Report on the Spix's Macaw

by P.H. SCLATER, Secretary to the Zoological Society of London, in the Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London for the year 1878 (Page 976).

Additions to the Society's Menagerie during November 1878

Item 2. A small blue Macaw, apparently referable to Spix's Macaw (Ara spixi) purchased of the Jardin d'Acclimatation of Paris, November 25, and new to the Society's collection.

This bird seems to agree in every respect with the species as described by Finsch, except that the bare space round the eye and lores are black, and not yellow as described as Finsch and as also described and figured by Spix.

I have examined the single specimen of this species in the British Museum (obtained by purchase from a dealer in 1859) and believe it to be the same as our bird. Our specimen, of which I exhibit a figure by Mr. Smit (Plate XLI) is generally of a bluish grey, the head of a paler light grey, a narrow naked ring round the eye; naked lores and bill black; total length about 18inches, wing 10, tail 12. The iris is of a pale yellow.

This is the first example of this rare species I have ever seen alive. It is immediately distinguishable from Ara hyacinthina and A.glauca* (of both of which we have living specimens in the collection) by its small size and small bill.

(*Website note: The Zoological Society believed it had purchased a Glaucous Macaw in June 1860, but after seeing a Glaucous Macaw skin in 1879 - a year after the report above - Sclater decided the macaw in the Zoo's collection was a Lear's Macaw. See separate website entry)

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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)