Brazilian blue parrot makes a comeback: report

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:46pm EDT

A 2003 file photo of a Lear's Macaw, courtesy of Parrots International. A spectacular Brazilian blue parrot, the Lear's Macaw, has come back from the brink of extinction with more than 750 birds in the wild counted in a recent survey, wildlife conservationists said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Mark Stafford/www.parrotsinternational.com/Handout

A 2003 file photo of a Lear's Macaw, courtesy of Parrots International. A spectacular Brazilian blue parrot, the Lear's Macaw, has come back from the brink of extinction with more than 750 birds in the wild counted in a recent survey, wildlife conservationists said on Wednesday.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Stafford/www.parrotsinternational.com/Handout

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A spectacular Brazilian blue parrot, the Lear's Macaw, has come back from the brink of extinction with more than 750 birds in the wild counted in a recent survey, wildlife conservationists said on Wednesday.

That is more than 10 times the number reported in the wild in the late 1980s, according to the American Bird Conservancy, which attributed the creature's comeback to protection of its natural habitat in the state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil.

The macaw has brilliant blue feathers with yellow patches around its beak and eyes. It nests on sandstone cliffs and feeds primarily on licuri palm nuts, the conservancy said in a statement.

Conservationists counted the number of macaws in June as the birds flew from the canyons where they roost to the feeding grounds. They found 751 Lear's Macaws. The global population of this species was just 70 birds in 1987; in 2003 it was 455, and until the June count, the estimated population was 600.

The species is currently threatened by hunting and the illegal pet trade, the conservation group said.

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