Audubon Nature Institute is proud of our newest feathered friend, a female hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) that hatched at Audubon Zoo on July 8, 2015. “Princess Bananapants” can now be seen from the Zoo train as it makes it way from the carousel to the Swamp Depot.
The chick’s mother hatched at Audubon Zoo in 1989 but the father is from Oklahoma City Zoo and moved to our Zoo in 2003. Audubon Zoo Bird Department staff is hand-raising the little chick as the parents are inexperienced and unable to care for it. This involves 24-hour care by professional staff until the chick is old enough to make her public debut at the Zoo.
Hyacinth macaws are native to central and eastern South America and are listed as “vulnerable” by IUCN. Their dwindling population is a result of illegal pet trade activity, and habitat loss and fragmentation. However, protective measures have increased and the population in the wild is slowly stabilizing.
Hyacinth macaws are known for their brilliant blue coloration and can live 50 years or longer. “As beautiful and smart as they are, macaws in general do not make good pets. They can be noisy and destructive. They are also very long-lived. When people have macaws as pets, they need to consider the long term welfare of a bird that may very well outlive them. These highly social birds develop strong pair bonds, and if people can’t make that long term commitment, the birds suffer,” said Audubon Zoo Curator of Birds Carolyn Atherton. “At the Zoo, we go to great lengths to make sure our group is socialized and healthy.”