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This fabulous work includes a number of parrots including two illustrations of a Blue and Yellow Macaw

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.

In addition I have added some biographical information to the articles by Dr. Karl Russ, one published in 1884 and the other in 1898.


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