Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

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The world’s biggest flying parrot is the beautiful Hyacinth Macaw, a bluish-purple macaw with yellow around their eyes and mouth. I say “flying parrot” because the ground-bound Kakapo can sometimes weigh the same or a bit more. However, the Hyacinth also is perceived as bigger due to its extremely long tail feathers. Their beauty has been their saving grace and their curse, as the pet trade has taken a heavy toll on their numbers. Their natural habitat is Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. However, they are now considered an endangered species and captive breeding programs in the US are trying to raise their numbers. Quite a few foundations for their preservation exist as well.

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A captive-born Hyacinth Macaw can easily set you back $9,000-$12,000, making it one of the most expensive birds around. Add to that their size (over 40 inches long) makes this bird not the best choice for a companion bird; this huge bird would require a very large, specially made cage as they can easily disassemble the welded bars of normal cages. These Macaws usually only have one chick a year, which stays in the nest about 6 months. Hyacinth Macaws are not sexually mature until about 7 years of age.


  1. #1 kemibe
    March 30, 2007

    Three and a quarter feet long? To the tip of the tail, I assume?

    The idea of keeping one of these Kong birds captive doesn’t really seem right. I suppose someone willing and able to dedicate a room the size of a small gymnasium to it would make a good host, but nothing that large with wings belongs in a small enclosure.

  2. #2 386sx
    March 31, 2007

    A captive-born Hyacinth Macaw can easily set you back $9,000-$12,000, making it one of the most expensive birds around.

    Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks paid $25,000 for a bird once.

  3. #3 Lab Lemming
    March 31, 2007

    40 inches? That’s a meter. And I thought black cokatoos were big…

  4. #4 Randy
    March 31, 2007

    While this overview of the Hyacinth Macaw was very interesting, I want to also thank you for introducing me to the Kakapo. I “Googled” when I saw your brief mention of it, and it is also a fascinating bird. Also, the story of the efforts to rescue it from the brink of extinction is captivating.


  5. #5 Gareth
    March 31, 2007

    The Kakapo is one of the endangered animals I cover at my Another Chance To See site. Fabulous birds.

  6. #6 Jason
    July 20, 2007

    Most Expensive Birds ?? I Could Of Swore I Recall That The Black Palm Cockatoo Was The Most Expensive On The Market & As I Recall Was Estimated Around $35,000. I May Be Wrong However , But Could Of Swore.

  7. #7 Andrew
    October 7, 2007

    beautiful pics! There are some hy’s at the St Louis Zoo. I’ve got some pics of them… ^_^

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