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Anodorhynchus glaucus - Glaucous Macaw (RMNH 110.103)
RMNH 110.103
Anodorhynchus glaucus - Glaucous Macaw (RMNH 110.114)
RMNH 110.114

Psittacidae (Parrots)

Glaucous Macaw Anodorhynchus glaucus (Vieillot, 1816)

  • RMNH 110.103: adult. Rio de la Plata.
  • RMNH 110.114: skeleton. Brazil. Obtained through: Ter Meer, 1865.

Searching without result
In 1989 the Brazilian ornithologist Antonio Silva published a monograph on endangered parrots, in which he argued that some Glaucous Macaws still survived. His evidence is not very persuasive. Several birds were supposed to be in stock with traders, but their whereabouts were unknown, so that the identity could not be checked. A sighting by a trapper in southern Brazil was unconfirmed. Still, Silva claimed he knew a site where a small population lived. Of course the location was kept secret.

Despite these claims, the Glaucous Macaw is generally considered to be extinct. The last reliable sightings date from around 1960. The species occurred in the border area of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay and probably also in northwestern Uruguay. It was mainly recorded along river banks, but this is probably due to the fact that most naturalists travelled through the interior by boat. Most likely the species also inhabited wooded savannas. It seemed to have declined in the course of the 19th century, even before its habitat was affected by settlers. Some believe that natural causes rather than human influence brought about the extinction. Others point out that the area has changed dramatically over the last century as a result of land reclamation, and that these changes must have had a detrimental effect on the macaws. Extensive searches by ornithologists in Paraguay in the late 1970s remained without result, nor were there any reports by traders, even though they were well aware of the tremendous amount of money they could receive for a live Glaucous Macaw.

Museum specimens
Naturalis possesses one skin of this beautiful parrot, which was collected on the Rio de la Plata. A skeleton from Brazil was collected in 1865 by Hermanus Hendricus ter Meer, who, like his father before him, was senior taxidermist at the museum.

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