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The genus name is derived from the Ancient Greek kuanos meaning "blue" and psittakos meaning "parrot". Tribe Arini together with the short-tailed Amazon and allied parrots and a few miscellaneous genera make up subfamily Arinae of Neotropical parrots in family Psittacidae of true parrots.
Dutton, president of the Avicultural Society U. He recognized, as Spix had not years before, that C. The morphology-based taxonomy of C. In a molecular phylogenetic study of 69 parrot genera,  the clade diagrams indicate that C. However, not all of the macaw genera were represented in the study. The study also states that diversification of the Neotropical parrot lineages occurred starting 33 mya , a period roughly coinciding with the separation of South America from West Antarctica.
The author notes that the study challenges the classification of British ornithologist Nigel Collar in the encyclopedic Handbook of the Birds of the World , volume 4 Within the macaw clade, C. In adults the bare facial skin is grey, the beak is entirely dark grey, and the irises are yellow. Note white stripe along top of beak and pale-grey bare facial skin.
In the wild, mating involves elaborate courtship rituals, like feeding each other and flying together. They make their nests in the hollows of large mature Caraibeira trees, and reuse the nest year after year.
The breeding season is November to March, with most eggs hatching in January to coincide with the start of the Caatinga January to April rainy season. The chicks fledge in 70 days and are independent in — days. The sound is made by creating a low rumble in the abdomen bringing the sound up to a high pitch. It also makes squawking noises. The eldest bird in captivity died at age 34 years. This macaw lived in the hottest and driest part of the " Caatinga " within Caraiba, or Caribbean trumpet tree Tabebuia caraiba woodland galleries.
The Caraibeira constitutes a microclimate within the Caatinga. The character of the galleries is tall 8m evenly spaced Caraibeira trees, ten per hundred meters, interspersed with low scrub and desert cacti.
Fructus amat, Murucuia imprimis. Translation: "Brazilian parrot, bird very similar to Psittacus [ grey parrot ] but larger, the entire plumage is ashy-bluish, calls like a parrot. Fruit it loves, especially Passionfruit. What we now know about its habitat and probable range casts doubt on this observation  Reiser had also seen one in captivity at a railway station in Remanso.
These observations resulted in an early supposition of a vast potential range for the species in the dry interior of the northeast.
These actions barely affected the illicit bird trade, but Spix owners were forced underground consequently complicating the later effort to initiate a captive recovery program. In , Brazilian ornithologist Helmut Sick observed groups of three and four of the birds near Formosa do Rio Preta in northwest Bahia flying over buriti Palms Mauritia flexuosa.
Roth found only 5 birds in , three in , and only two after May A single male, paired with a female blue-winged macaw , was discovered at the site in The last wild male disappeared from the site in October ; his disappearance was thought to have marked the extinction of this species in the wild.
Centuries of deforestation , human encroachment and agricultural development along the Rio Sao Francisco corridor following European colonization of eastern Brazil preceded its precipitous decline in the latter part of the 20th century. Climate change resulting in desertification of significant parts of the Caatinga has permanently reduced the potential reclaimable habitat.