Spix's Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii Scientific name definitions

Christopher J. Sharpe, Guy M. Kirwan, Nigel Collar, and Peter F. D. Boesman
Version: 2.1 — Published June 27, 2022


Field Identification

Spix's Macaw is similar to other members of the genus Anodorhynchus in shape and in its generally blue color, but this species is much smaller, pale-headed, and rather paler below; the tail is strongly graduated and significantly longer than often illustrated (1).

Similar Species

Blue-winged Macaw (Primolius maracana) is the only other macaw reported within the extremely limited range of the Spix's Macaw, and the two are unlikely to be confused if seen well. Unlike Spix's Macaw, the Blue-winged Macaw is largely green with a blue crown, a subtle red forehead, a red belly, blue flight feathers, and white skin on the face around the eyes and the dark bill.

Another blue macaw, the Indigo Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), also occurs in the Caatinga biome; however, it is distributed further east, breeds in cliffs (not holes in trees), and is also considerably larger, with a large patch of bare yellow facial skin, and overall deeper blue plumage, marked by no gray elements.

Recommended Citation

Sharpe, C. J., G. M. Kirwan, N. Collar, and P. F. D. Boesman (2022). Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), version 2.1. In Birds of the World (G. M. Kirwan, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.spimac1.02.1