Matomo-Image-Tracker Psittaciformes - Cyanopsitta


Spix's Macaw - Cyanopsitta Spixii - Critically Endangered - Functionally Extinct

A genus with one species. The Spix's macaw, Cyanopsitta spixii, also known as the little blue macaw, is a macaw native to Brazil. It is a member of Tribe Arini in the subfamily Arinae (Neotropical parrots), part of the family Psittacidae (the true parrots). It was first described by German naturalist Georg Marcgrave, when he was working in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil, in 1638 and it is named for German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix, who collected a specimen in 1819 on the bank of the Rio São Francisco in northeast Bahia in Brazil.

The bird was already rare by the time of Spix's discovery of it in 1819 following 100 years of intensive burning, logging and grazing of the caatinga. Centuries of deforestation, human encroachment and agricultural development along the Rio Sao Francisco corridor following European colonization of eastern Brazil preceded its precipitous decline in the latter part of the 20th century. Naturalists surveying its known remaining native habitat in the Curaçá region have estimated that it could have supported no more than about 60 birds at any time in the last 100 years. Contributing factors were the anthropic introduction of invasive and predatory species of black rats, feral cats, mongooses and marmoset monkeys which prey on the eggs and young, and goats, sheep and cattle which destroy the regenerative growth of the woodland trees, particularly the Caraibeira seedlings.

An analysis in 2018 based on threats, time since last known confirmed records, and patterns of bird extinction suggested that the bird is functionally extinct in the wild. The estimated captive population is less than 200 birds. There are plans to introduce a small group back into the wild in the hope of establishing a wild population. .

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Page last updated: 12/24/23

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