Extract from presentation by Dr. P. Chalmers Mitchell on Longevity and Relative Viability in Mammals and Birds

reported in The Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London for the year 1911(Page 495).

Dr. Chalmers Mitchell had taken the records of the Zoological Gardens of London from 1870 to 1902 and analysed them to ascertain how long the animals and birds kept there survived. The website editor has extracted the statistics on the blue macaws as follows:-

No. of Av. duration Max. duration
Individuals in months in months
Anodorhynchus, whole genus 8 111 276
A. glaucus (Glaucous macaw) 1 107 107
A. hyacinthinus (Hyacinthine Macaw) 4 95 117
A. leari (Lear's Macaw) 3 134 276
Cyanopsittacus spixi (Spix's Macaw) 2 63.5 65

As the Glaucous Macaw was acquired in 1886, it survived almost nine years until 1895. One of the Lear's Macaws apparently managed to survive for 23 years at the London Zoo.

In this presentation Dr. Chalmers Mitchell referred to an article by J.H.Gurney entitled "On the Comparative Ages to which Birds live" published in The Ibis, Series 7, Vol. 5 in 1899. Gurney alleged that a Blue Macaw had lived 64 years according to an article in Revue et Magazine de Zoologiepublished in 1864 (Page 409). The website editor has read this article, but believes the macaw referred to is a Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao).

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 " 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)