Bird of the Month March: Blue-throated Macaw

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(Photo: Oscar Yabeta)


March

 

Blue-throated Macaw

Scientific name: Ara glaucogularis

Spanish name: Paraba Barba Azul

Status: Critically Endangered (IUCN red list of endangered species)

Habitat and behaviour:

The Blue-throated Macaw is endemic to the Bolivian Beni savanna ecoregion, also known as Los Llanos de Moxos. This Macaw is Critically Endangered and only 250-300 individuals are expected to survive in the wild (2015, Armonia global population survey). It inhabits hyper-seasonal flooded savanna habitat, interspaced with Motacu dominated palm forest islands and gallery forest, which it uses to forage and roost. The species experienced severe population declines and local extirpation due to illegal pet trade and habitat loss.

Armonía identified three main conservation actions to protect the species

  1. Habitat protection: creating the private Barba Azul Nature Reserve
  2. Breeding habitat improvement: Artificial nest-box program
  3. Education: nationwide educational campaign to tackle poaching and promoting use of alternative feathers for traditional headdresses

Since 2008, Armonía has been protecting key roosting and feeding grounds of the largest wild Blue-throated Macaw population at Barba Azul Nature Reserve. Record-breaking sightings of 118 birds in 2016 suggests that the Blue-throated population is on the rise at Barba Azul.  Blue-throated Macaws are present at Barba Azul from May to November, but we can only suspect where the birds breed during the rainy season.

To answer this question, Armonía with support from American Bird Conservancy, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s CREW Conservation Fund, and Loro Parque Fundacion, kicked of the search for breeding grounds in February 2017 to the north of Barba Azul Nature Reserve. The succesfull expedition discovered four new Blue-throated nests. Two nests were found in dry royal palm snags flooded by recent rainfall and difficult to access. Two more were found in totaí palms at another location about 50 km northwest of the reserve. In that case, the birds chose locations 50 meters (164 feet) away from a populated farm.

Discovering where the macaws migrate to hatch and raise chicks is imperative, as it will allow scientists to gain a full understanding of the macaw’s entire life cycle and thus ensure full protection of the species.

Donate

Please help us to save the most threatened bird species of Bolivia. Our program urgently needs support to increase the size of the reserve, to fund rangers to protect it, and to build additional nestboxes.

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We thank our international partners and individual donors for supporting the Blue-throated Macaw program and Barba Azul Nature Reserve – we cannot save the species or empower our people without your generous support.

Discover more
Six thousand macaws saved by Armonía’s alternative feathers program
Video: Alternative feathers save macaws!
Read about the Barba Azul Nature Reserve
Read about the Blue-throated Macaw program
Birds of the Month

 

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