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BLUE-THROATED MACAW } Ara glaucogularis

RANGE: Bolivia

STATUS: The World Conservation Union lists the blue-throated macaw as Critically Endangered. It is listed in Appendix I of CITES as Threatened With Extinction.

THREATS: Trapping for the national and international cage-bird trade

The blue-throated macaw is glorious in flight. Its chatter and striking turquoise plumage grace forest islands in the seasonally flooded Beni Lowlands of Central Bolivia — lowlands that are a mosaic of seasonally inundated savannas, palm groves and forest islands. They offer up plenty of palm fruit, which the macaws love. Most often spotted flying in pairs, macaws are occasionally spotted in flocks of up to five birds. The species was unknown in the wild to biologists until 1992. Unfortunately, trappers discovered the blue-throated macaw before biologists did, and the result has been disastrous. Between the early 1980s and early 1990s, approximately 400 to 1,200 birds were exported from Bolivia, and many are now in captivity in the European Union and North America. Recent estimates indicate that there are only between 75 and 150 macaws remaining in the wild. The International Council for Bird Preservation petitioned to list this species as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1980.

Photo © Joseph Tobias