Lears Macaw

Lear's Macaw

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Lear's macaw, indigo macaw
Psittacidae (true parrots)
Genus Species
Anodorhynchus (toothless beak) leari

Fast Facts

The Lear's macaw is a large parrot and possesses a bright blue plumage. They have yellow rings around their large black eyes. The breast is greenish blue and they have a yellow chin. The underside of the wings and tail is black. These birds have a strongly hooked beak and zygodactylous feet (2 toes that point forward and 2 toes that point backward).
Adults can reach a length up to 90 cm (3 ft.).
These birds can weigh up to 940 g (2 lbs.).
These birds forage in trees and on the ground, largely for Licurí palm nuts. Some individuals may eat up to 350 nuts a day. They are also known to feed on agave flowers and maize.
Approximately 29 days
Clutch Size
2 to 3 eggs
Fledging Duration
The chicks fledge at 4 months and will remain with their parents for up to a year.
Sexual Maturity
2 to 4 years
Life Span
30 to 50 years or more
This species can be found in two distinct colonies in northeast Bahia, Brazil.
These subtropical to tropical birds can be found in arid shrublands and savannahs with sandstone cliffs and large stands of Licurí palms. They are normally found at elevations of 4,000 to 8,000 meters (13,000 to 26,000 ft.).
The most recent population estimate is over 1,200 birds. Although the population is growing and this figure is likely to include a large proportion of sub-adults, the total number of mature individuals is around 230 birds.
IUCN: Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
USFWS: Critcally Endangered

Fun Facts

The Lear's Macaw is named after Edward Lear, a 19th century artist who was famous for painting macaws.

These birds were exported to Europe as early as the 19th century. Originally, scientists thought this bird was a hyacinth or glaucous macaw, or at least a hybrid of the two. It was not until 1978 that Helmut Sick determined it to be a distinct species.

These birds form monogamous pair bonds.

In the wild, macaws often flock to clay deposits known as "macaw licks."

When disturbed, these bright birds screech loudly and circle overhead with their long tails streaming.

Macaws are playful and inquisitive and are able to mimic human vocalizations.

Macaws are extremely messy eaters. Their strong beaks are perfectly adapted for extracting hard nuts and seeds.

Macaws are able to fly at speeds of up to 56 kph (35 mph).

Ecology and Conservation

While feeding, these birds may drop seeds to the forest floor, helping to regenerate the forest.

These birds may be locally harvested for food and collected for the illegal pet trade.

Licurí palm-stands formerly covered 250,000 km2 (96,500 square miles) but have been vastly reduced by livestock-grazing.

Birds are occasionally persecuted for foraging on maize crops when palm nuts are scarce.

The U.S. Wild Bird Act forbids the commercial import of any bird listed by CITES as endangered or threatened, including most parrots.


Forshaw, J.M. Parrots of the World. New Jersey. T.F.H. Publications Inc. 1978.

Marrison, C. and A. Greensmith. Birds of the World. New York: Dorling Kindersley, Inc. 1993. 

Perrins, C. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Publications. 1985.



BirdLife International 2017. Anodorhynchus leari (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22685521A119259023. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T22685521A119259023.en. Downloaded on 19 November 2019.