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Measuring up to 1m in length, the Hyacinth Macaw is the world’s largest parrot and is able to fly speeds of 35 miles per hour. It’s found in Brazil and feeds off native palms, such as the bocaiuva and acuri. The latter is so hard that it cannot be eaten until pre-digested by cattle.
The Hyacinth Mavaw can eat poisonous seeds and unripe fruit inedible to other species. This is thought to be possible because it swallows chunks of clay from river banks which help absorb the poisons. It is a messy eater and plays an important role as seed disperser. It mates for life and nests in holes in the mondavi tree, which it fills with sawdust. It only selects trees which are over 70 years old. It’s a sociable bird, and widow and widower macaws will seek the company of another pair.
The Hyacinth Macaw is endangered because of poaching and habitat loss. The forests in which it lives are being cleared for mechanised agriculture and cattle ranching. In the 1980’s, 10,000 were taken from the wild.