Re-pairing of the Spix's macaws at Loro Parque Fundación

A report in the December 2001 (No.63, Page 19) issue of Cyanopsitta, the official newsletter of the Loro Parque Fundación

Summary of the weekly observational reports

In 2001, the Spix's macaws housed at Loro Parque Fundación were flocked in a huge aviary located in the La Vera breeding centre. Following the natural death of the male of the breeding pair a few months ago, the situation changed for the remaining group, consisting of the female born at Loro Parque, her male and the older wild female, which then found herself without a partner. By mid-January, coinciding with the end of the rainy season, the older hen started trying to establish contact with the male of the younger female. Her attempts were partially rejected, although, generally, a great interest on behalf of the male was observed.

After that, the contact attempts by the older female were interfered with the younger one, manifested by attacks on the first; meanwhile, the male started to ignore the latter and went over to defend a new territory where a horizontal nestbox was located. The male started showing display behaviour quite frequently, entering the nest, addressing both females; while the younger hen wasn't interested, the older one inspected all the nests of the aviary.

By the end of January the older female started going after the male persistently sitting close to him, preening, and flying away after a few seconds to provoke him to follow her; she succeeded most of the time, although the male never followed her into the nest.

On February the 24th, the decision was made to transfer the young female to another aviary, since she never showed any interest in the nest boxes and, moreover, was constantly interfering with the inter-action between her aviary mates. After that, the male and the older female started to fly together. He strongly defended his territory located around one of the horizontal nests, which he entered regularly to work the nest material. The female inspected all the other nests except for the one frequented by the male. This situation lasted until the beginning of March, when the first signs of mutual affection were observed. Since then, the pair spent several hours inside the nest allopreening, although occasional threatening behaviour was observed, which is, however, normal in pairs recently formed.

After one month with frequent courtship display, common feeding and flying, the first real copulations set in, which resulted in two eggs at the beginning of July. Copulation and normal incubation continued during the following days, but unfortunately the eggs were infertile. The decision was taken to remove them from the nest, after which the pair continued its courtship behaviour and working on the nest materials, although no further clutch was obtained. After the summer season, the couple stayed together, entering the nest frequently and copulating during the early morning and late evening hours.

As a conclusion, one could say that the breeding season of this species was successful, considering that the formation of this new, compatible pair took place in a very short period of time, especially taking into account that this process, in some macaw species, may take several seasons. Unfortunately the eggs were infertile, so we now have to wait patiently for the results of the new breeding season.

Latest News

  • Tuesday 9th July 2024

    There is a short interesting article in the July 2024 issue of the German magazine "Papageien" about the setting up of a nature conservation centre for Spix’s Macaws  in the São Paulo zoo. Under the guidance of biologist Fernanda ... 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)