Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis; previously Ara caninde)

The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis; previously Ara caninde), also known as Caninde Macaw or Wagler’s Macaw, is a macaw endemic to a small area of north-central Bolivia, known as Los Llanos de Moxos, this species is cultiral heritage of Bolivia , Recent population and range estimates suggests that about 350-400 individuals remain in the wild. The main causes of their demise is capture for the pet trade . It is currently considered critically endangeredand the parrot is protected by trading prohibitions.

The Blue-Throated Macaw is about 85 cm (33 in) long including the length of its tail feathers and has a wingspan of approximately three feet or 0.9 m. It weighs about 900 g (32 oz) to 1,100 g (39 oz). There is little easily observable sexual dimorphism; however, males tend to be a little bigger than females with approximate masses of 750 g and 950 g respectively.

Upperparts are turquoise-blue, slightly duller on crown and brighter on rump. Underparts largely bright yellow but the vent is pale blue. It has bare facial patch obscured by blue feather-lines merging into blue lower cheek and throat, separated from crown by narrow yellow stripe and bare pink skin around base of the large, black bill. On the face there is a sparsely feathered patch of skin near the base of the large dark-colored bill that has 5 or 6 horizontal stripes of blue feathers which are unique for every blue-throated macaw and can be used to individually identify adults.

The adults have yellow irises and the juveniles have brown irises. The eye color of a nestling is initially black and changes to brown soon after the eyes open. Between one and three years old, the eyes will turn grey, then white. As the macaw matures, the iris turns yellow and the amount of gold increases with age after 10 years. Elderly macaws show a ring of dark grey surrounding the pupil where the iris has become thinner and the back of the retina shows through. It can be separated from the slightly larger Blue-and-yellow Macaw by the blue (not black) throat, the blue (not green) crown and the lack of contrast between the remiges and upperwing coverts.

Blue-throated macaws are most frequently found in monogamous pairs, but small groups of 7-9 do occur and one large roosting group of 70 is known.[5] It is not known if these macaws will pair with another mate if their original mate dies. Their main mode of locomotion is flying, but they are also able to climb trees, maneuver along branches and walk on the ground. These birds are active during the day and usually stay in one general area. Blue-throated macaws communicate mostly by sound. When they suspect danger, they emit a very loud alarming call and promptly fly off. Blue-throated macaws are known to communicate with each other with quiet caws as well.

Blue-throated macaws do not eat seeds and nuts to the same extent as many other macaw species do. Instead, they eat primarily fruit from large palms. The palm species Attalea phalerata is the most predominant source, but they will also eat from Acrocomia aculeata and Mauritia fleuxosa. The macaws eat the mesocarp from ripe and nearly ripe fruit and have also been observed drinking the liquid from very immature fruit.

Blue-throated macaws usually breed once a year but if the eggs or nestlings are lost, they may produce a second clutch in the same breeding season. A clutch consists of one to three eggs and incubates for 26 days. Nestlings have a mass of approximately 18 g at hatching and fledge at 13 to 14 weeks. The young macaws are still fully dependent upon their parents for food after they fledge until they are capable of foraging by themselves. Even after this occurs, it has been observed that young blue-throated macaws will stay with their parents up to a year. During this time, the parents will skip an entire breeding season. Blue-throated macaws reach sexual maturity at about 5 years of age.

Blue-throated macaws usually nests in cavities of palm trees, most often Attalea phalerata, although it will nest in other palm species as well. Dead palms are the preferred nest as they are hollowed out by large grubs after the tree has died. Nesting pairs of Blue-throated macaws don’t consistently stay at one nest for consecutive breeding seasons and will usually search for different nesting sites every year. In the wild the Blue-throated Macaw often competes for nesting-holes in trees with the Blue-and-yellow Macaw,the Green-winged Macaw, the Scarlet Macaw, large woodpeckers, toco toucans, barn owls, bats, and bees.  The number of suitable nest trees has been reduced by land clearing in its range.

The Blue-throated Macaw lives in the savanna of the Beni Department of Bolivia, nesting in “Islas” (islands) of palm trees that dot the level plains. It is not a forest dwelling bird. This species is one of the rarest in the world, There are two areas inhabited by two sub-populations of Ara glaucogularis: one is to the northwest of Trinidad (the capital city of Beni), and the other is to the south of Trinidad. This complex landscape consists of grasslands, marshes, forest islands, and corridors of forests along waterways. They occur most often between the elevations of 200 and 300 m.


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Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis; previously Ara caninde)

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis; previously Ara caninde) pair and the offspring which is closest in the photo.

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