Entry on the Lear's Macaw in The Parrots of South America

(Page 45) by Rosemary LOW published in London in 1972.

LEAR'S MACAW (A.leari)
Description: A small version of the Hyacinthine Macaw, distinguished by the duller blue of the plumage, smaller size and the U-shaped area of bare skin by the lower mandible (which extends further in the Hyacinthine). It is mainly dull cobalt, the head and underparts being slightly less brightly coloured, with a tinge of green. The inner webs of the flights, the under wing-coverts and the underside of the tail are blackish. A small area of bare skin surrounding the eye is yellow, also the area between the lores and the lower mandible, but less bright in colour. The beak is black and the tongue is black with a yellow stripe down each side. The iris is deep brown. Length : about 29in.

Distribution: Eastern Brazil; known with certainty only from Joazeiro on the Rio Sao Francisco, Bahia on the Pernambuco border. Nothing has been recorded about it in the wild.

Remarks: Very rare in skin collections and in aviculture. Only isolated specimens have reached Britain, including two which were owned by the late Duke of Bedford, one owned by R. C. J. Sawyer and the pair belonging to P. H. Maxwell which can be seen at Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water. A few have been imported into the USA.

Hubert Astley had three of these birds, one of which was very tame. He wrote that it showed ' joy at seeing me and having a game of play, more keenly than any bird I have ever met with.' It could talk a little and imitate various noises.

The Duke of Bedford tried this species at liberty but found it to be a poor stayer. Two strayed after a few months and were both shot. He wrote of the hen that she ` used to gratify her taste for society by flying daily to a town three miles distant where she amused herself by pulling at the pegs on people's clothes lines and playing with the dogs.'

Altogether these macaws are most attractive and it is regrettable that they are so rarely available.

Latest News

  • Wednesday 8th September 2021
    Update on the wind farm in the Lear’s macaw conservation area

    I have received an update on the situation with the proposed wind farm in the Lear’s Macaw conservation area in Bahia provided by American Bird Conservancy. You can read the update on its website at Read More »


 " Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret "

( If you drive out nature with a pitchfork, she will soon find a way back)

Horace (65-8 BC)