Illiger’s macaw is a small member of the macaw family. Their body is covered with green feathers across the back. The name of this species comes from the blue flight feathers on each wing. On the lower back and abdomen they are red. Just behind the beak is red patch of feathers on the crown and behind this is a blue patch.
Their tail is red at the base and blue across the rest of it. On the underside the tail is olive-yellow. This tail accounts for half of their body length.
The eye is orange. Around the eye is a bare patch of skin which is white. The small beak is black and curved. They have zyglodactyl feet which means two claws face forward and two face back allowing them to hold on to branches easier. The feet are colored a light pink and the claws are black.
An adult Illiger’s macaw will measure between 40.6 and 43cm (16-17in) and weigh 260-280g (9.2-9.9oz).
The Illiger’s macaw is a herbivore. Their diet is made up of fruits, seeds, flowers, nuts and berries.
A major portion of their diet is palm nuts which their strong beak allows them to break open.
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South America is the native home of the Illiger’s macaw. Here they can be found in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. There are portions of their range in which they are already believed to be extinct.
They make their home in evergreen, deciduous and galley forests along with savanna habitats. One of their most common habitats is palm groves which provide an abundance of food. There is some evidence that they can survive in areas which have become fragmented.
Breeding season varies by region. It typically takes place from December to February. Pairs are monogamous and remain together for life.
A nest is formed in a cavity or hollow in a tree. The preferred tree used for nesting by these birds is the caraibeira tree.
Following a successful mating the female will deposit between 2 and 4 eggs in to the nest hollow. She incubates the eggs for the nest 25-27 days. At hatching chicks weigh just 11g (0.4oz)
Eggs may be taken by mammals and snakes.
Both parents will care for the chicks once they hatch. It will take 11 weeks for them to fledge though they remain with their parents for a further year to learn the skills needed to survive in the forest.
Sexual maturity is reached at 2-4 years old.
They spend most of their time in a pair though will come together in small flocks as well.
These parrots are noisy and make a range of raucous calls. In captivity they may also learn to copy a few words from their owner.
Predators and Threats
Humans are a major threat to the Illiger’s macaw. These birds are taken for the illegal wildlife trade to be sold as pets.
They are also threatened through deforestation which has removed large parts of their habitat.
The last known wild spix macaw had paired up with an Illiger’s macaw and they produced a hybrid egg together.
A common problem identified in wild Illiger’s macaws is cataracts which impede the ability of aged individuals to find food.
They are also referred to as the blue winged macaw.
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2 – 2 – TJ Lin / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
BirdLife International. 2016. Primolius maracana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22685606A93081612. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22685606A93081612.en. Downloaded on 28 July 2020.
Bouglouan, N. 2020. Blue-Winged Macaw Or Illiger’S Macaw. [online] Available at: <http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-blue-winged-macaw.html> [Accessed 29 July 2020].
Trust, W., 2020. Blue-Winged Macaw (Primolius Maracana) | Parrot Encyclopedia. [online] Parrots.org. Available at: <https://www.parrots.org/encyclopedia/blue-winged-macaw> [Accessed 29 July 2020].
Seaworld.org. 2020. Illiger’s Macaw Facts And Information | Seaworld Parks & Entertainment. [online] Available at: <https://seaworld.org/animals/facts/birds/illigers-macaw/> [Accessed 29 July 2020].
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