Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)
Updated: Oct 16, 2021
The hyacinth macaw stunning cobalt-blue colouring and massive size will cause anyone to pause and take notice. Bright yellow around the eyes and at the base and the corners of the beak makes the largest of the macaw species appear to be in a perpetual smile.
This is a parrot for someone who can afford a hefty price tag and who has space to spare.
Along with the Black Palm Cockatoo, the Hyacinth Macaw is in my top two favorites and I'd love to have the privilege of owning both.
The hyacinth macaw is possibly the most stunning of the macaw family, and is certainly the largest. It is the largest of all parrots. Originally from Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, the hyacinth is the “Great Dane” of companion birds, with the mature male reaching over 40 inches in length. Very few people actually have a hyacinth macaw as a companion, and will probably only have the pleasure of seeing one in a zoo or a larger bird shop. Despite its size, penchant for destruction, loudness and expense, this blue macaw is the penultimate companion bird for the person who has the time, patience and wallet to properly keep this beautiful beast.
Native Region / Natural Habitat
The hyacinth macaw lives primarily in the scrublands at the outskirts of the rainforest, though its large range also includes grasslands and lightly forested regions. It is an endangered species — there are an estimated 2,500 to 5,000 Hyacinth macaws left in the wild today. Destruction of their environment, hunting for feathers and food, and illegal poaching for the pet trade have contributed to the Hyacinth’s declining numbers. Eggs and nestlings have some natural predators as well.
Personality & Behavior
Often called a “gentle giant” the hyacinth macaw is indeed affectionate, but gentle it is not. Hyacinths subdue very easily, but they tend to want to play rough with other hyacinth macaws, and with their “person.” Its beak carries over 200 pounds of pressure per square inch – that means that it could snap a broomstick in half with one crunch. Even a very tame hyacinth macaw can still be nippy (if you could call that big beak nippy), but that is usually playful behavior. Because its beak is so intimidating, this bird is best kept by a person who is not daunted by the thought of being bitten — there’s no guarantee, even with the tamest bird, that the occasional bite will not happen.
Speech & Sound
If you have close neighbors, you may want to reconsider getting a hyacinth macaw. This bird is extremely loud and prone to screeching. One hyacinth might not be so annoying to neighbors, but a pair will pump up the volume. Also, a loud hyacinth macaw can call the attention of bird-nappers looking to sell such an expensive bird, so make sure to keep your birds safe from potential theft.
Hyacinth macaws are not the best talkers among the macaws, but they will learn a few favorite words and phrases and repeat them over and over. These birds are highly intelligent, and may learn to contextualize certain words as well.
Health & Common Conditions
Hyacinth macaws are especially prone to overgrown beaks and need a steady supply of safe items to chew. As with other macaw species, hyacinth macaws are susceptible to proventricular dilatation disease (“Macaw Wasting Disease”), psittacosis and papillomas. A diet catering to a hyacinth macaw’s special needs as well as regular health exams is key to maintaining good health.