The Spix’s Macaw, or Little Blue Macaw, is a large blue Brazilian parrot. It was first described by German naturalist Georg Marcgrave in 1638 and named after Johann Baptist von Spix who, in 1819, collected a specimen in Brazil.
They are critically endangered, possibly extinct in the wild. The last known wild specimen vanished in 2000. The species is conserved through a captive breeding program under the auspices of the Brazilian government.
The decline of Spix’s Macaw is attributed to two factors. First, long-term destruction of the specific woodland habitat on which the species depended. Secondly, the illegal live bird trade. In addition, the introducion of aggressive African bees, and the building of the Sobradinho hydroelectric dam above Juazeiro may have contributed to the decline of Spix’s Macaw in the 1970s and 1980s.
As of May, 2012 there are approximately 96 Spix’s Macaws in captivity. 80 of these are participating in an international breeding program managed by the Institute Chico Mendes of Biodiversity Conservation, Brazil.