicole Ludwig from Cologne again for sending me photos of the type specimen after she visited the museum in Vienna recently.
Wednesday, 26th August 2009
I think I have cracked the problem with the author index page. This should make finding information much easier.
Monday, 24th August 2009
Great news again today. Loro Parque has successfully bred four more Lear's macaws. Both adult pairs produced a total of four eggs - two were placed with a pair of Green-winged Macaws and the remaining two with a pair of Blue and Yellow Macaws. Altogether Loro Parque now has 15 Lear's Macaws. The provision of the cliff face with the nest-box hidden behind has obviously been effective. The pair of Hyacinthine Macaws at Loro Parque also produced a beautiful chick. Congratulations to the team there led by Matthias Reinschmidt.
Friday, 21st August, 2009
Just got back from the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) annual convention, which was held this year in Houston. This year I was speaking, but not on the blue macaws, but on the Slender-billed Conure (Enicognathus leptorhynchus) in the aviary and in the wild. I am supporting a conservation project for this engaging species in southern Chile headed up by Jaime Jiminez from the University at Osorno. I have been attending the AFA conventions fairly regularly since the 1980s and indeed it was at the convention in 1988 that I met Thomas Arndt and began what has proven to be a fruitful working relationship. This year's convention was very enjoyable and I shall bring more news on this very shortly.
I have noticed that the Indices page in English is not functioning properly and am trying to resolve this. The German indices page has been working perfectly from the start, but for some reason the English page appears to have stopped working. My apologies in the meantime.
Finally we have the date for the world's leading parrot convention, which is organised by Loro Parque and held every four years in Tenerife, Canary Islands. This unmissable event - the 7th in the series - will be held from 22nd to 25th September 2010 with the presentations on 23rd, 24th and 25th September. In 2010 there will be triple event with the first International Convention on the Conservation of Psittacidae: Science, Policy and Practice preceding the main convention from 20th to 22nd September and a three-day workshop following it from 26th to 28th September. I shall bring more detailed information on the conventions and workshop very shortly.
Thursday, 16th July 2009
I received a press release from Loro Parque today with some up-to-date information on developments in the breeding centre there. Breeding the Lear's macaws continues to have its problems with adult macaws being too rough with the eggs. They are now under CCTV observation so that action can be taken as soon as a problem arises. You can read more about this and other successful breedings in the press release by clicking here. Die deutsche Version sieht man wenn man hier klickt.
Tuesday, 30th June 2009
I have just got back from attending the 1st International Parrot Symposium in Dublin. It was held at Trinity College in the heart of the city on Saturday, 26th and Sunday 28th June. There were 16 speakers from 10 countries, which included Matthias Reinschmidt from Loro Parque, Cristina Miyaki from São Paulo University in Brazil, Lorenzo Crosta from Italy, Rick Jordan and Mark Stafford from the USA, who all have involvement with the blue macaws.
Matthias confirmed that Loro Parque now have four pairs of Spix's Macaw in the breeding centre in Tenerife (reported on 17th March below) and he continues to have success with breeding Lear's Macaws. Cristina talked about the DNA studies she has carried out in recent years, which revealed, for example, that the last remaining Spix's Macaw in the wild, which disappeared nine years ago produced a hybrid embryo from its pairing with a female Illiger's Macaw (Primolius maracana). You can see the text of the paper produced in 2001 by clicking here. She also confirmed that most of the Hyacinthine Macaws traded illegally within Brazil originate from outside the Pantanal, where most of the existing population occurs (see report on 8th July 2008 below).
Interested visitors to this website can get more information on the proceedings at the symposium website.
Wednesday, 9th June 2009
Some more good news. I've heard that in addition to the three Spix's Macaws bred at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar - mentioned below on 29th April 2009 - they successfully hatched two more. Congratulations to Sven, Ryan and the rest of the team.
I have also been sent a photo by Barry Kyme of the Spix's Macaw owned by George Smith in the 1970s. It was taken by his late father, R.T.Kyme, in 1976. Barry says it shared an aviary with a Yellow-eared Conure and was called Bobby. According to George Smith in a report he wrote in 1990, which was unpublished until I put it on this website last year, his Spix's Macaw was sent to Walsrode in 1980 to pair with a Spix's Macaw there. It apparently died in 1989. Horst Müller photographed a pair at Walsrode in 1985. George's macaw must be one of this pair. The other macaw, called Pele, was sent to Brazil in 1990 or 1991, where it died in 1994 or 1995 without reproducing.
Friday, 22nd May 2009
I have just been sent this page from a photo feature on macaws by Carlos Yamashita. Carlos, who works for IBAMA in Brazil has become a legend in conservation with his endeavours.
Wednesday, 29th April 2009
Great news! The team at Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar successfully hatched three Spix's macaws earlier this year. The first two chicks hatched in late February and the third on 2nd March. All three are doing well. The breeding success was particularly important because it came from the most important pairing genetically at Al Wabra. Most information in Portuguese and German as well as English can be found at the Al Wabra website. Congratulations to Sven, Ryan and the rest of the team there!
Wednesday, 8th April 2009
Spring is on its way in southern England. The first leaves are arriving and the magnolias and fruit trees have started to blossom. Some good news about the status of the Lear's Macaw. The last count indicated there were nearly 1,000 birds in the wild and as a result of this sustained increase in the population BirdLife International and the IUCN have decided to lower the threat category from "Critically Endangered" to Endangered". Planting and protecting licuri palms as well as compensating farmers in the distribution area for damage to maize crops will become even more important now. I hope to bring news of this year's breeding successes soon.
Wednesday, 17th March 2009
The regular meeting of the Spix's Macaw Conservation Committee took place last week in Brazil at São Paulo Zoo and I understand went well. A male Spix's Macaw - a designated founder bird - has been transferred to Loro Parque in Tenerife for pairing in the near future. There are now eight Spix's Macaws (three male, five female) at Loro Parque.
Monday, 9th February 2009
This year is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and there is an enormous amount of information appearing on TV and being broadcast on the radio as well as exhibitions all over the place. One recent programme produced by National Geographic highlighted the development of birds from dinosaurs and specifically from a small raptosaurus the size of a large pigeon, which looks like a miniature velociraptor. They referred to it as a microraptor. It appears the raptosaurs developed feathers to maintain body temperature as they got smaller and the development for flight only came much later. The link appears obvious with newly hatched parrots such as cockatoos and regular visitors to the website may recall that in my report on Monday, 4th December 2006 I mentioned how reptilian the Spix's Macaw looked with its eye and bare facial skin. You can see the image I used then by clicking here. There has also been interesting research recently pointing out the similarity of the genome for producing feathers and that for producing scales. They introduced feather genomes to the legs of a chicken before it hatched and it had feathered legs. They also discussed the possibility of introducing scale producing genomes to an emu egg to see if it hatched with scales. I must confess to feeling uncomfortable with this. More information about Darwin can be found at the BBC website I heard today that a full-sized replica of his cabin on the Beagle is being installed at his former home, Downe House, near Orpington, Kent in the southeast of England.
Tuesday, 6th January 2009
Frieda continues to thrive and I have just been sent this image by ACTP in Germany.
I have also added the entry on the Hyacinthine Macaw in the 15th Volume of the Naturalist's Miscellany by George Shaw published in the 1790s to the historical documents.
Monday, 22nd December 2008
The successful hatching of Frieda, the young Spix's Macaw at ACTP in Germany has been given extensive coverage in the German press, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine, which published a more up-to-date photo of Frieda than the one below. I reproduce this here.
Also while I was in Brazil I heard that the two fledgling Lear's Macaws, which were discovered on the ground by a field biologist at Serra Branca in March 2003 and were held there under guard in a specially constructed large aviary, were finally released a year ago. When I was there in July 2004 they were quite tame even then and climbed down the aviary wire to interact with me. A release some four years later could not have been easy. I am trying to get more information on this.
It also appears that the wild population of Lear's Macaws has increased somewhat. Field workers now believe there are now in excess of 900 macaws. If correct this is excellent news. It also accounts for the quantity of maize being handed out to local subsistence farmers as compensation for damaged corn crops.
Friday, 19th December 2008
At the end of last month just before I left for South America I received news from Germany that one of the three eggs laid by the pair of Spix's Macaws held at the premises of the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (German: Verein zur Erhaltung bedrohter Papageien) near Berlin had successfully hatched. The hatchling has proven to be female and is called Frieda. One of the other eggs was fertile and hatched with assistance, but sadly that hatchling did not survive. The third egg was said to be infertile. Frieda is the only Spix's Macaw successfully hatched this year worldwide within the international official breeding programme. Any breeding within the group of Swiss aviculturists outside the official programme is, however, at present unknown.
ACTP claims to hold further Spix's Macaws in Switzerland, which produced two young last year, but I have not yet had this confirmed by a reliable independent source.
Thursday, 18th December 2008
Nicole Ludwig from Cologne in Germany, who worked last year at Al-Wabra Wildlife Conservation for the summer, has just sent me some photographs she made of the type specimen of the Spix's Macaw held at the Munich Natural History Museum. This was the specimen brought back to Europe by von Spix after his expedition to Brazil from 1817 to 1820 and described by him in Avium Brasiliensium Species Novae four years later. Two images can be viewed on the Spix's Macaw images page.
Wednesday, 17th December 2008
On Tuesday, 5th August 2008 (below) I commented that perhaps tissue samples should be taken from Presley, the elderly Spix's Macaw now apparently past reproduction capability, for future cloning purposes. However, I very recently discovered an article in the May 2003 issue of the American magazine, Bird Talk, where it stated that some blood shaft samples of growing feather tissue were actually taken from him before he was repatriated to Brazil and sent to San Diego Zoo's Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species facility. It was alleged that there they grew these into fibroblast tissue cultures, which were then frozen so that in future the nuclei from these cells could be harvested for cloning.
Presley was allegedly illegally exported to the USA from the UK in the late 1970s. He was captured as an adult and transferred through Paraguay to the UK. Thus he must be his mid-thirties. I saw him a few days ago and he is enjoying retirement in Brazil under the excellent care of a member of the Spix's Macaw Recovery Committee. Hopefully he will be able to live out his days there without further stressful upheaval.
Thursday, 20th November 2008
Just heard that Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation's first parent -reared Lear's Macaw - a female - fledged at its premises in Qatar on 15th August.
Tuesday, 18th November 2008
I have just returned from attending the Aviary Convention at Jurong Bird Park mentioned below on 5th October. More about this later. In the meantime the purchase of the Concordia ranch by Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) in the former habitat area of the Spix's Macaw has been confirmed after seven months of negotiations and navigating legal mine-fields.
Located in Bahia State in the district of Curaça, the 2,200 hectar (5,500 acres) Concordia Farm is within the most historically significant range of the Spix's Macaw. One of the last recorded sightings of wild Spix's Macaw amongst the Caraibeira Trees lining the Melancia Creek, which flows through the property, was during October 2000. Concordia Farm was also the base of the Spix's Macaw field project, which operated throughout the 1990s, until completion in 2002. In 1995, the release of the only captive Spix's Macaw back into the wild, was from this location.
AWWP secured Concordia Farm for the Spix's
Macaw and plans to allow it to return to a more natural state by removing
domestic livestock. In the long term, it hopes that this land will prove to be a
valuable habitat resource for plans in the future to re-establish Spix's Macaws
back in the wild
Sunday, 5th October 2008
Some good news from Chester Zoo in the UK. They have managed to breed a parent-reared young Hyacinthine Macaw. The parents named James Bond from his ring number and Miss Moneypenny, which had come from the USA in 1992, had hatched a chick previously, but it was hand-reared by the keepers at the zoo. It appears that a change of accommodation and diet has led to breeding success. The young macaw hatched in May, but has only recently left the next-box, where it was mainly cared for by the female. Neither the parents or their offspring are on public display.
Last weekend I attended the annual day seminar of the Fonds für bedrohte Papageien (Engl: Funds for Endnagered Parrots) - a parrot conservation group set up by parrot breeders and keepers in Germany under the auspices of the Munich-based ZGAP - Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationschutz (Engl: Zoological Society for Species and Population Conservation). This year it was held in the Dinosaur Museum located in the extensive grounds of the zoological and botanical gardens in Stuttgart, known as the Wilhelma. I had opportunity to visit the museum with its brilliantly staged dinosaur collection, the Natural History Museum and the zoo itself. The Natural History Museum is also based in another small palace in the grounds of the Wilhelma, where there is incidentally a growing breeding feral population of some 50 Amazon parrots, mainly Yellow-headed Amazons (Amazona o. oratrix). There were several species of parrot in the zoo, including Hyacinthine Macaws and Kakas from New Zealand, which are rarely seen in captivity.
The Natural History Museum was small, but like the Dinosaur Museum, also brilliantly staged. It had a small room dedicated to extinct species, which apart from a dodo skeleton included mounted specimens of a pair of Cape lions, a pair of Passenger Pigeons, a Giant Auk, a Caroline Parakeet and the finest thylacine or Tasmanian Wolf/Tiger I have ever seen. This species, which like the Glaucous Macaw is rumoured still to exist without any real evidence, is generally accepted to have become extinct in 1935 with the demise of the last remaining captive animal in Hobart Zoo, Tasmania. The specimen in Stuttgart, which looks like a female, was received by the museum there in 1899.
In Germany preparations have begun for this year's Ornithea show, which will be held in the Cologne suburb of Porz-Zündorf from 31st October to 2nd November. This show, which is organised by the local bird breeders' group in the secondary school hall there features birds bred in aviculture in planted aviaries and large exhibition cages with water features and rock formations. Last year's show had 108 such enclosures with some 500 native and exotic birds from 185 species and sub-species ranging from soft-bills through parrots to owls and small raptors. A list of the birds shown last year can found on the club's website. The birds are displayed in as natural an environment as possible and are not offered for sale. There is a one-day seminar on the Saturday to which well-known speakers are invited, but these are held in German.
Finally the 2nd Aviary convention will be held at Jurong Bird Park in Singapore in mid-November. Held every four years internationally known speakers talk on a range of topics. More information can be found at its website.
Monday, 8th September 2008
Just a quick up-date on the situation with the young Lear's Macaws at Loro Parque, Tenerife. The oldest macaw bred this year has now fledged and is pictured here with Isa, one of the staff at Loro Parque. The other three youngsters, now about four weeks old, are doing well, one with the parents, one with foster-parents (Green-winged Macaws) and the third being hand-raised by Matthias Reinschmidt in the "Baby station". The latter two youngsters were from eggs laid by the second adult pair of Lear's macaws. Since acquiring the two adult pairs in October 2006 from Sao Paulo Zoo under the international breeding programme, seven youngsters have been bred - three last year and four this year.
The procedure with the young macaw being raised by its parents has been interesting to say the least. As the adult pair kept damaging the eggs they produced, the eggs were taken and placed under foster parents if viable. One of these was replaced in the Lear's Macaw nest-box with an infertile egg from a Blue and Yellow Macaw pair (A. ararauna) . After the Lear's Macaw placed with the Green-winged Macaws (A.chloropterus) hatched, a young Blue-throated macaw hatchling (Ara glaucogularis) of the same weight was put in the egg casing, which was then deposited under the Lear's Macaw parents immediately after removing the infertile Blue and Yellow Macaw egg. Four days later as the Blue-throated Macaw hatchling reached 55 grams it was removed and replaced with the Lear's Macaw hatchling. Thus the young macaw was returned to its biological parents after they had demonstrated that they could at least feed and raise any young.
Saturday, 23rd August 2008
I have just been sent a photograph of young visitors to a bird show in Switzerland with Lear's Macaws. Regular visitors to the website may recall that on 15th April 2005 (see below) I reported Lear's Macaws had been shown at a show in eastern Switzerland by a Mr Constantin Santoli, who worked as a parrot consultant for the Swiss authorities. Soon after the macaws were allegedly stolen in a break-in at his premises. Having looked at the website of the Amicale du Bec Crochu (Engl: Friends of the Hook-bills), where this photo appears to be used to promote their current show programme, I have discovered it does relate to the November 2004 show, which I reported on in April 2005. The Swiss authorities still stubbornly refuse to take action against the Swiss holders of Spix's and Lear's macaws despite repeated representations by the Brazilian Government and other interested organisations. This cavalier attitude is always discussed at conventions held on parrot conservation all over the world and continues to cast the Swiss authorities in a seriously negative light.
Tuesday, 12th August 2008
Further to the item below (5th August 2008) on the isolation of the virus causing PDD, the University of California has issued a press release. You can view it by clicking here.
Friday, 8th July 2008
Patricia Faria and her team have just published a study of the genetic variation and population structure of the Hyacinthine Macaw with its implications for conservation in Biodiversity and Conservation. Three populations were studied - in the southern and northern Pantanal as well as Piauí in northern Brazil. Five confiscated macaws were also included. The investigators discovered that compared to other parrots Hyacinthine Macaws possess a relatively lower genetic variation and that the individuals within the two Pantanal populations belong to a unique interbreeding population and are genetically distinct at nuclear level from the macaws from Piauí. The analyses of the five confiscated macaws suggest that the Pantanal is not the source of birds for the illegal trade. They concluded that the low genetic variability detected in the Hyacinthine Macaw does not seem to pose a threat to the survival of the species.
I recall being told by leading Brazilian aviculturists in São Paulo several years ago that the macaws in illegal trade within Brazil came from Piauí and not the Pantanal. Neiva Guede's dedicated work in the Pantanal arousing awareness on conservation issue among the local people there has clearly impacted on poaching and the illegal trade.
Wednesday, 6th August 2008
I received the August issue of Gefiederte Welt, a leading German bird magazine, this morning and found a report on an unintended breeding of a hybrid macaw where the father was a Hyacinthine Macaw and the mother a hybrid produced by a Green-winged Macaw (Ara chloroptera) male and a Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) female. This is known as a Harlequin Macaw in the USA. In addition the Hyacinthine Macaw male was blind. The German breeder had acquired the male to pair with a Hyacinthine female. It soon became apparent that the male had problems with its sight and this deteriorated until he became blind. Although he was kept in a very large aviary he managed to climb around to find the food and water bowls as well as the nest-box. Eventually the pairing resulted in a clutch of fertile eggs, but these failed to hatch. Then sadly the female died. The breeder did not want the now fully blind male to be put through the stress of breeding so placed a hybrid macaw of undetermined gender with him in the aviary for company. The two macaws got on well together, but the breeder was still very surprised to find the hybrid macaw incubating three eggs in early summer 2007. He then later discovered a well-fed young macaw. There was a glass panel on the back of the nest-box so he was able to watch the macaws with the youngster. The latter was well cared for, but the breeder never saw the female feeding it although the blind father was observed climbing into the nest-box to feed it. The three macaws now live together in the aviary and the young bird is still occasionally fed by the male Hyacinthine Macaw.
I have seen other similar hybrids, one twenty years ago at Parrot Jungle in Florida, which was a hybrid between a Hyacinthine Macaw and a Military Macaw (Ara militaris). This looked like a normal Hyacinthine macaw except it was green. In Germany several years ago two hybrids between an Hyacinthine Macaw and a Blue and Yellow Macaw were produced. These also look like Hyacinthine Macaws except they have a yellow breast. The hybrid in the story above looks more like its mother, but has the typical Hyacinthine Macaw eye with its yellow periophthalmic ring.
It should be said that all these hybrids were allegedly unintentionally produced. As most macaw species are endangered it is irresponsible to intentionally breed hybrid macaws and unintentional breeding should be avoided now it is known that it can occur.
Tuesday, 5th August 2008
I have just got back from the American Federation of Aviculture's annual convention - this year in St. Louis, Missouri. Apart from the AFA convention we visited the St. Louis zoo, which is excellent and, unusually, open free of charge to the public. I went to the famous Arch on Sunday after the convention finished, but there was a long wait to ascend its 630 feet, so I visited the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Museum at its base instead. This interesting museum celebrates the pioneer movement westwards and settlement of the great prairies and the hinterland of the west coast.
Much of the convention was dedicated to avicultural matters - housing, feeding, behavioural problems, breeding, etc. As far as this website is concerned the most important items were the training of the Spix's Macaws at Al-Wabra to accept handling for veterinarian treatment by Karen Justice, from Charlotte, North Carolina, aspects of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD), otherwise known as Macaw Wasting Disease, although it has been found in 50 species of parrot, and cloning possibilities for the future.
During the convention we were excited to learn that the virus causing PDD may have been identified by researchers at the University of California as belonging to the bornavirus group, which also causes encephalitis in horses and livestock. Samples were apparently supplied by well-known veterinarian Susan Clubb. More samples are to be tested, but the findings are to be reported on at the annual meeting of the Association of Avian Veterinarians next week in Savannah, Georgia. They will also be published in the August issue of Virology Magazine. Identifying the causative agent will be the first step to developing a vaccine for this devastating disease.
The chronic in-breeding among the captive Spix's Macaws could be helped by cloning with tissue from important "founder" birds. Presley, the Spix's Macaw, discovered in the USA several years ago and now in Brazil, is not capable any more of successful reproductive activity. However, if tissue from him could be used to create a clone or clones, then this could also assist in assuring the future of the species. Today I heard a radio report that a pit-bull terrier had been successfully cloned in Korea despite the enormous difficulties. The technology to clone birds is probably a long way in the future, but maybe we should be taking steps already to establish a tissue bank for that eventuality.
I shall post any progress on any of the above as soon as it becomes available.
Monday, 21st July 2008
Global Rural TV in Brazil has just broadcast an excellent 15 minute programme on the Lear's Macaw in Bahia, including some marvellous footage of the macaws, explaining the problems of conservation, the importance of the licuri palm to both the macaws and the local people, and the maize compensation scheme. You can view this programme, which is in Brazilian Portuguese, by clicking on this link . Even if you do not understand Portuguese, it is still worth viewing as you are certain to get the gist of it.,
Friday, 11th July 2008
Great news from Loro Parque. Two more Lear's Macaw young hatched yesterday (10th July), one each from the two adult pairs that Loro Parque received on loan from the Brazilian Government in November 2006. So far two males and one female were successfully bred from Pair 1 in 2007 and this year so far two young have been hatched from Pair 1 (28th April and 10th July) and one from Pair 2 (10th July). In addition there are two fertile eggs from Pair 2, which are expected to hatch soon. Again congratulations to Matthias Reinschmidt and his team.
Tuesday, 8th July 2008
Two Lear's Macaws - an old female from Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds and a male on loan from South Africa - which died in the early 1990s when in Harry Sissen's care and which he had mounted on his sideboard are on display in an HM Customs and Excise exhibition at the Liverpool Maritime Museum. They were confiscated by the authorities several years ago and now form a focal point for this interesting exhibition. You can see an image of the pair by clicking here.
Sunday, 6th July 2008
I have now put an index of entries by author on the website after receiving comments from visitors about the difficulty in finding information. You can find this on the first page. However, you can also access it direct by clicking here. I am working on other indices, also in other languages, particularly German. Ein Verzeichnis der Artikel in deutscher Sprache findet man hier.
Wednesday, 4th June 2008
I have just got back from the Parrots International symposium on the Queen Mary at Long Beach, California. Although the symposium was dedicated to parrots of the Caribbean, there were presentations on other conservation projects for parrots in other parts of the world, including one from Ryan Watson of Al-Wabra on the problems he is encountering in breeding Spix's Macaws from livestock, which is very in-bred. He showed us a chart, which showed that most of the captive-held birds worldwide are seriously in-bred.
We were also told that the purchase of the Concordia ranch near Curaça in northern Bahia adjoining the Gangorra ranch already acquired in February 2007 should be completed soon. This will enable a substantial area in the last known habitat of the Spix's Macaw in the wild to be restored for an eventual re-introduction of the species into the wild. The area that the last remaining male ranged over was, however, much larger than the land acquired to date, so it is likely that even more land will have to prospected. Meanwhile a search for other suitable habitat remains to be carried out in accordance with the Recovery Plan.
Finally I have been sent an article written by Karl T. Plath (1886-1970) and published in 1931 in the Aviculture magazine by John McMichael of the caique website. This has an interesting illustration of the pet Spix's Macaw held by Plath at the time in Chicago. You can read this article by clicking here. Readers will be shocked at the poor diet the macaw survived on, but at least it appears it was not chained to its stand. My thanks to John McMichael for this interesting contribution.
Wednesday, 30th April 2008
Some more news from Loro Parque. The Lear's Macaw breeding female laid three eggs at the beginning of April, but unfortunately damaged two of them beyond repair. However Curator Matthias Reinschmidt managed to rescue one undamaged and placed it in an incubator. It successfully hatched two days ago and now is being hand-reared by Matthias. Loro Parque is fortunate in having such an experienced and highly competent aviculturist as curator.
Friday, 25th April 2008
A recent study conducted in the Pantanal has shown that the greatest predator of Hyacinthine Macaw eggs and young, the Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco), also contributes considerably to the dispersal of the seeds of the manduvi tree, the main nesting tree of the Hyacinthine Macaw. It is the shortage of these large trees that played a major role in the decrease of the macaw population in recent decades. The macaw population has stabilised and increased in recent years because of the dedicated work of the Projeto Arara Azul team under the leadership of Neiva Guedes. They have prevented unnecessary logging, maintained nesting trees and installed nestboxes, which have taken pressure off the competition among various avian species for suitable nesting cavities.
It is estimated that Hyacinthine Macaws lose nearly a quarter of the eggs laid each year to predators, which include jays, possums and coatis as well as toucans, but the latter take over half. The toucans will also predate macaw nestlings. However on the plus side they disperse widely the seeds of the manduvi. They apparently collect nearly 90% of the seeds, which are dispersed.
Friday, 14th March 2008
My apologies to all regular website visitors for not reporting recently, but I have been very busy working since my last report. I also went to Brazil and Chile as well as the Caribbean in December. A lot is happening with various projects for the blue macaws and I am still working on re-vamping the website. The website run by Arkive has film footage I took in April 1995 to the Spix's Macaw area. There is unique footage of the female re-introduced to the wild in March 1995, but which went missing some four weeks later. Later it was reported she flew into power lines and was found dead by a local farm-hand. I also took footage of the huge aviary built to house her until she was acclimated for release as well as some footage of the young male, which was kept there for a while and was visited by the female. There is also some brief footage of the last wild male, which disappeared at the end of 2000, with his Illiger's Macaw mate. They were extremely difficult to approach. You can visit the Arkive website by clicking here .
Sunday, 9th December 2007
There is an interesting report on Al-Wabra in yesterday's Gulf Times, which you can access here.
Tuesday, 21st November 2007
On looking back at recent reports I have noticed that I did not complete giving information on the three Lear's Macaws hatched at Loro Parque in Tenerife this year. One of the two pairs of Lear's Macaws, then newly housed in the enclosure with the rock face to simulate their natural breeding habitat, laid an egg at the end of April, which they sadly damaged beyond repair. Five days later they laid another, which was removed almost immediately and found to have a small hole, which was repaired. This egg was placed with an experienced pair of Green-winged macaws (Ara chloroptera). As reported below on 27th May 2007, it successfully hatched on May 14th and was reared by the Green-winged macaws.
Then in mid-June the Lear's Macaws laid a further clutch with three eggs. The first was again slightly damaged, but after removal and repair was placed with another pair of Green-winged Macaws. This hatched on 16th July as reported below on 22nd July 2007 and is also being reared by its foster parents. The second egg was badly damaged and was replaced with a pottery egg. The third egg was laid shortly thereafter, but as the parents did not damage it, the team at Loro Parque decided to leave it with the parents to incubate and hatch, which it did on 23rd July. The parents reared it so well that it weighed 172g at 13 days. The image here shows its bulging crop.
The first hatchling fledged in the middle of August and was soon flying around its aviary. It displayed the natural fear, which parent-reared young exhibit and sought protection from its foster parents despite the difference in plumage colour and size. The second hatchling fledged in September, by which time the first one was feeding on its own although still occasionally begging from its foster parents. Finally the third hatchling in the care of its natural parents fledged recently and like the other two is doing well.
This is the first European natural breeding of the Lear's Macaw and Matthias Reinschmidt and his team at Loro Parque are to be congratulated for their dedication and well-deserved success.
Saturday 27th October 2007
It's a long time since I published any news, but quite a lot has been happening. The Lear's Macaw young hatched earlier this year at both Al-Wabra Wildlife Conservation and Loro Parque are doing well. I went to the American Federation of Aviculture's three-day annual meeting - this time in Los Angeles - in August. Ryan Watson, the talented young Australian aviculturist from Al-Wabra Wildlife Condervation, gave a presentation each day on various aspects of the important work there and I shall put these up in the next few days. Simon Jensen, who has just moved from Al-Wabra to Walrode Bird Park in Germany was also there as was David Waugh from Loro Parque, so there was excellent opportunity for networking with other "blue macaw " people as well as listening to a wide range of presentations.
I also attended at the beginning of this month the one-day annual meeting of the German Fonds für bedrohte Papageien (Engl: Funds for Endangered Parrots), which was held this year at Leipzig Zoo. The talks were again excellent and included a presentation from Sven Hammer, the German veterinarian, who has played a major part in setting up the establishment in the middle of the desert at Al-Wabra Wildlife Conservation and continues to lead the team there. There have been some serious disease problems with the Spix's Macaws acquired from the Philippines and Switzerland, which Sven and his team in Qatar have had to contend with. They are to be commended for their openness in discussing this situation as well as their success in breeding with their livestock.
Incidentally Leipzig is one of those old city centre zoos, which is investing heavily to take it from the 19th to the 21st century. The primate enclosures are very large and provide the various primates (gorillas, chimpanzees, oran-utans, gibbons and bonobos) living in them an interesting spacious environment. The elephant compound is also very attractive offering the possibility of seeing elephants swimming underwater through a subterranean glass panel.
We are still working on re-designing the website, which should be finished by the end of the year.
Monday 23rd July 2007
The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has reported that a count of the Lear's Macaw population carried out by Fundação Biodiversitas staff in June 2007 at the Canudos Biological Station in Bahia, Brazil - a reserve supported by the organisation - arrived at a total of 751 individuals. The macaws were counted as they flew out of the canyons where they roost and nest to their licuri palm feeding areas.
The report states that the global population in 1987 was estimated at just 70 birds, although Carlos Yamashita, the highly-respected Brazilian scientist, told me several times in the early to mid-nineties that he thought it was nearer 200. The 2003 census arrived at 455 macaws, and until last month’s count, the current population was estimated at 652 (survey 2006).
Mike Parr, Vice President of the American Bird Conservancy said “This is a remarkable success story – a species on the brink of extinction is now rebounding because its nesting grounds were protected.”
With the support of ABC, Fundação Biodiversitas has acquired land to expand the Canudos Biological Station to a 3,600 acre nature reserve, a ten-fold increase from its original size (see report below on 4th April 2007). At present this represents the only protected area for this critically endangered species.
“The protection of such a vital site for the Lear’s Macaw, through the expansion of the Canudos Biological Station, is a huge step towards the preservation of the species,” said Eduardo Figueiredo, Coordinator of the Biodiversitas Lear’s Macaw Conservation Programme. “The growing population confirms how essential it is to protect an endangered species’ habitat.”
For 18 years, Biodiversitas has protected the Lear’s Macaw colony in the state of Bahia. Now the conservation group is implementing protective measures for the reserve, and aims to secure additional dry forest areas that are vital for the species feeding. In addition, the project involves extensive environmental education, through both ecotourism and improving pride and understanding of the natural ecosystem among local people.
Sunday, 22nd July 2007
The young Lear's macaw hatched in May at Loro Parque is doing very well as you can see from this image sent to me today. One of the fertile eggs mentioned in the Al-Wabra press release below has successfully hatched. Hopefully the second one will also hatch soon.
Friday, 20th July 2007
I received an e-mail today from Al-Wabra Wildlife Conservation (AWWP) with some wonderful news. They have successfully hatched three more Lear's Macaws, which are now 16, 31 and 34 days old. Here is an image of the 16 day old macaw on its own.
They have made the following statement on the Al-Wabra website.
"The three chicks are being hand-reared by experienced staff after being artificially incubated. Unfortunately the breeding pair which produced the eggs has not yet developed sound incubation skills and several eggs laid were damaged beyond repair before being able to be removed to the relative safety of an incubator. The Lear’s Macaw is rarely bred in captivity and up until last year when AWWP bred their first ever offspring, the species has not officially been bred in 22 years.
The Lear’s Macaws held at AWWP are on breeding loan from the Brazilian Government and are part of an international captive breeding program managed by IBAMA (Brazilian Institute for Natural Resources and Heritage). The birds are managed within a studbook along with other Lear’s Macaws held in Brazil at the Sao Paulo Zoo, Rio Zoo, Crax Foundation and the Lymington Foundation. Outside of Brazil, other Lear’s Macaws in the studbook managed program are held at Harewood Bird Gardens - UK and Loro Parque – Canary Islands. After receiving two pairs of Lear’s Macaws late last year, Loro Parque have also experienced recent breeding success with one chick so far and two more fertile eggs pending.
Congratulations to Ryan Watson and his team at Al-Wabra!
Tuesday, 17th July 2007
I received a belated copy of AFA Watchbird (Volume XXXIII, Number 4, 2006) in which there is a report of partnership between the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) and AVID Identification Systems Inc to provide three 125 KHZ scanners to help conservation efforts to save the Lear's and Spix's Macaws. One has gone to Yara de Melo Barros of IBAMA, another to Dr Lorenzo Crosta, the official Lear's and Spix's Macaw conservation committee veterinarian and the Lymington Foundation near São Paulo in Brazil. The Lear's and Spix's Macaws at the Lymington Foundation are already microchipped with AVID identification chips. The micro-chipping of all macaws in captivity will assist in controlling their movement between breeding centres and deter theft.
In the July issue of Papageien there is also the first part of an article on keeping and feeding of Lear's Macaws held at the Al-Wabra Wildlife Conservation (AWWP) in Qatar. Complied by Simon Jensen, now at Walsrode in Germany, Ryan Watson and Dr Sven Hammer, it provides a good deal of information about maintaining these magnificent macaws successfully in captivity. There are a number of interesting articles on the blue macaws produced by the team at Al-Wabra, which can be viewed at the official website at http://awwp.alwabra.com/ under publications.
Friday, 8th June 2007
I visited the Summer Fair of Fine Art and Antiques at Olympia in London yesterday and to my utter astonishment came across an original lithograph of the magnificent study of a Glaucous Macaw by M.Werner allegedly taken from a live specimen in the London Zoo in 1830, which appeared in Bourjot Saint-Hilaire's Histoire Naturelle de Perroquets, published in 1837-8. I saw this stunning portrait for the first time at the London Natural History Museum library in 1991 when I was researching the Glaucous Macaw. Needless to say I could not leave the Olympia show without it. The photo I took of it today to replace the rather poor one I have used in the past on the website still does not do the original justice, but is definitely an improvement. A close-up of the head has also been placed on the Glaucous Macaw images page.
Monday, 4th June 2007
The young Lear's Macaw is now three weeks old and weighs 495 g (hatch weight 20g). Called Edward he is being cared for by an experienced pair of Green-winged Macaws (Ara chloropterus). The Lear's Macaw parents had started exhibiting their readiness to reproduce at the end of April soon after being housed in the enclosure with the artificial rock-face. Unfortunately they irreparably damaged the first egg they laid and thus the second egg was removed as soon as possible after being laid. Although very slightly damaged it was repaired and placed under the Green-winged macaws, who hatched it and will care for the young macaw until it fledges in seven to eight weeks. Click here for the full press release from Loro Parque.
Sunday, 3rd June 2007
Just a quick notice that a TV programme made by Gabi Schlag and Benno Weg on the Spix's Macaw will be broadcast on the Arte channel on Wednesday, 6th June at 7.00 p.m. The programme makers visited all the individuals with captive birds apart from the recalcitrant Swiss breeders as well as the last known habitat for the species near Curaça in northern Bahia. If you can receive the Arte channel, make sure you watch it.
Sunday, 27th May 2007
More glad tidings. I am now able to announce that Loro Parque has successfully hatched its first Lear's Macaw. Now 13 days old the new arrival was produced by one of the two pairs sent to Loro Parque last November and housed in an enclosure with an artificial rock-face (see report below on 12th April 2007). Curator Matthias Reinschmidt is putting together a detailed report and I shall publish this on the website as soon as I receive it. In the meantime congratulations again to Matthias and his dedicated team.
Sunday, 13th May 2007
I have received the following excellent news from Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation
" The Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) is proud to announce the hatching of three Spix’s Macaws in late April. This breeding success has increased AWWP’s Spix’s Macaw population to 50 individuals; now comprising of 20 males, 27 females and the 3 juveniles whose sex is yet to be determined. Since 2004 AWWP has hatched 15 Spix’s Macaws and is confident of breeding more offspring this year. The Spix’s Macaw is one of the most critically endangered species in the world with only captive populations existing after the last wild bird disappeared in 2000. AWWP is part of an international breeding and recovery program managed by the Brazilian Government’s natural resources branch IBAMA. Five institutions in Brazil, Tenerife, Germany and Qatar are home to a current total of 78 Spix’s Macaws which are included in an international studbook. AWWP’s Blue Macaw Coordinator (Ryan Watson) is the primary studbook manager and is assisted by co-studbook keepers Matthias Reinschmidt (Loro Parque-Tenerife) and Onildo Marini Filho (IBAMA). The hope is that sometime in the near future captive bred birds can be used to re-establish the species to its native Caatinga habitat in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia."
Thursday, 3rd May 2007
I have got just got back from Los Angeles where I attended the two-day weekend symposium organised by Parrots International. The presentations were excellent as was the networking opportunity with other parrot conservationists. There was lots of good news including the latest count of Lear's Macaws in the wild, which indicated there were now some 650 macaws at the two locations in Bahia.
Not so good was the information that the operation of the eco-tourist project at the Hyacinthine cliffs in Piaui by BioBrasil had been abandoned. I was unable to find the BioBrasil website to verify this. If correct this will be devastating for the Hyacinthine Macaws there, who have been "manipulated" to visit certain sites to feed and be photographed. I am trying to get further information on this and will report the results.
I have obtained a copy of the Management Plan for the Lear's Macaw produced by IBAMA with a team of experts and will provide a summary shortly. I can confirm that the three Lear's Macaws confiscated from Harry Sissen will remain in the UK at a new IBAMA approved Breeding Centre at Harewood Hall. The ownership of the birds will rest with the Brazilian Government and will be managed within the Captive programme.
Finally this website, which was put together over ten years ago is being given an extensive overhaul. It should make it much easier to navigate as well as providing sound and unique video footage at long last.
Thursday, 12th April 2007
I have had disappointing news from the Berlepsch estate in Thuringia in eastern Germany - see item below on 4th January 2007. I was hoping that they might still have diaries kept by Hans Freiherr von Berlepsch during his expedition to eastern Paraguay in 1886, which would indicate the exact location where he had seen the blue macaws, which I suspect might have been Glaucous Macaws (Anodorhynchus glaucus). Unfortunately if he had diaries, they have been long lost.
Wednesday, 4th April 2007
The last three months have been exceedingly busy for me workwise with a lot of travelling in Europe and unfortunately I have had no opportunity to post news to the website. However, the past six weeks have also been busy and exciting as well for blue macaw conservation. So there is some catching up to do.
FIRSTLY the Lear's Macaws sent to Loro Parque reported below on 4th December 2006 are doing well and are now housed in an enclosure with an artificial cliff face. Hopefully this will encourage them to breed.
SECONDLY at the meeting of the Committee for the Conservation of the Spix's Macaw held last October in São Paulo Zoo, Ryan Watson, the studbook-keeper, recommended that a proven male held in Germany should be transferred to Brazil to pair with an egg-laying female there. The German entrepreneur, Martin Guth, who had acquired a number of Spix's Macaws from Switzerland with the permission of the German CITES authorities, had set up the Verein zur Erhaltung bedrohter Papageien (Engl: Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots - ACTP) and transferred ownership of the Spix's macaws to it. The female in Brazil had laid 13 infertile eggs in the past year and the male in Germany had been successful in a pairing with his sibling. As this was not to be recommended for genetic management purposes, it was decided to split the sibling pair, send the male to Brazil and pair the female in Germany with a proven male from Loro Parque. Another male will be sent this Spring to Loro Parque from ACTP in Germany to replace the male already transferred from there to Germany.
The transfer to Brazil was meticulously organised. The male was firstly separated from the female six weeks before the planned departure date and underwent a thorough examination by the well-known German veterinarian Marcellus Bürkle. The macaw remained in quarantine until the results came through, which revealed no reason for not transferring the macaw to Brazil. This transfer required export and import documentation as well as a special permit from the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture because of strict avian influenza regulations. By the beginning of February everything was in place and Martin Guth travelled with the macaw via Madrid to São Paulo. After a further four-week quarantine period he was introduced to his new partner in a breeding station belonging to IBAMA, the Brazilian wildlife authority, and hopefully there will be a successful result to report on later this year. There is no doubt that the appearance of Martin Guth on the scene and his acquisitions from the recalcitrant Swiss breeders has dramatically transformed the situation with the conservation of the Spix's Macaw for the better.
THIRDLY Martin Guth has joined with Bill and Linda Wittkoff of the Lymington Foundation in Brazil and Mark and Marie Stafford of Parrots International based in Los Angeles to buy 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of land near Curaça in Bahia. This was where Spix's Macaws last occurred in the wild and where the nest of the mixed Spix/Illigers Macaw pair was located. According to information released by Parrots International the purchase went through on 14th February 2007. The group wishes to restore the habitat and construct a permanent field station so that the future re-introduction of the species to the wild can be assured.
FOURTHLY another land purchase is going ahead in Bahia, this time for the Lear's Macaw near Canudos. The American Bird Conservancy is teaming up with the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and the Brazilian conservation group Fundação Biodiversitas to purchase more than 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of vital habitat to protect the Lear's Macaw. According to information recently released by the American Bird Conservancy the project will protect key nesting sites, ensure their protection through hiring of forest guards and support education efforts in local communities. The Lear's Macaw and the protection of its habitat are priorities for the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), a global initiative, that aims to protect critically endangered species depending on single sites for their survival. Fundação Biodiversitas has operated a research station near Canudos for many years - I stayed there in 1997 and 1998 - and the land purchase will expand the area under its control.
FINALLY a warning alert against rogue traders on the Internet. In Europe we are familiar with self-styled breeders from West Africa offering rare and endangered species for sale on the Internet, but these advertisements are widely recognised as typical scams from that region. I have been recently informed that a similar scam is being operated by a fraudulent breeder from the Cameroons on the Mercado Libre website in South America. Whatever your interest, do not waste your time with these people.
Thursday, 11th January 2007
More excellent news from Loro Parque. The young Spix's Macaw, which hatched a week ago, is doing well. Congratulations to all at Loro Parque especially Matthias Reinschmidt. I can now also include the paper published by David Waugh and Matthias Reinschmidt entitled " News on the captive management of the Lear’s Macaw" - see 4th December 2006 below - in German, Spanish and Portuguese. Just click on the relevant language. The Portuguese translation is brought thanks to the Brazilian journal Atualidades ornitologicas.
Thursday, 4th January 2007
I have been sent a report written by German aristocrat Hans Freiherr von Berlepsch (1857 - 1933) about a trip to the forests of eastern Paraguay bordering southern Brazil in 1886, which was published in the Journal of Ornithology in 1917. In this report entitled "Wichtige Beobachtungen im paraguayischen Urwald (Eng: Important observations in the Paraguayan forests), he states that he saw enormous flocks of Amazon parrots and smaller groups of the three macaws found there - Ara chloropterus (sic), Ara ararauna and Anodorhynchus leari. Now it is not possible that the Anodorhynchus macaws he saw there were Lear's Macaws (A. leari) as this macaw only occurs in Bahia thousands of kilometres to the northeast. It is also very unlikely to have been the Hyacinthine Macaw as the range of that Anodorhynchus macaw in Paraguay extends just to the far north-west of that country. However it might have been the Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus). This report is especially interesting as the area visited by Hans Freiherr von Berlepsch must have been near the location where the last anecdotal and unconfirmed sighting of the Glaucous Macaw in the 1960s originates - see the report with comment on 15th August 2006 below. My thanks to Claus Rasmussen from the University of Illinois for sending me this report by Hans Freiherr von Berlepsch.
Incidentally he came from a very interesting family. His close relative Hans Hermann Carl Count Berlepsch (1850-1915) was also an ardent ornithologist. He collected over 60,000 specimens from all over the world, which were sold by his son to the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, after his death and forms the basis for the important collection there having survived the devastation of the Second World War. Interestingly Hans Freiherr von Berlepsch in his youth kept Carolina Parakeets (Conuropsis carolinensis) at liberty at his home at Burg Seebach in Thuringia, Germany. He started off with two pairs who initially lived and nested in a dovecot. They bred prolifically and soon there were more than 20, who nested in natural hollows in several nearby lime trees. They were accustomed to fly together for miles in the surrounding countryside and Hans informed local people about this from time to time in regional newspapers. However, one day just after Christmas they disappeared and despite searches were never seen again. It was only several decades later that smoked remains of the parakeets were discovered in an inn some 30 miles (50 km) distant from Burg Seebach and the occupant reported that his father, the inn-keeper, had shot the birds over a two day period when he discovered them perching in a lime tree in his yard. Apparently the surviving parakeets had refused to leave their fallen comrades and were thus easy to finish off. This species, which was endemic in the south-eastern USA, was officially declared extinct in 1939. The last wild specimen was killed in Okeechobee County in Florida in 1904 and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918.
Saturday, 30th December 2006
Some time ago Kate Gammond, who keeps and breeds Hyacinthine Macaws in Bahrain sent me some information on her experiences. There was also an article published in March 2005 on these experiences and I reproduce this here. I shall endeavour to get some more up-to-date information. Every year in Germany at the end of October the aviculturists' group based in a suburb of Cologne holds a meeting of Hyacinthine Macaw keepers to discuss problems and exchange ideas and information. The persistent problem of full term dead in shell hatching failures peculiar to the species will form an important part of the next meeting there in October 2007.
Friday 29th December 2006
It appears from the WWF website that £ 326,000 (approx. $US 640,000) was raised from the public by the Extinct programme. Half - £ 163,000 (approx. $US 320,000) - of this will go to tiger projects and the remainder will be divided up evenly between the other seven projects. So each will apparently receive just under £ 23,300 (approx. $US 45,700). Although not as much as hoped for by the programme makers, this additional funding will help the projects considerably. In the case of the Projeto Arara Azul, it will enable the team to widen the area it is working in and protect more Hyacinthine Macaws. Well done, Neiva!
Monday, 18th December 2006
WWF told me this morning that it is still collecting donations and awaiting monies collected by ITV, the TV channel. It did not yet know how much had been raised through the Extinct programme. As it will be closing its offices for Christmas and New Year this Friday, it is not very likely that this information will be available until early in January 2007.
Saturday, 16th December 2006 (late)
After a week of presentations for the eight animals nominated for the Extinct TV programme, the final episode was transmitted live this evening and the voting results from the viewers were announced. The Bengal Tiger came in first place followed closely by the Giant Panda and Mountain Gorilla. No surprises there! The tiger project will get half of the money donated to WWF through the programme and the remaining seven projects, including the Projeto Arara Azul, will share the remaining half equally. They have not yet announced how much has been donated, but it should be a substantial sum. I shall report this information as soon as it becomes known.
Friday, 8th December 2006
A report on the incidence of avian chlamydiosis in wild parrots in the Pantanal has recently been published in Veterinary Microbiology. A team of Brazilian scientists, which included Neiva Guedes, Director of the Projeto Arara Azul, took throat and cloacal swabs from 32 nestlings of the Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva) as well as 45 nestlings of the Hyacinthine macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) and tested them for the presence of the bacteria Chlamydophila psittaci, which causes avian chlamydiosis in birds and when transmitted to humans psittacosis. The cloacal samples from two of the Amazons aged between 32 and 45 days were found to be positive. With four macaw nestlings throat swabs proved to be positive and cloacal swabs in as many as 12 macaw nestlings. The age of the infected macaws ranged from 33 to 88 days. The results seem to indicate that the bacteria C. psittaci is wide-spread in the Pantanal. However none of the nestlings infected manifested any symptoms of avian chlamydiosis.
Tuesday 5th December 2006
I have been sent this photo of fifteen year old Teddy Roosevelt Jnr in 1902 with a blue macaw by Michael Strobl from Vienna, who asked whether the macaw could possibly be a Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus). It is in fact a Hyacinthine Macaw, but still an interesting historical picture. Teddy Jnr's father, who was President of the USA at the time the photo was taken, was greatly interested in wildlife and mounted an expedition to Brazil from October 1913 to April 1914. The expedition spent considerable time in Mato Grosso, which at that time was comprised of today's states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, and noted about the Hyacinthine Macaw that "at many points on the journey through Matto (sic) Grosso this superbly colored macaw was abundant. They were invariably seen in pairs"
Monday, 4th December 2006
More than three months has passed since I last reported, but much has happened. The weather here in southern England has been very wet and blustery in the last week, apparently so much so that we had no power for twelve hours yesterday. When we rang the power company, EDF Energy, we were told by an automated female voice that it was aware of the problem and there was no point in putting us through to a real person as he or she would not be able to tell us any more. It is astonishing that in 21st century Britain and situated only 60 miles (100 kms) from its capital, London, one should be deprived of essential electrical power for such a long period because of typical seasonal and therefore surely to be expected wet, windy weather conditions.
However, now some good news. Firstly four young Lear's macaws - two male and two female - have been transferred from São Paulo Zoo to Loro Parque. This occurred at the beginning of November. They are still in quarantine, but will soon be transferred to the breeding centre at La Vera, where they will be paired and hopefully there will be similar success as that reported below on 21st August at Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar. I have been sent this photo of one of the macaws. Also David Waugh and Matthias Reinschmidt of the Loro Parque Fundación have published a paper entitled " News on the captive management of the Lear’s Macaw", which can be accessed by clicking here.
Secondly the Hyacinthine Macaw is one of the subjects of Extinct, an exciting new television programme in the UK to promote support and funding among the viewing public for conservation projects under the auspicies of WWF . It will be broadcast as a prime time show running from Saturday 9th to Saturday 16th December and features eight endangered species around the world that are threatened with extinction within the next century through habitat loss, poaching and climate change. The animals highlighted in the programme are the Bengal tiger, mountain gorilla, giant panda, Asian elephant, polar bear, orang-utan, leatherback turtle and the hyacinthine macaw.
The Hyacinthine Macaw Project (Projeto Arara Azul) in the Pantanal directed by Neiva Guedes has been chosen and support for the project will be advocated by a celebrity, in this case Michael Portillo, the erstwhile senior Conservative politician, who forsook political life and high office to become a television presenter after his bid to become leader of the Conservative Party failed in 2001. He will visit the project to learn about the threats these creatures face and the solutions WWF and its partners are working on to ensure their survival. He will return to the television studio to make the case for supporting the project before an invited audience and the viewing public. More information about this programme "Extinct" can be found by clicking here. Even if you are unable to view the programme you can still make a much-needed donation by visiting this website.
Thirdly when attending the 6th International Parrot Convention organised by Loro Parque Fundación in Tenerife in the Canary Islands at the end of September I met Linda and Bill Wittkoff, who have set up the Fundacão Lymington near São Paulo. Presley, the Spix's Macaw, who was kept as a pet in the USA for some 30 years, before being repatriated to Brazil four years ago, was given into their care and after one year has undergone an amazing transformation. He is now kept together with a female and may soon produce offspring. Both Linda and Bill deserve congratulating for their unstinting care of this macaw. In September 2005 he looked like this. In July of this year he looked like this.
While on the subject of Spix's Macaws I was reminded when studying the bare facial patch and feather structure of the Spix's Macaw of the bambiraptor at the Discovery Building in Silver Spring, a suburb of Washington DC. Some have believed the Spix's macaw to be a relict species and probably nearing the end of its allotted period. This picture shows clearly how reptilian birds can look.
The 6th International Parrot Convention in Tenerife was a great success with an excellent programme of presentations from experts from around the globe. It also afforded great opportunity to network and exchange views and opinions. I have attended all the conventions from the first in 1986 and the topics presented and discussed have greatly altered over the two decades with conservation really at the forefront. This is undoubtedly due to the dramatic increase in conservation projects in all the countries where parrots are endemic and the efforts of organisations like the Loro Parque Fundación, which to date has contributed well over $ US 4 Million to parrot conservation projects. I am already looking forward to the next one in 2010.
Tuesday, 21st August 2006
Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar has announced the successful hatching and rearing of a Lear's Macaw. Although the young macaw hatched on 14th July, they wanted to see how it progressed before announcing this landmark result. It is now more than 34 days old and thriving. Two fertile eggs were laid by the adult pair, but one died at an early stage of its development within the egg. They have four pairs of Lear's Macaws in Qatar on loan from the Brazilian government since 2004 and have admitted the species is challenging to breed successfully in captivity. AWWP’s successful breeding of a Lear’s Macaw represents the first offspring bred as part of the official IBAMA initiated captive breeding programme.
The last officially recognised breeding of Lear's Macaws in captivity
was in the 1984 at Busch Gardens in Florida. It is believed that the captive
Lear's Macaws in Switzerland have bred, but the small group of breeders there is
very secretive about its successes with both Lear's and Spix's Macaws. More
information and images of the young macaw at various stages in the last six
weeks can be viewed at its website at
Tuesday, 15th August 2006
I have just returned from attending this year's American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) convention in Dallas. There were a number of very interesting and informative presentations as well as excellent opportunity to network. While there I managed to visit the Dallas Zoo and the Dallas World Aquarium. The latter was particularly interesting, indeed amazing, because it is constructed within an old warehouse in the heart of downtown Dallas. I was shown round by the senior aviculturist, Josef Lindholm III, who gave two presentations at the convention on aracaris and cotingas. He had met some of the leading aviculturists of the past, including shortly before his death in 1985, Jean Delacours, who apparently in his early teens saw a Glaucous Macaw (Anodorhynchus glaucus) at the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris just over 100 years ago in the opening years of the 20th century. According to Josef he commented "It was quite ugly! - Too large a head, too short a tail, an unattractive colour... Not pretty at all... But it was the only one I saw in the world!" When I visited the museum at the Jardin D'Acclimatation towards the end of the 1980s I took a photo of the Glaucous Macaw specimen there being held alongside that of a Lear's Macaw.
While on the subject of the Glaucous Macaw, Carlos Bianchi, who works closely with IBAMA, the Brazilian government wildlife agency, on both the Lear's Macaw and Spix's Macaw programmes, mentioned in his presentation on the status and conservation of parrots in Brazil that this species had been declared extinct in the Brazilian Red List to be published later this year although the IUCN in their publication last year (2005) persisted in giving it a status of critical. The reason for this appears to be a number of unconfirmed reports of sightings as well as a comment by Fernando Costa Straube in his work on avifauna in the southeast region of the state of Parana [Contribuições ao conhecimento da avifauna da região sudoeste do estado do Paraná (Brasil)] published in 1988. He says that he was informed by local inhabitants that between 1961 and 1964 there were two species of macaw living along the margins of the river Iguaçu. One was red with blue wings, which he took to be the Green-winged Macaw (Ara chloroptera) and the other was more seldom, smaller, greenish-blue with yellow at the base of its bill. He then puts in brackets the name Anodorhynchus glaucus with a question mark.
This question mark has apparently been converted to recorded sightings by the experts at the IUCN. However, I do not believe these reports justify a belief in the species' continued existence. Two more expeditions have been mounted recently and have found no trace of the species. Reports such as that above are notoriously unreliable. I can remember being told by a rancher in the northern Pantanal eleven years ago that he had seen a small blue macaw in the area. When I showed him illustrations of the four blue macaws he pointed at the Spix's Macaw and insisted that was the bird. "Sky blue" he kept repeating. At the time we thought there was a remote possibility it might have been an escapee from a trafficker on his way to Paraguay - some eight years earlier three Spix's Macaws had been confiscated from a house in Asuncion. However, we soon came to the view that the rancher was just simply mistaken.
Friday, 9th June 2006
Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation has issued a press release on its website with a picture of the seven, yes seven, Spix's Macaws bred there this year. With the offspring bred in 2004 and 2005 Al Wabra has successfully reared 12 Spix's macaws.
All chicks have been hand-reared by specialist staff at Al Wabra, but they hope more clutches will soon follow from the respective pairs, allowing them to parent-rear some of their young. They also hope that other pairs will start reproducing and bring them one step closer to re-establishing the species back to the nature in Brazil as part of the international recovery effort.
Sunday, 29th May 2006
The swallows arrived back earlier this month and are nesting again in the eaves of the stable building. The young male Spix's Macaw transferred to Loro Parque from Germany in March is settling down well with the young female bred there. Also earlier this month I visited the mission museum at Steyl in the Netherlands after learning that there is a Spix's Macaw captured in the early 1930s on display there. I went there with Axel Hirschfeld from the Komitee gegen Vogelmord. The deputy curator kindly took measurements and I took some photos although the light was not very good to protect the extensive taxidermy collection there of animals and birds sent during the early years of the 20th century from all the mission houses throughout the world.
Some fourteen years ago Joe Cuddy and I visited Nelson Kawall in Sao Paulo and saw a magnificent macaw there, which Nelson said was a very rare naturally occurring mutation of the Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna). Nelson and other Brazilian aviculturists called it Ara mosaica because of the curious mosaic like blue patterning on its otherwise golden yellow plumage. The next time we went we were disappointed to discover that he had exchanged it with Antonio de Dios in the Philippines for a pair of Cinnamon Blue and Yellow Macaws, another mutation of the species with a pale cinnamon sheen to the blue feathers on the wings and back. The photographs I took at the time have appeared over the years in English and German language publications, but I reproduce them here and here.
Sunday, 23rd April 2006
St George's Day and I heard the cuckoo for the first time this year today. Two weeks ago I flew to Singapore for a three day business trip, but managed to find time to visit the Jurong Bird Park, about which I had heard and read so much. The large walk-through aviaries are especially impressive. Apart from the many parrots I saw several species of bird-of-paradise and the great blue turaco, which I saw last seventeen years ago when I visited Ruanda and its neighbouring countries. I also saw and heard at Jurong Bird Park a Yellow-naped Amazon parrot, which can count to ten in Malay, Chinese and English. It also sang a Malay love song, a Chinese children's rhyme and Happy Birthday in English to three visitors celebrating their birthday that day.
Whilst on the subject of impressive presentations I should like to remind interested website visitors that the early registration booking date for the International Parrot Convention held every four years at Loro Parque, Tenerife is fast approaching. All registrations received before 31st May are subject to a substantial discount. This great occasion, which attracts more than 850 delegates from around the world, will be held from Wednesday, 27th to Saturday, 30th September 2006. It begins with a welcome reception on the evening of 27th September, then the mornings of the next three days are given over to a series of presentations by scientists, field-workers, conservationists and leading aviculturists. More information and booking forms are available by visiting the convention website at www.loroparque-fundacion.com
Thursday, 16th February 2006
Further to the good news from Loro Parque I can confirm that the Spix's Macaw - a female - hatched by the team at Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar at the end of last October is well and thriving. This is in addition to their success in rearing two young earlier in the year (see the news item below on 1st June 2005)
Friday 3rd February 2006
The Bundesamt für Naturschutz (Federal Department for Nature Conservation) based in Bonn, which is the CITES authority in Germany, has issued a public statement explaining its decision to allow the importation of the Spix's Macaws from Switzerland. I have translated this into English for non-German speakers. Many questions have been raised in Germany, particularly from breeders, about this unusual step for an organisation, which normally strictly applies the rules. The original German text can be seen by clicking here
Tuesday 31st January 2006
Some more excellent news from Loro Parque. Another Spix's Macaw was hatched successfully on 17th January. The egg was laid on Christmas Day last year completely outside the usual breeding period and was incubated by the adult female until it was established the egg was fertile. It was then removed to an incubator for the remainder of the incubation period. The hatchling weighed 13.5 g. It was then fed every two hours by the team at Loro Parque and now at two weeks weighs just over 70 g The owner of the Spix's macaws transferred to Germany from Switzerland last year has now signed up to the official recovery programme and will transfer a male to Loro Parque to form a new unrelated pair there. Both this step and the new arrival will make further considerable contributions to the recovery of the species and its eventual rehabilitation in the wild.
Sunday 30th October 2005
There have been some very recent significant changes in the situation with the captive Spix's Macaw population. Until then the only macaws officially in the Recovery Programme were the four held at Loro Parque, Tenerife and the seven macaws in Sao Paulo Zoo. The macaws belonging to several Swiss holders and Sheikh Saud Al-Thani of Qatar perhaps numbering some 90 macaws were not in the programme.
The Fonds für bedrohte Papageien (Funds for Endangered Parrots), a very active group of aviculturists affiliated to the Zoological Society for Population and Species Conservation based in Munich, who raise significant sums of money to fund conservation projects around the world, held its annual one day seminar on Saturday 29th October at the Ornithea show in Porz, a suburb of the city of Cologne on the banks of the River Rhine. There the attendees were informed that 3 Spix's Macaws - an adult pair and its male offspring hatched in 2004 - have been recently transferred to Germany from Switzerland with the full agreement of the German authorities and IBAMA. Negotiations are underway for the transfer of other macaws held in Switzerland by private individuals to Germany to be held at two secure establishment near Berlin.
Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation has also just confirmed in a press release that the 15 Spix's Macaws it was holding in Switzerland have been transferred to Qatar, the final two birds being moved on 25th September. The main consideration was security and then the problem with the macaws of PDD. These macaws will be held separately to the macaws already in Qatar, which were acquired from Antonio de Dios in the Phillippines. The full text of the press release can be read on the News Page of the website or by visiting the Al-Wabra website.
Friday, 14th October 2005
I had a report at the beginning of the month that the Spix's Macaws belonging to Sheikh Saud Al-Thani held in Switzerland had been transferred to Qatar. An official report is expected soon to confirm this and will appear on this website when it does. There have been movements with other Spix's Macaws held in Switzerland and I expect to be able to report on these at the end of the month.
Monday 29th August 2005
There has been concerning news about an outbreak of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD), otherwise known among aviculturists as macaw wasting disease, among the Spix's Macaws transferred from Antonio de Dios' collection to Qatar. According to a report published by Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation on its website at http://alwabra.com/awwp/sci-pdd.php three Spix's Macaws have died. I have heard from other sources that one or two more may have died since, but cannot confirm this at present. In any event Al-Wabra is to be commended on its openness in publishing this document presented by four distinguished German veterinarians at a meeting in Prague earlier this year.
Also concerning is information that larger numbers of Spix's Macaws are present in Switzerland than generally believed and are being offered for sale with some being transferred outside Switzerland. It is reported as well that Sheikh Al-Thani is seeking to re-home the Spix's Macaws acquired from Roland Messer and at present still in Switzerland. A location in the UK has been among several suggested, but I am not alone in thinking that the Sheikh would be ill-advised to pursue this and hopefully IBAMA would not agree to it.
Wednesday, 1st June 2005
I have heard from the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar that in the first week of May 2005 another two Spix’s Macaw chicks hatched, and are now being hand–reared by the staff there.
Since 2000 the Spix’s Macaw has been considered to be extinct in the wild. All hope to save the bird species from total annihilation now rests with a very small population kept in captivity. These two chicks which are number three and four to hatch under the AWWP management represent additional hope and motivation in the conservation of the species.
Friday, 13th May 2005
I received an e-mail today from Earthwatch informing me that Donald Brightsmith and Dusti Becker will be giving a talk on Thursday 23rd June, 7.00 - 8.30 p.m at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London. The subject is "South American Forest Birds - Ecotourism, Enterprise & Extinction." The theme is summarised as follows: "From the stunning bird bio-diversity of Ecuador's Loma Alta cloud forests to the beautiful and highly prized macaws in the Tambopato region of Peru - how best can local communities conserve their environmental heritage?"
The role of eco-tourism in conservation is very contentious. One only has to consider the situation, for example, with the Lear's Macaw, where these highly endangered macaws were being enticed with corn to certain trees to be photographed by tourists in a hide.
The talk is free, but a ticket is required for admission. You can obtain these by contacting Earthwatch on 01865 318856 or e-mailing email@example.com
Tuesday, 19th April 2005
I have looked at the CITES trade data for the period mentioned by Mr Santoli (see below) and can find no imports of Lear's Macaws into Switzerland reported between 1979 and 2003.
Lots of happenings to report! Earlier this
year I heard that two Lear's Macaws were exhibited at a show held last
by the Amicale du Bec Crochu (English - Friends of Hookbills), an aviculturist
group in the French speaking part of Switzerland. At first I thought this must
be an identification error, but I have discovered they were birds belonging to
a member of the club called Constantin Santoli. Mr Santoli apparently also works with
the local veterinary authorities as a parrot consultant and as such frequently
holds confiscated birds on its behalf. He is pictured here with the macaws.
Mr Santoli allegedly claims to have legal
papers for Lear's Macaws imported in 1980 - although the macaws exhibited at
the recent show appear to be juveniles - and is said to believe there are more
than 30 illegal Lear's Macaws in Switzerland and more than 15 Spix's Macaws. If
this is the case we would strongly urge Mr Santoli to contact IBAMA in
It is also reported in the art world that Sheikh Saud Al-Thani, second cousin of the Emir, has been arrested by the authorities in Qatar for alleged misuse of public funds in the acquisition of expensive works of art for the museums of which he is overseeing the construction in Qatar as part of an ambitious plan to transform the tiny Gulf state into a major international cultural centre. According to the Art Newspaper this month the Sheikh has recently been transferred from house arrest to prison. An Arabic language newspaper Al Sharq has reported that some $US 275 million has been spent by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage (NCCAH) of which Sheikh Saud Al-Thani was until recently chairman. However it seems that this astounding situation will not affect the operation of the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation project in Qatar, where there are four pairs of Lear's Macaws as well as the Spix's Macaws acquired from Antonio de Dios. There are also the macaws held in Switzerland, which the Sheikh acquired from Roland Messer.
I have just returned from
Although my trip was for two days only I did
manage a brief visit to the specimen collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
There I examined the three Glaucous Macaws (Anodorhynchus glaucus)
collected by Cptn. Thomas Page during his expedition to
The date given for the collection of the
macaws on the tags attached to the three specimens was
A belated happy new year to all. I have experienced problems lately in updating the website after upgrading to Windows XP, but hope this is now resolved. At the end of last year there was more good news from Loro Parque with the hatching of a second Spix's Macaw, which is doing well. The first hatchling is also doing well and is living with an Illiger's Macaw (A. maracana).
There are some interesting new developments with the Lear's Macaw situation at Serra Branca and I am preparing a full report for the website on the events leading up to the withdrawal of BioBrasil from the area last December and what has occurred in the meantime.
Lorenzo Crosta, the veterinarian from Loro
Parque, was at
Saturday, 2nd October 2004
Harry Sissen was sent to jail again yesterday for 21 months for not paying the £150,000 (US$ 225,000) court order imposed in September 2001 (see report in Yorkshire Post on 27th September 2001), which was the amount the Court determined at the time was due to illegal earnings. He was ordered by the
Tuesday, 3rd August 2004
Just got back from a 10 day trip to Bahia in north-eastern Brazil to visit the Lear's Macaw area at Serra Branca area and see how construction is progressing at Praia do Forte on the quarantine facility for Lear's and Spix's Macaws located there (see report on 12th January 2004 below). I also managed to get a few hours watching some of the hundreds of humpback whales, who visit the off-shore area from July to October to mate and calve. The weather was very windy last week with heavy showers. I waited from Tuesday to Friday before the weather settled down for a while to allow us to go out with the 25 foot research schooner. However a cold front moved rapidly up on us and we had to return to shelter after five hours. Whale watching is much easier later on in the season.
Regular visitors to the website will recall that I reported at the end of July 2003 that Sheikh Saoud bin Mohd. bin Ali Al-Thani had acquired the Spix's Macaws belonging to Antonio de Dios in the
The press release can be read on the news page by clicking here. It confirms that Sheikh Al-Thani now holds 42 Spix's Macaws and that Roland Messer retained one pair. Two Spix's macaws have hatched successfully so far this year and an egg is still in the incubator.
Die deutsche Fassung der Presse-Mitteilung kann man lesen wenn man hier klickt.
Good news! Diego Calderon was released by the FARC guerrilla group yesterday three months after being taken hostage. He is back with his family.
Harry Sissen had his judicial review dismissed in the High Court in
Also an article on my trip to Brazil at the beginning of the year, which I wrote some months ago, has just been published in the August issue of Parrots magazine, which is distributed mainly in the UK and the USA. Unfortunately three images of Hyacinthine Macaws in the Pantanal, which I submitted with the article, have been erroneously captioned by the publication as Lear's Macaws. The article was also heavily edited without referral for space reasons, but the original version will appear in full in the Parrot Society magazine shortly and will of course be posted to this website.
I heard today that the baby Spix is doing well and weighs 164 g. The Spanish version of the press release, which was posted to the website in English and German on
Also the judicial review, which Harry Sissen
applied for, will commence on
The botany expert and the guide abducted by the Colombian guerrilla group FARC with Diego Garcia Calderon (see below on
The egg hatched successfully at Loro Parque and you can see the young Spix's Macaw by clicking here. Congratulations to Loro Parque and in particular Matthias Reinschmidt, the Curator of Birds, for this success.
As additional background to the story just below I am posting the article published in the latest issue of Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of Loro Parque Fundación, about veterinarian Lorenzo Crosta's visit to
A more comprehensive report in German
appeared in the May 2004 issue of <I<>Papageien and can be accessed by
clicking here. Diesen ausführlichen Bericht
in deutscher Sprache über den Transfer des Spix-Ara-Männchens von
I have received confirmation that the pair of Spix's Macaws at Loro Parque produced two eggs last month - see news below on
As the nest box programme of the Projeto Arara Azul is a vital part of the conservation work for the Hyacinthine Macaw in the southern Pantanal and is approaching its 10th year I have separated out the images and put them on a dedicated page.
Some good news and bad. Firstly I have heard that the Spix's Macaws at Loro Parque have laid. Secondly I have heard that Diego Calderon, a dedicated young ornithologist, was taken hostage in mid-April by FARC, the guerrilla group in
The Projeto Arara Azul has just set up its
own website, which can be accessed by clicking here.The video footage of
Hyacinthine macaws in the nest with their young previously viewable on the WWF
The swallows have returned and today I heard the cuckoo for the first time - some four weeks earlier than last year. All the trees are coming into leaf in the rolling countryside of this little corner of
Reports of Spix's Macaws in eastern Europe
Apologies to all for the loss of many of the images on the website. These have hopefully all been restored now. I have posted an extract from the December 2003 issue of Cyanopsitta the newsletter of the Loro Parque Foundation, to the news page. It once again highlights the very considerable contribution LPF makes to parrot conservation. However the information at the end on the acquisition of Spix's Macaws in
Friday, 26th March 2004
Regular visitors to the website may recall that at the end of last July (2003)I reported that Sheikh Saud bin Mohamed bin Ali Al-Thani of Qatar had acquired Spix's Macaws owned by Antonio de Dios. At the time neither party would confirm this. It has now been confirmed that Sheikh Al-Thani acquired 24 Spix's macaws from Antonio de Dios and now holds 31 macaws in
My personal opinion is that this is a welcome development in continuing efforts for the conservation of this rare parrot. Although the private aviculturists were successful in building up the captive population it is alleged to have been without regard to genetic factors. Very few zoos have been successful in breeding rare species of parrots and perhaps the Sheikh can provide a sort of halfway house combining the positive aspects of both private breeder and zoological institute. He certainly has the resources and appears to have a genuine desire to make a serious positive contribution to the conservation, including re-introduction, of the Spix's Macaw.
Lisa Pye has contacted me from
It has been widely reported in the print and
broadcast media that 68 animals have been poisoned very recently at
Harry Sissen has won his right for a judicial review. A short report, which is appearing in this week's issue of Cage & Aviary Birds, can be read by clicking here
I went to
It is truly amazing how many Lear's and Spix's Macaws were kept by zoos and private individuals at that time. Primley later Paignton Zoo in south Devon had several Lear's and Spix's Macaws in the 1920s, Mossley Zoo in Liverpool and the London Zoo both had Spix's Macaws in 1932, M.F Vanoutryve kept Spix's Macaws at Roubaix, now a part of Lille in France, in 1930 and J.Delacour reports that there were 4 Hyacinthine Macaws and 7, yes 7, Lear's Macaws at Clères in northern France in December 1939, the early months of the Second World War. If anyone knows what happened to these macaws, please e-mail me.
Some of these reports were put on the website some years ago, but I should like to remind visitors about them. They can be found on the "Naturalist and other historical documents" page under each species. I particularly like the May 1930 account by Karl Plath, the Curator of Birds at the New Chicago Zoological Park, of his Spix's Macaw, which he kept at his home in the windy city and later "summered at the Zoo", which spoke in a feminine voice and burst into song "in a laughably quavering manner".
I have also put a report from Cage & Aviary Birds on the latest development in the Harry Sissen case on the website page dedicated to this vexatious issue.
A belated happy new year to all! I have just returned from a whistle stop tour of
I then returned to Brazil, visiting the Projeto Arara Azul at the Pousada Caiman as well as the Pousada Arara Azul in the southern Pantanal, the capital of Brasilia and Praia do Forte in Bahia before returning to São Paulo to visit the zoo and meet up with friends in the scientific and avicultural communities there.
The new quarantine and breeding facilities for the Lear's and Spix's Macaws are planned on land provided at the EcoResort at Praia do Forte, which is also the home of the famous Tamar turtle and Humpback Whale projects. The quarantine facility intended for four pairs or 8 macaws, which is at present partially built, will occupy 5,000 sq. metres (1.25 acres) and the breeding facility will stand on 15,000 sq. metres (nearly 4 acres) of licuri palm covered land some two/three kilometres from the quarantine facility.
There are at present 13 Lear's Macaws (six
pairs and a male) at
There are also 7 Spix's macaws at
Articles on my trip will appear soon in Parrots Magazine and Papageien and then on this website. Images of the trip will appear on the website when developed.
At the beginning of last month I attended the 2nd annual meeting of Hyacinthine Macaw breeders and keepers in
One very interesting finding was how little water Hyacinthine Macaws required daily. It is already known that Lear's Macaws in the wild get their daily liquid intake from squeezing small gooseberry-sized licuri palm fruits. The Hyacinthine Macaw appears to survive on what amounts to a thimbleful of water or as Dr Wolf put it equivalent to a small schnapps glass each day.
Sadly the repatriation of the three confiscated Lear's Macaws to
Sunday, 21st September 2003
The Committee for the Conservation of the Lear's Macaw set up by IBAMA at the end of May (see below for report) will be meeting on Tuesday, 23rd and Wednesday 24th September at Praia do Forte, 70 km (45 miles) from Salvador, the main city of the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Strategies for the conservation of the species will be discussed. IBAMA Director, Rômulo Mello, defined the priorities as monitoring the macaw in its natural habitat, continuing census activities, which recently indicated that the wild population had increased to 455 macaws (see below) as well as studying reproduction biology. He added "the challenge for the scientists is to obtain data on the productivity of the nesting sites".
Also under discussion will be the recovery of the species in captivity. A quarantine facility is being constructed under the supervision of Cemave, the National Centre of Science for the Conservation of Wild Birds, at Praia do Forte for captive breeding of both the Lear's Macaws and Spix's Macaw for introduction to the wild. This project is expected to be completed later this year.
Finally plans for expanding eco-tourism allowing close observation of the Lear's macaws in the wild without undue disturbance to them will be developed, again under the supervision of Cemave.
Representatives of both parties have denied there is any truth to the report that Sheikh Al-Thani has acquired any more of Antonio de Dios's Spix's macaws. Time will tell! The Sheikh already has eight Spix's Macaws - two pairs from de Dios acquired in January 2000 and recently four from Roland Messer, the Swiss aviculturist who controversially bought 15 of Dr. Hämmerli's Spix's Macaws in 1999 - as well as nine Lear's Macaws acquired in eastern Europe. Although the Swiss authorities also controversially legalised the Spix's Macaws held in their territory, thus theoretically allowing their export, at present none of the EU countries will allow their import.
It seems that Sheikh Al-Thani has not acquired all of Antonio de Dios' Spix's Macaws, but 30 of them. More news shortly.
João Miguel Folgosa Herculano, the thirty-one year old Portuguese citizen apprehended last week smuggling 58 eggs of rare bird species, claimed to the authorities that they were quail eggs. The Brazilian authorities are determined to act forcefully against those involved in illegal trafficking of Brazilian wildlife.
News has come in today that Sheikh Saud bin Mohamed bin Ali Al-Thani of
More news has come in over the past few days about activities and actions regarding the Lear's Macaw. Hopefully the three illegally acquired macaws, which were confiscated five years ago in the
On 30th June four illegally acquired young
Lear's Macaws were recovered by IBAMA from a dealer called
There is good news about the numbers of Lear's macaws in the wild. Field-workers have ascertained that the population has increased from 412 to 455 in the last twelve months in the municipalities of Canudos and Jeremoabo. In addition to the wild population there are 41 macaws in captivity. In 1988 there were estimated to be just 170 macaws in the wild. Since then the field work has intensified and trafficking has been deterred by the presence of the field workers.
Finally news came in on 3rd July that the
prefecture of the
Priorities of the committee would be the protection of the wild population currently estimated at 400 individuals, a scientific study of the species' reproduction with work on productivity of young and eggs as well as the introduction of new individuals into the wild population.
A quarantine facility would be set up in
Good news! We have been waiting anxiously for the cuckoo in
Monday, 10th May 2003
IBAMA, the Brazilian environmental and wildlife protection ministry, has decided to split the joint committee set up some years ago for the conservation and protection of the Hyacinthine Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), the Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) and Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii). There will be a separate committee for the Hyacinthine Macaw, which will include experts such as Neiva Guedes, co-ordinator of the Projeto Arara Azul in the Pantanal, Yara Barros of IBAMA, Ricardo Bonfim Machado of Conservation International and well-known ornithologist, Pedro Scherer-Neto.
The judge in the appeal case brought by HM Customs & Excise has decided that none of the birds confiscated should be returned to Harry Sissen, thus reversing the Court decision last November. A brief newspaper report can be read here. Although this report states that Harry has lodged yet another appeal, other reports suggest that the judge has ruled this out.
The appeal by HM Customs & Excise against the Court decision last November to return most of the parrots confiscated from Harry Sissen nearly five years ago to him has now been heard. The judge has said he will give his decision on 28th April. A regional newspaper report on the appeal hearing can be read here.
A letter on the Spix's Macaw discovered recently in the
The Sissen case grinds remorselessly on. HM Customs & Excise has decided to appeal against the decision last November in the Magistrates' Court to return 100 of the 144 parrots confiscated to Harry Sissen. The appeal will be heard by the judge who jailed Harry more than two years ago for the illegal importation of three Lear's Macaws and six Blue-headed Macaws. There is a full report on the website page dedicated to this landmark case.
A Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry set up by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies to investigate the trade in Brazilian flora and fauna has been in session since November 2002. This week several news reports appeared on the Brazilian Government official website for the Chamber of Deputies. I have summarised them in English on the news page and posted the original full Portuguese text to a separate website page. The final report of the Commission is expected shortly. I believe important issues about the value of eco-tourism to conservation have been raised. There are unscrupulous operators out there as well as excellent ones. Among the unscrupulous there are those who just simply fleece tourists and others who use eco-tourism to cover other nefarious activities.
Happy new year to all!!!! I have added the press release by Loro Parque Fundación on the repatriation of the Spix's Macaw discovered in the
Good news!! The Spix's Macaw recently discovered in the
The magistrate deciding the fate of the 144 parrots confiscated by HM Customs & Excise from Harry Sissen has at long last given his judgment. 100 are to be returned to the breeder and the remaining 44, including the three Lear's Macaws (Anodorhynchus leari)and six Blue-headed Macaws (Ara couloni) illegally acquired will remain with HM Customs & Excise for placement. Two local reports appear on the news page.
I have received today some excellent images of the Lear's Macaw taken earlier this year in
I have been meaning for some time to post an article on the Glaucous Macaw by Claudio Bertonatti of the Fundación Vida Silvestre
Great excitement about a report that a Spix's Macaw has surfaced in the
The 5th International Parrot Convention was held at Loro Parque on
There is also a press
release on the return to
A decision by the magistrate is still awaited in the Sissen case, although this was expected some weeks ago. As soon as the decision is known it will be posted to the website.
Saturday 20th July 2002
Reports similar to the one mentioned below about IBAMA's decision to dissolve the Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw have appeared on various websites in Brazil and other media. I have discovered that the origin of all these reports is the IBAMA website. That means it's OFFICIAL! The official statement appears on the Blue Macaws website news page with an English translation by the website editor. So please let me know if I have made any mistakes!
I have received an agency report from
Tuesday 25th June 2002
Yet more delay in the Sissen's case as the judge delays his final decision until August or September after having refused to accept the expert witness presented by Harry Sissen. The newspaper report in today's Yorkshire Post can be accessed through the news page.
Monday 10th June 2002
Pedro Salviano Filho, publisher of Atualidades ornitologia, the Brazilian monthly newspaper for ornithologists and aviculturists, has kindly sent me the website address for a four minute video from a Brazilian TV programme capturing the use of infra-red cameras in a nest of a Hyacinthine Macaw pair monitored by Neiva Guedes of the Projeto Arara Azul. The nest had three eggs and I assume it was the nest from which triplets were hatched recently (see below
Sunday, 9th June 2002
There was been another development in the protracted proceedings against Harry Sissen, when the judge decided to adjourn the hearing until 24th June to allow him to present DNA evidence on the birds confiscated in 1998. This does not relate to the Lear's Macaws and Blue-headed Macaws, but the other parrots taken. The two newspaper reports on this have now been posted to the website on the news page
Friday 7th June 2002
The final stage of the proceedings against Harry Sissen to decide on the fate of all the parrots confiscated four years ago - yes, it was four years ago - started earlier this week and I have placed the first newspaper reports on them on the website. The case should conclude early next week and hopefully the three Lear's Macaws will then be repatriated as requested by the Brazilian authorities.
I am pleased to add to the two articles below (
Spring has finally come to
There is a really interesting article by Norbert Hebel on his experiences in breeding Hyacinthine Macaws, which appeared in the April issue of Gefiederte Welt and which I have translated to place on the website. It includes an image of a hatchling being fed in the nest by the adult female. The original German text is viewable on the German language pages of the website.
There is also a report
on breeding of Hyacinthine macaws in aviculture in
Finally there is news of a change in the
studbook-keeper of the Spix's Macaw project. In March IBAMA decided to appoint
Carlos Bianchi supported by Dr. Wanderlei de Morares - both based in
I am posting an article on the re-pairing of the Spix's Macaws held at Loro Parque to the website today. This was published in the December 2001 issue of Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of the Loro Parque Fundación. The same issue reported that 1,104 young of 167 parrot species and subspecies were bred at Loro Parque in 2001 compared with 853 of 148 species and subspecies in 2000. The 2001 successes included five Hyacinthine Macaw young.
Excellent news from the Pantanal with publishing of the annual report for 2001 of the Projeto Arara Azul. The project continues to operate successfully and is able to announce the successful rearing of triplets by a wild pair in a nestbox.
An interesting report on the Spix's Macaw saga appeared in today's supplement to the Times, the leading British daily broadsheet newspaper. Although not entirely accurate on the history of the recovery programme it sheds new interesting light on the latest situation. It can be read in the section of the website dedicated to the Spix's Macaw.
I have also posted a report
in this week's issue of Cage & Aviary Birds on the intervention by Boris
Johnson, Member of Parliament for
Transportation boxes are ready and waiting
and British Airways has agreed to fly then back to
I am informed that HM Customs and Excise has successfully applied for the final Condemnation hearing to settle legal ownership of all the birds confiscated to proceed without waiting for a decision on Harry Sissen's appeal against the Confiscation hearing decision last August. Even so, this may not take place before the summer.
Monday, 24th December 2001
The World Parrot Convention, which has taken place every four years under the auspices of Loro Parque in Tenerife, Canary islands since 1986 takes place from 18th to 21st September 2002. More information on this is available at http://www.loroparque.com
The proceedings against Harry Sissen grind on remorselessly slowly. He has now appealed against the decision in the recent confiscation hearing, which is holding up the hearing on the livestock confiscated nearly four years ago. This means additional delay in the repatriation of the Lear's Macaws to
Tuesday, 9th October 2001
I am publishing today the Notification (No. 52) to the Parties issued by CITES on 10th August 2001 at the request of IBAMA, the Brazilian wildlife government agency, following the decision by Antonio de Dios in the Philippines to start selling captive bred Spix's Macaws in his possession in contravention of the agreement with the Brazilian authority.
Hooray!!! The images are back again. No thanks to Technical Support at the ISP. In the end the problem was quite simple, but time-consuming to solve. Special thanks to Lloyd Vancil of
I am publishing a short article on the Spix's Macaw saga which is appearing in the October 2001 issue of BBC Wildlife on the news page.
My apologies to all visitors to the website who are unable to access the images at present. My ISP recently upgraded its technology and now appears unable to identify the jpeg images. I am trying to get this sorted out at the moment and hopefully the images will be back soon. If not I shall have to transfer to another ISP.
E-mails can be still be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The hearing on financial aspects of the Sissen's case has just ended at
Saturday, 26th May 2001
The Permanent International Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw (CPRAA) saga has now reached a seriously critical point as indicated by an extraordinary article published in the latest issue of Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of the Loro Parque Foundation. Although dated March 2001, the issue is only just being distributed. The German language version can be seen here, the Spanish language version here and Portuguese here.
This situation explains why IBAMA, the
Brazilian wildlife government agency, is insisting on the repatriation of
confiscated Lear's Macaws. Some of the latter - I believe four pairs - have
also turned up in the collection in
Sadly the policy of co-operation with private
holders of livestock appears not to have worked. In the end commercial interest
is prevailing. Unfortunately the Spix's Macaws at Loro Parque have not achieved
breeding success. The re-establishment of the species in the wild requires
livestock as well as money. Loro Parque has returned Illiger's Macaws for
release purposes to
The last remaining Spix's macaw in the wild is still lost, however this does not mean that the project is at an end. There has been much achieved in the last ten years in educating the local population and improving infrastructure. This sound foundation should be built on. Wolfgang Kiessling of Loro Parque has indicated that he will consider continuing financial support, which is necessary to provide the organisational structure to receive and care for the young Spix's macaws promised by De Dios in the Phillippines. The new Swiss owners must be won over to play their part in the Recovery Program.
Natasha Schischakin is working hard to achieve these objectives. In the most recent issue of afa Watchbird she briefly sets out the situation as it is at present.
The April issue of the respected German avicultural magazine Gefiederte Welt includes a long interview with Wolfgang Kiessling, the proprietor of Loro Parque in Teneriffe in the
As this project is at a critical point with the disappearance of the last remaining bird in the wild, Wolfgang Kiessling's views on the project and its future are very important. I have therefore extracted the relevant parts of the interview and translated them into English for the news page of the website.
The campaign to get the three confiscated Lear's Macaws in
I am very pleased by the success of the
website. The counter on the title page is being updated. The ISP had
accidentally reset it to zero several times recently whilst carrying out
routine maintenance, so I decided to remove it temporarily. However, the
statistics provided by the ISP for February 2001 show that the website was
visited by interested persons from 65 countries, ranging from the
Thursday, 8th February 2001
I am delighted to put the summaries of the latest technical reports from the Projeto Arara Azul under the direction of Neiva Guedes. Regular visitors will be aware that the project has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. The achievements of the project are very considerable. In the ten years 264 natural nest sites have been identified, registered, monitored and maintained. In addition 154 nest boxes have been constructed and installed. Thus at present well over 400 nest sites are being operated by the project. These also provide additional reproductive opportunity for other species of bird and mammal apart from the Hyacinthine Macaw.
In the last period reported Neiva and her team incubated three eggs in the laboratory and returned the hatchlings successfully to the nest. Again website visitors may recall that several years ago Neiva returned two young recovered from a trapper to nests with young of similar age and these were accepted and reared by the adult Hyacinthine Macaws. We have always believed that eggs and young bred in captivity locally with macaws, which for whatever reason cannot be released, could be introduced to the wild and Neiva has once again proved this is possible.
I have also put a translation of an interesting entry on a blue macaw from Dr. Ocken's Allgemeine Naturgeschichte für alle Stände published in 1835 on the website under Historical documents.
Thursday, 25th January 2001
There is more news on the News page about the Spix's Macaw situation and the Harry Sissen trial.
I have also now added an article on the BioBrazil Hyacinthine Macaw project in Piauí, which was published in Bird Talk magazine in October 1999. This project, which has been supported for a number of years by the Kaytee Avian Foundation set up by Kaytee Products Inc., involves former trappers working as gamekeepers. This aspect has caused considerable misgivings in conservation circles both inside and outside Brazil. The Brazilian environmental authorities are ambivalent about it and would appear from the article at least to monitor the project's activities.
This interesting notion has not been helped by the arrest and incarceration reported several years ago by Thomas Arndt of a trapper in the city of Petrolinas for illegal trafficking and possession of a Lear's Macaw head. At the time he was allegedly being paid $1,000 per month by a British-based parrot conservation organisation to protect the macaws against trappers. Left unsupervised he soon realised he might be able to enjoy the benefits of both occupations. A close associate of his was also apprehended with a live Lear's Macaw held in shocking conditions, which subsequently died.
Nonetheless the concept does have considerable merit as part of the involvement of local people, without which no conservation project can exist long-term, and is far more likely to succeed with peasant farmers in remote rural areas as described in this project than tricky city-based operators such as the miscreant mentioned above.
Friday, 15th December 2000
The decision by the Appeal Court in the Harry Sissen's case features on the website page dedicated to this landmark case. Sadly it looks set to continue, which means that the court decision on the fate of all the parrots confiscated will be further postponed.
Of far greater direct consequence to parrot conservation is the 10th anniversary of the Projeto Arara Azul under the dedicated management of Neiva Guedes. She has been working in the Pantanal - often under terrible conditions, often alone and to great personal sacrifice - for a decade now. The result can only be regarded as a very considerable success not only to Hyacinthine Macaw conservation, but also of many other species - bird, mammal and insect - in the southern Pantanal. The Hyacinthine Macaw population is on the increase! What more could one ask?!? This project which we have been supporting since 1995 is in the opinion of many one of the most successful parrot conservation programmes worldwide. Neiva deserves full credit for this and should continue to be given support to expand the project's work into the northern Pantanal. I have translated a report that recently appeared in a local environmental newsletter and posted it to the news page. The latest annual report is on its way from Brazil and a summary will be posted as soon as possible.
Neiva, Vocè está de parabens!!!.
Friday, 1st December 2000
I have included this article by Bernabé López-Lanús on the Collared Forest Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus) because of the interesting description of its attacks on the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambigua) when competing for nest-sites in Ecuador. One of the main competitors of the Hyacinthine Macaw for nest sites in the Pantanal is - according to the field research of Neiva Guedes - the same species of falcon. Neiva has installed several hundred artificial nest boxes in recent years, which are used by several species, including the falcon. This takes some of the competitive pressure off the Hyacinthine Macaws, which tend to prefer natural nest sites. I took this photo of a falcon in an artificial nest box during my visit to the project in January 1999.
Wednesday, 4th October 2000
I met Kashmir Csaky again at the AFA Convention in Los Angeles. We last met in January 1996 at the IAS Convention in Fort Myers. She is a very successful breeder of Hyacinthine Macaws and enjoys great empathy with the great blue macaw. She wrote an excellent informative article recently for afa Watchbird on her success last year (1999) in producing two parent-reared young Hyacinthine Macaws. There is little written on breeding the Hyacinthine Macaw in aviculture, partly because they can be difficult to breed in captivity, but also because most successful breeders are reluctant to release details of their achievements.
I have also put on the website an interesting article on managing papilloma-positive breeding birds by Margaret Wissman, a veterinarian practising in Florida, which was published in the July/August 2000 issue of afa Watchbird. If confirmed by further veterinarian research this will be really important for managing illegally traded and confiscated rare species, which are unfortunately exposed to this disease en route or at the premises of the collector, who finally acquired them. It means that although they cannot be re-released into the wild, they can still make a valuable contribution to a properly managed captive breeding project in or near the distribution area of the species.
Friday 12th May 2000
The latest reports on the Sissen's trial can be found on the dedicated website page. I have also been sent a scanned copy of the plate of the Glaucous Macaw in Wagler's Monographia Psittacorum, published in 1832, by Dr. Julianne Diller, Librarian at the Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich. As this is the first illustration of this now extinct blue macaw, I am very grateful to her.
Friday 17th March 2000
The latest issue of "Papageien" has an interesting article (in German) by Miguel Bueno of Loro Parque with some excellent images of the Spix's Macaws held there. This article with some of the images plus others from the website is now on the German pages and will shortly appear in English and Spanish on the appropriate pages. I have reorganised the images pages to include a page for the Spix's Macaw in Aviculture and transferred the index from the language title page onto a separate page entitled "Images of the Blue Macaws and their Habitats". I hope this makes the website more user-friendly.
Wednesday, 8th March 2000
Please note following requests by e-mail that the button for "Articles and Presentations on the Blue Macaws" has been moved up the various language title pages and is no longer the last button on the respective pages
Thursday, 2nd March 2000
The press release issued by the Brazilian authorities on 14th July 1998 which was published on the website in English soon thereafter can now be read in German. The articles on the Spix's Macaw recently published on the website are also available in German on the page relating to the Spix's Macaw in the wild.
Sunday 13th February 2000
An article about the Spix's Macaw project published in the April/May 1997 issue of "Parrots", which I previously overlooked. It includes two interesting images, one of the wild male feeding and one of Carlos Yamashita examining the nest of the Spix's Macaw/Illiger's Macaw pair with an endoscope donated by two British hospitals.
Saturday, 22nd January 2000.
More developments on the Sissen case on the news page. The Blue Macaws website will provide more information as this important trial progresses in the coming months.
A busy week! I have put on two articles by pioneering aviculturists in the early 80s in breeding the Hyacinthine Macaw. The first is by Daphne and Walter Grunebaum, who bred successfully the first Hyacinthine macaw in the U.K and the second by Gerd Volkemer, who was one of the first aviculturists in Germany to breed this species. Both articles appeared in the Avicultural Magazine in 1984.
In addition there is a short article by Ed Bish on the first breeding of the Lear's Macaw at Busch Gardens in 1982, likewise published in the Avicultural Magazine.
I am delighted to reproduce on the Blue Macaws website the contents of the booklet recently published by the Committee for the recovery and Management of the Lear's Macaw. This should be of great interest to those serious about the conservation of this striking macaw. It also provides an effective response to those in the U.K who are trying to prevent the return of the three confiscated Lear's Macaws presently being held there on the grounds that the Brazilians will do nothing to protect and conserve this seriously endangered species.
Week ending 7.1.2000
I am now able to offer some really exciting and informative new articles on the Spix's Macaw. Two were published in the June/September 1999 issue of Cyanopsitta, the newsletter/magazine of the Loro Parque Foundation and I am grateful to that organisation, which has invested nearly $ 600,000 as well as considerable technical expertise in this landmark project for the Spix's Macaw, for the opportunity to reproduce the articles here. The first relates to the captive breeding project at Loro Parque for the Spix's Macaw and the second is an excellent exposition of the work of the Spix's Macaw Recovery Programme with a strong rebuttal of uninformed criticism from within and outside conservation. The third is a largely informative article for the layman, which appeared in the Guardian, a highly respected British broadsheet daily newspaper. Happy reading!!!. There are also some more images on the website.
Work in progress includes a FAQ page for young visitors to the website as well as indices for the articles and images.
Week ending 23.10.99
This week there was a report in Cage & Aviary Birds, a U.K weekly with a circulation of 30,000+, about Harry Sissen, the well-known Yorkshire parrot breeder, who will face trial on November 19 for illegally importing three Lear's Macaws as well as six Blue-headed macaws (Ara couloni)and illegally selling birds. Sissen, who worked closely with the World Parrot Trust as its " Hyacinthine Macaw expert", had his premises raided in April 1998 by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, the British customs authority. Some 120 parrots were removed for DNA testing and investigation. If found guilty on the charges, steps will then be taken to return the Lear's Macaws to Brazil, where they belong.
Week ending 15th October 1999
One of the early articles to appear on the Blue Macaws website was "The Black Macaw " of the Brazilians Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus Lath.,1790" by Maja Müller-Bierl published in "Gefiederte Welt ", issue 5/93. In this she referred to a depiction of a blue macaw by Hoefnagel, the court painter of the Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612). I was intrigued by this reference as it would be the very first illustration and decided to try to trace it. Eventually with the enthusiastic assistance of Walter Gesell, my colleague in Vienna, and Veronika Sandbichler at the Art History Museum in Ambras Castle near Innsbruck, I found the work in question. Although the author of the article refers to it as " being caught on canvas", it was in fact a codex or illuminated book entitled Naturstudium or Bestiary of Emperor Rudolf II. This fabulous work, which is in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, includes a number of parrots including two illustrations of a Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) entitled "Blue Macaw".
Having read the original reference by Erwin Stresemann on Page 29 in his work Die Entwicklung der Ornithologie published in 1951, it seems that he had not seen the illustration himself, but was merely reporting the discovery of illustrations of a blue macaw, which he queried as (A.hyacinthina?). This is disappointing, but at least we know the truth of it and I have accordingly added a note to the text of the article.
Week ending 17th September 1999
Recent additions include a report from Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of the Loro Parque Foundation, which has financed the Spix's Macaw Recovery Programme, with the wonderful news that the mixed pair of male Spix's Macaw and female Illiger's Macaw had successfully reared introduced young of the Illiger's Macaw as well as a report in the Miami Herald on 23rd August, 1999 about the project with the information that the female released in March 1995, which disappeared soon thereafter, had been discovered dead by a local farmer after she apparently flew into a power line.
Week ending 7th August 1999
I have added the entries on the blue macaws in Parrots and Parrot-like Birds in Aviculture published in the 1920s by Hastings Russell,the Marquess of Tavistock, later 12th Duke of Bedford, as well as those published by E.J.Boosey in Parrots, Cockatoos and Macaws in 1956 to the section described as Historical Documents. They will, however, also be included under the appropriate section on the blue macaws in aviculture. Fortunately website programming permits this fairly easily. I have decided to draw a line in the mid-1970s when modern fieldwork on the blue macaws started in earnest under pioneering biologists such as Carlos Yamashita in Brazil and also when aviculture really started to use modern technology to improve breeding results. The last items on the website described as a "Historical Document" will be from Rosemary Low's first major work The Parrots of South America published in 1972 and thus just before the watershed mentioned above. If any website visitor disagrees with this, please send an e-mail.
Week ending 31st July 1999
I am now putting on interesting early information on the blue macaws in aviculture. This is almost historical and may be put in both sections. Firstly the entry on the Hyacinthine Macaw in Greene's Parrots in Captivity and then excerpts from Len Hill's book on Birdland published in 1976.
Week ending 23 July 1999
I recently acquired A.G. Butler's Foreign Birds for Cage and Aviary published in two volumes in 1909 in a second-hand bookshop and discovered some interesting anecdotal information on the blue macaws. These entries are reproduced here Hyacinthine Macaw, Lear's Macaw, Glaucous Macaw and Spix's Macaw as well as articles mentioned within them as source information including the reports on Glaucous Macaws and the acquisition of a Spix's Macaw in the Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London as well as items in the Avicultural Magazine. Of particular interest is the Reverend Astley's account of his Lear's Macaw with a fine plate by H.Goodchild. Also new on the website are the entries from Reichenow's Vogelbilder aus fernen Zonen published in 1883, which includes an illustration of a Glaucous macaw with a Hyacinthine Macaw.
Week ending 16th July 1999
Entries on the Hyacinthine Macaw, Lear's Macaw,Glaucous Macaw and Spix's Macaw in Volume 20 of The Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum produced by Count Tommaso Salvadori and published in 1891.
Week ending 9th July, 1999
Entries on the blue macaws (in Latin) in Monographia Psittacorum by Johann Georg Wagler published in Munich in 1832.
Entry on Hyacinthine Macaw in Descourtilz's Ornithologie brésilienne published between 1854 and 1856.
Excerpts from Wallace's Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro published in 1853.
EEP studbook report for 1997.
Week ending 9th April, 1999
The inspirational article by Robert Ridgely, published as cover story for the very first issue of Birds International in January/March 1989 by Joseph Forshaw.
Week commencing 29th March 1999
Hi everyone! I have been exceptionally busy for the last ten weeks travelling to Germany and other destinations promoting British exports. Over Easter I shall have some time to catch up on adding more items to the website. Thanks for the feedback from some of you. It is much appreciated.
For now I am kicking off with an illustration of a Hyacinthine Macaw by Sydenham Edwards from 1812 acquired by the 13th Earl of Derby, patron of Edward Lear and founder of the famous menagerie at Knowsley. This is followed by a recent short article in Cotinga, the journal of the Neotropical Bird Club.
Then there are the reports, which appeared in the Parrot Society Magazine on my visit to the Lear's Macaw project in March 1998 and the inauguration of the new base for the Hyacinthine Macaw project in the Pantanal.
Week ending 22.1.99
Happy New Year to all visitors!!!!!! When in Germany last week I found a very worn third edition of " Die sprechenden Papageien" by Karl Russ. It had some interesting entries on the blue macaws, which can be found under "Historical documents ". It also had a monochrome illustration of a Glaucous Macaw and a Spix's Macaw in a bird dealer's premises (probably August Fockelmann in Hamburg) in 1895. Having just returned from Brazil as well there will be reports soon on the Hyacinthine Macaw and the Lear's Macaw projects.
Week ending 4.12.98
Lots about the Spix's Macaw
Week ending 1st November
Images of the Pantanal
Page on Pantanal including information on the Hidrovia project
Week ending 17th October
1. Article entitled Prehistoric cave paintings discovered by the website editor published in Cage and Aviary Birds in March 1994.
3. To the page on Bennett's Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological delineated has been added some relevant correspondence in The Magazine of Natural History between William Swainson and Edward Bennett published in the same year (1831). This is being investigated further, so look out for some new information on this page.
4. An experiment in colony breeding Hyacinthine Macaws by Carla Marquandt (1992)
1. Article entitled Biology, breeding and keeping of the Hyacinthine Macaw by Dr. Hubert Lücker of Dresden Zoo. Published in 1995.
2. Entry on Hyacinthine Macaw in The Speaking Parrot by Dr. Karl Russ. Published in 1884.
3. Images of large canvases of a Hyacinthine Macaw and a Green-winged Macaw executed byJoacilei Cardoso using the acrylic paint air-brush technique. These images do scant justice to this striking canvases, but may nonetheless interest many visitors to the Blue Macaws website.
Historical documents and travel accounts
1. Excerpts referring to the Glaucous Macaw
and its habitat from D'Orbigny's Voyages
dans l'Amerique méridionale. This includes images of skins from the Paris
Natural History Museum and interactive links to other pages.
2. Article by Voous published in 1965 suggesting A. leari is a hybrid of hyacinthinus and glaucus. This has been linked with Helmut Sick's letter published in Gefiederte Welt in 1979
3. Excerpts referring to Hyacinthine Macaws from The Naturalist on the Amazons by H.W.Bates published in 1863.
4. Excerpts from Travels in Brazil 1817-20 by von Martius, which contains the first reference known to the website editor on the feeding habits of the Hyacinthine Macaw and a reference to blue macaws in a locality, where Lear's Macaws were found until recently.
5. Image of monochrome engraving of blue macaws at the London Zoo in the 1820s, with a bare facial patch more like the Lear's Macaw or the Glaucous Macaw