Spix's Macaw
Spix macaw
Common Name Little blue macaw
Range Brazil
Estimated Population 50
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae
Genus Cyanopsitta

Bonaparte, 1854

Species C. spixii
Conservation Status
Extinct in the Wild
Spix's macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), also known as the little blue macaw, is a macaw native to Brazil. It is a member of Tribe Arini in the subfamily Arinae (Neotropical parrots), part of the family Psittacidae (the true parrots). It was first described by German naturalist Georg Marcgrave, when he was working in the State of Pernambuco, Brazil, in 1638 and it is named for German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix, who collected a specimen in 1819 on the bank of the Rio São Francisco in northeast Bahia in Brazil.


Spix's macaw is easy to identify being the only small blue macaw and also by the bare grey facial skin of its lores and eyerings. It is about 56 cm (22 in) long including tail length of 26–38 cm (10–15 in). It has a wing length of 24.7–30.0 cm (9.7–11.8 in). The external appearance of adult male and female are identical; however, the average weight of captive males is about 318 g (11.2 oz) and captive females average about 288 g (10.2 oz). Its plumage is grey-blue on the head, pale blue on the underparts, and vivid blue on the upperparts, wings and tail. The legs and feet are brownish-black. In adults the bare facial skin is grey, the beak is entirely dark grey, and the irises are yellow. Juveniles are similar to adults, but they have pale grey bare facial skin, brown irises, and a white stripe along the top-center of their beaks (along the culmen).


In the wild, the most common seeds and nuts consumed by Spix's were from Pinhão (Jatropha pohliana var. mollissima) and Favela (Cnidoscolus phyllacanthus). However these trees are colonizers, not native to the bird's habitat, so they could not have been historical staples of the diet.


  • The Spix's macaw is named after German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix.
  • The mating call of the Spix's macaw can be described as the sound "whichaka".
  • The last known Spix's macaw in the wild disappeared in 2000.
  • In the 2011 animated movie Rio, the lead characters of Blu and Jewel were Spix's macaws.
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