Anodorhynchus leari Brazil
Also known as indigo macaw.
Similar to the well known hyacinth macaws, lears are smaller and duller blue grey in color. They have bright yellow eye-rings and a small yellow facial patch next to the lower beak. Their beaks are large and strong for opening large nuts. The tongue has a yellow stripe. The eyes are brown. Age cannot be determined by eye color. The tail is long and tapered. The undersides of the wings and tail are black.
Lears macaws have a very limited range and the population is small and fragmented between several locations in the state of Bahia, in Brazil. Until recently they were feared to be extinct. The wild population is estimated at approx 300 birds.
Diet principally consists of locally available nuts of a variety of palms including the licuri palm. A staple of the diet is syagrus palm nuts and a single bird may eat 350 nuts in one day. Roosting sites and nests are in sandstone cliffs. They feed in trees and on the ground. Fluid from unripe palm nuts is probably their main source of water.
Length 30-32 inches. Weight probably around 800 to 1000 gm
Sexing - Macaw species show no obvious sexual dimorphism (visual difference between the species) therefore endoscopic examination (Surgical sexing) or laboratory sexing techniques are needed for accurate sex determination. Males are usually larger and have larger heads.
Breeding – The first captive breeding of Lear’s macaws occurred in Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida in June 1982. The pairing was a female from Busch Gardens and a male from Parrot Jungle in Miami Fl. There are 2 living female offspring still in Tampa. Rearing was similar to Hyacinth
Macaws. They are now being bred in captivity in Qatar and Spain in a cooperative program with wildlife authorities in Brazil.
Common diseases and disorders
Unknown but probably similar to Hyacinth Macaws.
Conservation status – Critical – Lear’s are protected under Brazilian Law. They are also listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Fauna and Flora. They are also listed on the Endangered Species list of the United States which prohibits transfer between states without permits. Very few birds exist outside of Brazil. There are birds in private collections which are in a cooperative breeding program with Brazilian wildlife authorities. Illegal trade within Brazil is also occurring.