The Spix’s macaw is the most critically endangered bird in the world and is considered extinct in the wild, as the only known wild bird was last seen in 2000. It’s native to the Bahia area of Brazil (a semi-arid region in the northeast part of the country) and is the only member of the genus Cyanopsitta. The Spix’s macaw is a medium-sized, light blue parrot about the size of a severe macaw but with a shape more like a Patagonian conure.
There are currently only about 85 Spix’s macaws in captivity, 73 of which are part of a breeding program through the government of Brazil, in collaboration with the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar and Loro Parque in the Canary Islands. The Spix’s macaws are all hand-raised, which is the safest way to increase the number of Spix’s macaws, but there are no plans to introduce them back into the wild at this time.
Fun Facts: The Spix’s macaw was named after Johann Baptist von Spix, a German naturalist who discovered several species of animals, including the Spix’s macaw. The name of the genus, Cyanopsitta, translates to “blue parrot.”