Lear’s Macaw vs. Hyacinth Macaw

Written by Crystal
Published: October 2, 2022
© A-Z-Animals.com
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Dawn breaks, and three male macaws take off, searching for a feeding site. They find the perfect spot (one with plenty of nuts), check for danger, and signal it’s safe. In seconds, a loud flock of 30 colorful macaws begins to swoop into the palm trees. Loud squawks of delight fill the forest air. It’s nut-eating time!

Almost all the macaw species love nuts, but they also have a lot of intriguing differences. Keep reading to understand Lear’s macaw vs. hyacinth macaw in-depth.

Comparing: Lear’s Macaw vs. Hyacinth Macaw

Lear’s MacawHyacinth Macaw
DistributionSouth America
South America
Mating habitsBreed every year
Lays one to two eggs
Both chicks usually survive
Female leaves nest briefly for food
Doesn’t breed every year
Lays one to two eggs
Only one chick survives
Male brings female meals
Ecological threatsIllegal bird trade
Livestock grazing
Illegal bird trade
Habitat loss

The Key Differences Between Lear’s Macaw and Hyacinth Macaw

The key differences between Lear’s macaw and hyacinth macaw are their distribution, mating habits, and ecological threats.

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One of the biggest similarities they share is their love of eating nuts! Lear’s macaws and hyacinth macaws are experts at cracking open the toughest nuts and leisurely dining on them in the shade. Both birds live in Brazil, but hyacinth macaws have a wider range.

Lear’s macaws seem to be one step ahead of the game when it comes to mating habits. Both of their chicks survive and reach independence at three months and sexual maturity in four years.

Hyacinth macaws usually only have one chick survive. The chick takes six months to reach independence and reaches sexual maturity in seven to 10 years.

Both birds are facing ecological threats, causing their numbers to decline. But the good news is there are still thousands of them out there. Keep reading to fully understand the differences between Lear’s macaw and hyacinth macaw.

Lear’s Macaw vs. Hyacinth Macaw: Distribution

Lear's macaw
Lear’s macaws inhabit a tiny region in Bahia, a northeastern Brazilian state.


Lear’s macaws don’t have a wide distribution range. They only inhabit a tiny region in Bahia, a northeastern Brazilian state. There are two colonies where they occur; Serra Branch and Toca Velha. You can find these beautiful birds flying around dry thorny forest habitats called caatingas. When it’s time to breed, they go further into sandstone cliffs and outcrops.

Hyacinth macaws have three areas they inhabit. You can find hyacinth macaws in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. You can find most of the hyacinth macaws in the Pantanal. They prefer a neotropical climate. There’s a healthy population of hyacinth macaws in the tropical savanna region of Brazil. You can also find plenty of hyacinth macaws flying around the Amazon Basin. They enjoy hanging out in palm swamps. It’s unusual to find Hyacinth flying in an overly dense forest; they like semi-open spaces.

Lear’s Macaw vs. Hyacinth Macaw: Mating Habits

two hyacinth macaws
Hyacinth macaws are monogamous.

©Charles Bergman/Shutterstock.com

When Lear’s macaws find a partner, they have a mate for life. Lear’s macaws are monogamous. Right between February and April is when breeding takes place. They’ll build their nest high up on the face of a cliff.

Female Lear’s macaws lay one to two eggs that incubate for 28 days. The female might leave for a brief period to eat but must return quickly to provide warmth. As night falls, both parents can be found in the nesting area.

Baby Lear’s macaws are called chicks. The chicks reach independence at three months of age. However, they won’t reach sexual maturity until two to four. After leaving the nest, independent chicks continue to get food from their parents as they mature.

Hyacinth macaws are also monogamous, but they don’t breed every year. When they do breed, hyacinth macaws produce one brood per season. They like to breed between July through December since it’s the end of the rainy season.

Hyacinth macaws also use cliff faces as nesting spots. They also lay one to two eggs, but days apart. This is called asynchronous hatching; it may be a way to ensure the specie’s survival.

The female hyacinth macaw incubates the eggs for a month. The male brings all of her meals to her. Even though they lay two eggs, only one adorable chick survives.

The surviving chick will fledge around four months but stay with the parents until six months. Hyacinth chicks aren’t sexually mature until seven to 10 years of age.

Lear’s Macaw vs. Hyacinth Macaw: Diet

Blue Macaw eating
Hyacinth macaws have very strong beaks.

©Reto Buehler/Shutterstock.com

Lear’s macaws are herbivores because they eat a diet consisting of plants. One of Lear’s macaws’ favorite foods is the hard nuts from the licuri palm. They also enjoy ripe and unripe vegetables, berries, and fruits. Farmers have to watch out for these hungry birds. If a crop is available, Lear’s macaw will check it out.

Lear’s macaws and hyacinth macaws shared a few fun eating habits. They seek out some of the hardest nuts to crack. They’re almost always successful, thanks to their strong beaks and expert skills. Not only that, but they even know how to make things more comfortable. These intelligent birds carry their nuts into the shade. Under the comfort of the trees, they’ll eat large clusters of 10-130 nuts in a sitting.

Hyacinth macaws are also herbivores. They love feeding on native Brazilian nuts, tree fruits, and various seeds.

Lear’s Macaw vs. Hyacinth Macaw: Ecological Threats

Poachers looking to sell Lear’s macaws on the black market are a major threat to their population. The species is also dealing with issues surrounding their food source. Recent livestock grazing is significantly reducing the amount of licuri palm, which is the Lear’s macaw’s favorite thing to eat. Hyacinth macaws are dealing with habitat loss and poachers as well. Even though their numbers are decreasing, thousands of macaws are still in the wild.

Lear’s Macaw vs. Hyacinth Macaw: Future Outlook

Lear’s and hyacinth macaws are sometimes called gentle giants. The nickname is thanks to their impressive size and sweet demeanor. As the word continues to spread about how beneficial these gentle giants are, anything’s possible for their future.

For instance, did you know Lear’s macaws and hyacinth macaws help make woodland areas healthier? They eat so many seeds and nuts and act as forest gardeners, just like elephants!

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Lear's Macaw vs Hyacinth Macaw
Lear's Macaw vs Hyacinth Macaw
© A-Z-Animals.com

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About the Author

Crystal is a curious writer who's always looking to learn more. When she's not out in nature, she's writing about it. Animals, plants, survival tips, and more. It'll be exciting to watch this author grow and learn with her along the way.

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