Hyacinth Macaw
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. hyacinth macaw
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  • Scientific Name:  Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  No
  • Origin / Distribution:  Central South America.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Forests and surrounding open areas including swamp and marshlands. Their natural range may cover up to 1.5 million square kilometres.
  • Status In Wild:  Declining, due mainly to habitat destruction and trapping. They are a protected species and have a CITES Appendix 1 listing.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Rare
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  About 6 years. Some take up to 8 years.
  • Adult plumage:   Attained at by the time they leave the nest.  
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  8th or 9th year onwards
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 30 or more years. Up to 50 years is possible.
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations:  No
  • Availability:  Specialist breeders. Good captive breeding populations exist in overseas countries.
  • Temperament:  Hyacinth Macaws are one of the most highly prized of all the parrots. The cobalt blue feathers along with the strong yellow around the eyes and beak make it an extremely attractive bird.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $Lots
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 820 - 1000 mm (or approx. 33 - 40 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 1200 - 1600 gms (or approx.  43 - 57 ozs)

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements:  Refer to " Macaws " web page for general details on the housing of Macaws or read on for specific details for this parrot.

One of the largest and strongest birds kept in captivity in Australia and require a suitably strong aviary or cage.  They prefer a large aviary of up to 8 metres long.

Diet / Feeding:  Refer to " Macaws " web page for general details on the feeding of Macaws or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Hyacinth Macaws have very powerful beaks and have few problems opening the shells of nuts.  Palm nuts are a large portion of their natural diet.  Natural diet include seeds, fruits, nuts and other vegetable matter.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.  Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

  • Nesting months:
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth 1000 mm (or approx. 40 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 500 - 600 mm. (or approx. 20 - 24 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx.500 - 600 mm square (or approx. 20 - 24 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 225 - 250 mm (or approx. 9 - 10 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 - 150 mm (or approx 4 - 6 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box = Usually at mid height under the sheltered portion of the aviary, but may be higher but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
    • Angle of log or nest box = Usually vertical or near vertical but can be on any angle through to horizontal.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

In the wild, Hyacinth Macaws prefer to nest in the trunks of Buriti palms.

Breeding pairs need a large sturdy nest that will withstand their destructive nature.  Large wine style barrels are often used.  Unlike most parrot nests that are hung on the aviary wall, these nests may have to be placed on a strong platform to avoid any unfortunate accidents.  Nest boxes that are hung externally to the cage need special attention.  A macaw can easily chew through a timber log or timber nest box and escape.  An external strong wire mesh can be attached to the outer walls of the nest box so if the nest wall is compromised, the parents or young will be unable to escape the nest box.

It is important to have a strong "chew proof" ladder (10 gauge wire mesh is often used ) on the inside of the nest box, below the entry hole to allow the birds to climb down to the floor of the nest instead of jumping.  The internal ladder is essential in nest boxes that are in a vertical or near vertical position.  The ladder also allows the birds to easily and safely exit the nest.  With nests placed in a horizontal or near horizontal position a ladder may not be required.
Nest boxes/logs should be placed middle height to high up in the aviary under cover.  Many prefer the nest box / log opening to be in a darker / shaded part of the aviary that provides a degree of privacy.  At least one perch should be at each end of the aviary and one perch should be close to the nest and be about the same height as the nest opening.  The perch closest to the nest opening is the perch most often used during the breeding season.  The cock bird will use the closest perch to the nest so he can protect the nest, the hen and their offspring.  The same perch configuration applies to suspended cages.
More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the
"nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding:  Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 1.  Eggs per nest  2 - 3.  Incubation approx.  26 - 28 days.  Fledge approx. 12 - 13 weeks but can be more than 16 weeks.  Independent .. Usually by 20 weeks of age, but may be fed by the parents up to the start of the next breeding season.

One of the largest birds kept in captivity in Australia and, compared to other parrots, take a long time to fledge and become fully independent.

In the wild Hyacinth Macaws usually only successfully rear one young per clutch.

Adult birds can become aggressive at breeding season and may attack the keeper.  Nest boxes are best positioned so the nest inspection can be carried out from outside the aviary.  Nest inspection is best done when the adult birds are out of the nest.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues:  Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture

  • A/A Vol  2 No 2 Feb 1948 Page 13-15.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol  6 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1993 Page 546-548 (Hyacinth Macaw)
  • ABK Vol  1 Issue 3. 1988 Page 80-81 (Hyacinthine Macaw)

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