83.
Spix’s Macaw
(Cyanopsitta spixii)
CR (PEW)
Overview
The Spix’s macaw is a Critically Endangered parrot that is believed to be extinct in the wild. The last known individual was last sighted in 2000. The devastating decline of the species has been put down to the loss of its primary woodland habitat in northern Brazil along with the illegal trapping of wild birds of the pet trade.
Urgent Conservation Actions
Spix’s macaws have been protected under national and international law for many years. There is a captive population (80 individuals in 2012) held in Qatar and Tenerife with a carefully managed captive breeding programme. There has been a decade of coordinated habitat restoration and community based conservation work that is hoped to allow for future reintroductions of the species.
Distribution
North Bahia, Brazil
Fact
In 1990 a single wild male paired with a female Blue-winged Macaw and attempted to reproduce but were unsuccessful.
Media from ARKive
Arkive video - Spix's macaw - physical appearance
Arkive image - Spix's macaw in tree, the last known wild individual
Arkive video - Captive Spix's macaws
Arkive image - Introduced Spix's macaw female perched in tree
Arkive video - Spix's macaws in aviary
Arkive image - Introduced Spix's macaw  female perched in tree
Arkive image - Introduced Spix's macaw female perched in tree
Arkive video - Captive Spix's macaw feeding
Arkive video - Spix's macaw in flight
Arkive image - Introduced Spix's macaw female in flight
Arkive image - Spix's macaw
Arkive video - Last wild male Spix's macaw in habitat
Arkive video - Spix's macaw enclosure in habitat, used for rehabilitation
Arkive video - Spix's macaws allopreening
Evolutionary Distinctiveness
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Originally listed as part of the genus Ara, genetic data has since indicated that C. spixii should be recognized as a separate species. This follows the reclassification of Primolius and Orthopsittaca as distinct genus. It sits within the order Psittaciformes (parrots). 

 
The tree below shows the evolutionary relationships between this species and all other birds. The colours of the tree indicate EDGE scores with the red shades indicating the higher priority species; the bright red leaves correspond to the top 100 EDGE bird species. Further information on every species can be found by zooming in to its leaf on the tree.
Description
Size: 
55-57cm in length
Weight: 280g-346g
The Spix's Macaw is medium in size, compared to other parrots. The plumage is predominantly blue, but appears darker on the upperparts, wings and the long, graduated tail. The underside of the body and tail is a grayish blue and is less vivid than the plumage on the back. The head is a grayish-blue and the naked skin around the eyes is a dark grey. The sharp, hooked bill is grey black and the eyes are yellow. Juveniles tend to be darker, with shorter tails.
Ecology
This macaw inhabits gallery woodland and nests in the Caribbean trumpet tree. It feeds predominantly on two specific (Euphorbiaceae) plants. Pairs will breed during the summer months and typically lay 2-3 eggs. It makes a clear cra-á cra-á cra-á noise when calling.
Habitat
Tallest and densest trees, only few in gallery formations. Only the biggest trees provide holes that are large enough for the Spix Macaw. Appears to nest primarily in Caribbean trumpet trees.
Distribution
This species is endemic to Brazil, but is now presumed to be extinct in the wild. The last individual in the wild was discovered in 1990 and disappeared in October 2000. The whole population is now captive and in the hands of private collectors scattered across the globe.
Population Estimate
0-50
Population Trend
Declining
Status
Critically Endangered (Presumed Extinct in the Wild)
Threats
The decline of this species is due to the loss of its natural gallery habitat due to decades of exploitation in the Bahia region of Brazil. This loss of habitat was exacerbated by the trapping of individuals for the live bird trade. A number of other factors such as the colonization of the region by African bees and building of hydroelectric dams may have played a role in this species decline.

 
Conservation Underway
Currently there are thought to be approximately 90 individuals in captivity across the world. At least 80 of these are held in Qatar or Tenerife where they are part of a managed captive breeding programme. This is coordinated by the Working Group for the Recovery of the Spix’s Macaw who are planning future reintroductions of the species. A number of conservation organisations and consortiums have purchased land in the species natural range with the goal of providing valuable habitat for a future wild population.
Conservation Proposed
Identify suitable release site. Protect and improve existing habitat and establish an onsite re-introduction facility.
Links
References
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Cyanopsitta spixii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/03/2013.

Caparroz, R.; Miyaki, C. Y.; Bampi, M. I.; Wajntal, A. 2001. Analysis of the genetic variability in a sample of the remaining group of Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii, Psittaciformes: Aves) by DNA fingerprinting. Biological Conservation 99: 307-311.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Reinschmidt, M. 2004. Another sensational hatching of Spix's Macaw at Loro Parque. AFA Watchbird: 28.

Schischakin, N. 2000. Conservation spotlight: the Spix's Macaw. Endangered Species Update 17: 44-6

Snyder, N.; McGowan, P.; Gilardi, J.; Grajal, A. 2000. Parrots: status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Acknowledgements
Text compiled by Michelle Harrison.

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