Hyacinth macaw

A Brief Excerpt on the Hyacinthine Macaw from 
Naturalist on the Amazons
 by Henry Walter Bates 1863

(Editor's note: obviously not a close observation) 

One of the men volunteered to walk with us into the forest, and show us a few cedar-trees. We passed through a mile or two of spiny thickets, and at length came upon the banks of the rivulet Trocari, which flows over a stony bed, and, about a mile above its mouth falls over a ledge of rocks, thus forming a very pretty cascade. In the neighbourhood, we found a number of specimens of a curious land-shell, a large flat Helix, with a labyrinthine mouth (Anastoma). We learnt afterwards that it was a species which had been discovered a few years previously by Dr. Gardner, the botanist, on the upper part of the Tocantins. 

At Patos we stayed three days. In the woods, we found a number of conspicuous insects new to us. Three species of Pieris were the most remarkable. We afterwards learnt that they occurred also in Venezuela and in the south of Brazil; but they are quite unknown in the alluvial plains of the Amazons. We saw, for the first time, the splendid Hyacinthine macaw (Macrocercus hyacinthinus, Lath., the Araruna of the natives), one of the finest and rarest species of the Parrot family. It only occurs in the interior of Brazil, from 16 S. lat. to the southern border of the Amazons valley. It is three feet long from the beak to the tip of the tail, and is entirely of a soft hyacinthine blue colour, except round the eyes, where the skin is naked and white (?). It flies in pairs, and feeds on the hard nuts of several palms, but especially of the Mueujá (Acrocomia lasiospatha). These nuts, which are so hard as to be difficult to break with a heavy hammer, are crushed to a pulp by the powerful beak of this macaw.


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