GNF - Registration of rare Macaw Species

Census and protection of rare Macaw species


The census of the different Hyacinth Macaw populations (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) and the possible occurrence of Glaucos Macaw in the Pantanal World Heritage site (Brazil) serve as the basis for conservation measures respectively for the re-introduction of Macaw species, which are occurring or originally found in the protection areas of Poenha, Doroché and Acurizal.


The Hyacinth Macaw is 100 cm long and the largest macaw and parrot species in the world. According to present knowledge, this macaw species is only found in the Doroché reserve in the Pantanal wetland. Outside of the reserve some of the very rare and endangered macaws have been observed sporadically on agriculturally used areas as well as in the Uberaba lake region. Currently, the Hyacinth Macaw population is estimated at about 3,000 individuals. The Hyacinth Macaws live in small flocks in riparian forests, open and swampy woodland habitats. They feed mainly on nuts and fruits of the Acuri (Scheelea phalerata) and Bocaiuva palm trees (Acrocomia aculeata). During the months of July until September, macaw pairs which are monogamous and mate for life are looking for existing tree holes to nest in.


A fauna survey, carried out in the scope of the management programme of the Pantanal National Park, showed that until the 1980ties Hyacinth Macaws were found in the Acurizal reserve. Illegal poaching and habitat destruction in this reserve due tointense cattle ranching are the reasons for the almost complete disappearance of this species. In 1996, a Macaw feather was found there – the last sign of this unique Macaw species in this region!  


Today, the Acurizal Reserve is in a good ecological condition and best suited for the re-introduction of the Hyacinth Macaw. Since the cessation of cattle breeding ten years, ago a large acuri palm tree area developed, also Bocaiúva palm trees are native to this region. As both palm tree species are the most important food source of the Macaws, the Pantanal National Park management programme recommends the re-introduction of the Hyacinth Macaw in the north-eastern region of the park and in the neighbouring Acurizal Reserve. 


Census of the Macaw population and of the possibly here still living Glaucos Macaw, carried out during the rainy and dry season, will provide data on their geographical distribution. Additionally, monitoring as well as interrogations of natives are carried out. The places where Macaws are found are recorded using GPS coordinates. Also forages crops, vegetation and nesting sites are being considered.


The Pantanal Wetland comprises a total area of 140,000 sq. km. and is shared between three countries: Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. It is world’s largest inland wetland and due to its high animal and plant diversity, the Pantanal is also called South-America’s “Garden of Eden”. Besides 1,700 plant species, 665 bird, 265 fish species and 123 different mammals, among them Yaguar and Ozelot, have been scientifically recorded. This biodiversity is threatened by large scale deforestation, monocultures (oil palm trees, cotton, soy bean), intensive cattle ranching as well as gold and diamond mining, which are held responsible for the important changes in this region, originally characterized by Savannahs, tropical forests, rivers, swamps and lakes. In 2000, the Pantanal National Park as well as some private nature reserves were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


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More information about the Pantanal Wetland can be found at our webpage.

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 Hyazinth Macaw in its nesting hole
 Young Hyaznth Macaw in the nesting hole
 Acuri tree palm with fruits

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Census and protection of rare Macaw species in the Pantanal Wetland, Brazil


February 2010 – March 2011




Ursula Merz Foundation