Last Updated on March 5, 2023 by Ali Shahid
Blue-headed macaw or Coulon’s macaw is a rare South American macaw characterized by the stunning blue color on its head. As a member of the mini-macaw group that includes Illeger’s macaw and Yellow Collared macaw, it measures about 41 cm (16 in).
An owner can enjoy years of companionship and love with the blue-headed macaw’s small size, vibrant colors, and affectionate personality. Get a thorough understanding of how to keep and care for blue-headed macaws.
Origin and History of Blue-Headed Macaw
Blue-Headed Macaws inhabit the Amazon forests of Bolivia and Peru. For decades, the “Luminous Path” terrorist group controlled its habitat in Peru, making this bird relatively unknown.
These groups have disappeared, which has led to a better understanding of the species and its classification as an endangered species. Several reasons have been driving concern about the Blue-headed Macaw’s status in the wild in recent years.
The species are rare in aviculture, so trapping them makes more sense. During the next three generations, it is expected that the population of the species will decline by approximately 30% due to hunting and/or trapping.
According to current estimates, there are approximately 9,200 to 46, 000 individuals in the wild. In addition, its numbers vary according to food availability, making it difficult to estimate population density.
A blue-headed macaw measures 41 centimeters (16 inches) in length. The bird’s plumage is primarily green (sometimes tinged with olive below) with blue feathers on the head, flight feathers, and primary coverts.
Generally, the upper tail is maroon at the base, green in the center, and blue at the tip. There is greenish-yellow coloration on the undertail and underwing, similar to that on several other small macaws (such as red-bellied macaws and golden-collared macaws).
This medium-sized bird has a greyish-horn bill with a black base. In this species, the iris is whitish with a thin, usually barely visible maroon ring around the pupil. As opposed to most other macaws, this species has dark greyish facial skin.
As for the legs, they are pink. Adults and juveniles are similar in appearance, but juveniles have black bills, gray legs, darker iris, and white facial skin.
Similarly to other macaws, the blue-headed macaw is an affectionate and social bird that can be kept and handled easily. In many cases, these birds develop a strong attachment to their owners and become excellent companions.
Although exotic birds can be extremely entertaining, they can also be time-consuming and expensive to maintain. The blue-headed macaw requires a great deal of playtime, socialization, and frequent veterinary visits in addition to the proper provision of environmental enrichment.
Speech & Vocalizations
While in flight, the blue-headed macaw makes a quiet, purring sound. However, when at rest, macaws make soft nasal noises, squawks, and shrieks.
Even though it is sometimes noisy and rowdy, this bird is less aggressive than the commonly seen blue-winged macaw.
Generally, macaws are considered a moderately noisy species. There are some individuals who may attempt to mimic the sounds of humans or the environment.
It is unknown how the species reproduces in the wild, though nests are possible in bamboo cavities and tree cavities. In captivity, reproduction occurs approximately annually with clutch sizes usually ranging from two to four.
Blue-Headed Macaw Caring
The blue-headed macaw is a hardy bird and is a good choice for a beginner bird keeper. Depending on their size, they can reach a height of 16 inches. In order to prevent escape, cages must have many branches, vines, water basins, and secure locks.
The bottom of the cage can be filled with coconut husks, bark, wood shavings, or puppy pads to absorb urine. In order to reduce stress, keep your cage out of direct sunlight and high-traffic areas.
Normally, blue-headed macaws live in groups of up to fifty individuals. Having a companion or two in a large cage or aviary may be beneficial to a macaw in captivity.
Keeping a few birds together requires providing them with their own space and avoiding territorial behavior. If you want to bring home a blue-headed macaw, ensure that you have the time to handle, exercise, and enrich your bird.
The cage must also be cleaned regularly, and food and water must be provided. Ideally, fresh water should be added twice daily to the water basin. Nail trimming and wing trimming are also necessary for birds.
These birds eat a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, and green foods. There are also likely to be insects in the mix, particularly if the young are being raised.
Furthermore, they feed on mineral-rich clay licks. By using this clay, the body can be protected from natural toxins derived from food consumption.
Captive birds can be provided with a good quality seed mix. The availability of fresh fruits, vegetables, and green food should also be provided, along with a few pine nuts.
Furthermore, minerals should be supplemented – primarily calcium – prior to and during the breeding season. Chicks need soft food such as egg food or half-ripe maize while being raised.
Generally, blue-headed macaws are a hardy species. However, your bird must have an examination from a qualified avian veterinarian every six months. During the exam, your veterinarian will check for bacterial or parasitic infections and vaccinate against common diseases. Here are some of the common health problems of blue headed macaws:
- Avian Gastric Yeast
- Proventricular Dilatation syndrome
- Nutritional Deficiencies
Population Number and Conservation
A review by BirdLife International in 2006 indicated that the blue-throated macaw population is declining, with an estimated population of 1000 to 2500 individuals. The 2007 Red List of the IUCN has therefore upgraded it to endangered status.
Tobias & Brightsmith suggest that previous estimates were too low, with actual numbers of 9200-46000 mature individuals. Therefore, it has been suggested that this species should be classified as vulnerable.
While most of the forest in its range is intact, habitat loss may pose a threat, at least to a local level. The capture of wild birds for the purpose of trade poses a serious threat to their survival.
Due to its rarity in captivity, prices are high at US$12,500, but they have declined in recent years to as low as $1500-4000.
From Where you can Get a Blue-Headed Macaw
A blue-headed macaw can be purchased from a breeder, pet store, or rescue organization. Due to its rarity, this macaw can cost anywhere from $1500 to $4000. It is possible that the price of a bird will differ depending on its gender, age, appearance, and health.
Blue-headed macaws are adopted through bird adoption and rescue organizations. Often outliving their owners, birds end up in a rescue center due to their long life expectancy of 50 years or more. When you buy or adopt a bird, make sure it gets a veterinary checkup and is quarantined.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.