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The Blue-headed Macaw

Blue-headed Macaw (Order Psittaciformes : Family Psittacidae : Primolius couloni)

I went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago’s Lincoln Park yesterday (22 Mar 2018). The museum is part of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. They had an exhibit about the birds-of-paradise and, even though this bird belongs to the parrot family, they had it on display. (There was also another bird which will be the subject of an upcoming post.)

First, a little background. The bird is a Blue-headed Macaw, a name given to it for obvious reasons. (It is also known as the Coulon’s Macaw for reasons that are not so obvious. That name is in honor of Swiss naturalist Paul Louis Coulon. The Blue-headed Macaw is not as large as some of the others such as the Scarlet Macaw or the African Gray Macaw. It is about 16 inches (41 cm) long. It is mainly green but with a blue head, with some other colors scattered around.

The bird comes from the southwestern part of the Amazon and the parts of the Andean foothill forests adjacent to to it. It prefers humid regions along rivers but can also be found in clearings.

Although once considered common, sadly the population is decreasing. It is believed that there are between 1,000 and 2,500 of the birds left in the wild. They were added to the endangered list in the IUCN Red Book of 2007.

When I was taking the photos the bird was very cooperative. It was on a branch near the glass wall of its enclosure and almost seemed to be curious about what I was doing. Eventually it started moving around making it difficult to keep it in focus. I’d swear it was doing it on purpose.

All of the photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix P7700 camera.

All photos and text are © 2018 Gary J. Sibio. All rights reserved.

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Written by Gary J Sibio

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