Jurong Bird Park now home to world's rarest blue macaws

Jurong Bird Park now home to world's rarest blue macaws

It is now the only zoological park in the world to exhibit all three existing species of the blue macaw family.

The endangered Lear’s macaw (left) and the critically endangered Spix’s macaw are now housed at Jurong Bird Park. (Photos: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)

SINGAPORE: The Jurong Bird Park is now home to the two rarest blue macaw species, making it the only zoological park in the world to exhibit all three existing species of the blue macaw family. 

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), the parent group of Jurong Bird Park, said in a press release on Friday (Nov 3) that the park received one Spix’s macaw and two Lear’s macaws each from the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar and the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots in Germany.

Visitors can see the birds, which are on 10-year loans, at Jurong Bird Park's Parrot Paradise exhibit from Nov 22, according to WRS. 

Both the Spix's and Lear's macaw are native to Brazil, and their debut in Jurong Bird Park will mark the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Singapore, WRS said.

The critically endangered Spix’s macaw, also known as the little blue macaw, is the inspiration behind the Rio movie series. The bird is believed to be extinct in the wild, with the last confirmed sighting in 2005. 

There are just over 150 Spix's macaws under human care worldwide, WRS said. 

There are an estimated 1,300 Lear's macaws - listed as an endangered species - in the wild. They can be identified by the yellow teardrop-shaped marking near their beaks.

The Jurong Bird Park currently houses the hyacinth macaw, a vulnerable species, while the last member of the blue macaw family, the glaucous macaw, has not been sighted since the 1960s and is believed to be extinct. 

The park is a member of the Spix's Macaw Working Group, which signed an agreement last year aiming to reintroduce the species into the wild by 2021. 

Jurong Bird Park, which committed to provide support in establishing a breeding and release facility in Brazil, has been playing an active role in the implementation of the conservation strategy for these species since then, WRS said. 

In preparation for the arrival of the rare blue macaws, the park sent animal care staff to the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots to learn about care and husbandry for the birds, it added. 

Senior avian veterinarian Dr Xie Shangzhe listening to the Lear’s macaw’s heartbeat during a health check, assisted by veterinary nurse Marcus Tan. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)

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