I was watching a nature documentary with my son the other day, and they had a section on endangered exotic birds.
He asked what it meant for something to be endangered, and I explained that it was about how many of them were left in the world.
They talked about hyacinth macaws, and how their conservation as a species is threatened.
He wondered how many of them were actually left in the whole world, so I decided to look into it.
So, how many hyacinth macaws are left in the world?
Estimates suggest there are around 6,500 individual hyacinth macaws left in the wild today. Estimates do vary, and a lowball figure suggests there could be as few as 2,000. The captive population is likely to be a lot higher, so the birds are not strictly endangered yet.
So, while their numbers have been worryingly reduced due to a variety of reasons, there is still time to save this beautiful species of parrot.
By protecting their habitats, and reducing illegal trade and trafficking of the species, we can help to boost their numbers and bring them back to their former glory.
Let’s look further into this.
Is the hyacinth macaw extinct?
No, the hyacinth macaw is not extinct.
Currently, it is classified as threatened under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species.
This means that it is under significant threat from population decline, but that it is not in immediate danger of going extinct.
In the wild, as I said, there are thought to be somewhere between 2,000 and 6,500 individuals still extant.
This means we can definitely still save them, and boost their numbers again.
Being extinct would also mean that there were no individuals living as pets.
Though they are a protected species in the wild, they are still bred by parrot owners throughout the world.
So, they are very much still around.
The exact numbers of domestic hyacinth macaws are very hard to calculate, so there may still be a very large number overall.
In any case, they are not currently extinct, and still very much have a foothold in the wild.
But are they endangered?
Is the hyacinth macaw endangered?
In the strictest sense of the word, no.
Again, we make these judgments via the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
In their directory of threatened species, they list the hyacinth macaw as threatened.
This is two steps down from ‘least concern’, and one from endangered.
So, at the moment, they are still pretty safe.
That said, they are in clear danger if current trends continue as they have been.
So, in that sense, they are endangered in a looser sense of the word.
Whatever happens with the wild population, it seems as though the likelihood of the domestic population dying out is quite low.
There is still huge demand for these incredible and beautiful birds, so they will likely continue to be bred in people’s homes.
The question you may have come to this article with, then, is whether you can get one for yourself—and where you can find it.
Let’s look at owning your own hyacinth macaw.
Where can I find a hyacinth macaw?
Well, first of all, let’s just clear up this question for anyone asking where you would find them in the wild.
Strictly for the viewing experience—take only pictures!
That said, they are an incredibly rare sight in the wild.
Your best chance is in central and eastern South America, in the wetlands of Brazil, eastern Bolivia, and north-eastern Paraguay.
In terms of one to buy for yourself, though, it depends.
The likelihood that there will be a breeder of hyacinth macaws near you is quite low.
They are exotic and difficult to handle birds, and so are only handled by the most experienced parrot owners.
Look for nearby breeders on the internet for your area.
Like I say, you will likely have to drive somewhere to find one, but it’s not impossible that you will find them.
The next question people have—how expensive are they?
How expensive is a hyacinth macaw?
A lot of factors are going to influence the cost of the bird.
For starters, though, as I’ve said, they’re very rare and difficult to handle, so be sure you know what you’re getting into.
They are not for the inexperienced.
You can expect to pay at least $5,000 for a hyacinth macaw, and potentially as high as $12,000.
The price will depend on the bird’s age as well as how well trained it is.
It will also depend on how easy it is to find them in your area.
I do just want to reiterate, though, how important it is that you have experience training parrots before taking on a hyacinth macaw.
Anyone can appreciate how beautiful these birds are, but they are a real handful if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Help protect these birds by not trading in them unthinkingly.
So, if you are considering a hyacinth macaw as a pet, then you should always think carefully about your decision.
They are a bit of a handful, to say the least, and the excessive demand for them as pets is part of what has driven their decline in wild numbers.
You need to be an experienced parrot owner to keep one, so make sure you realize exactly what you are getting into.
These birds need our help.