The Cuban macaw was a species of macaw native to Cuba and Isla de la Juventud. It was thought to have been closely related to the scarlet macaw. It became rare by the mid-19th century due to pressure from hunting, trade, and habitat destruction. Many individuals were brought to Europe as cagebirds, and 19 museum skins exist today.
About Cuban macaw in brief
The Cuban macaw was a species of macaw native to Cuba and Isla de la Juventud. It was thought to have been closely related to the scarlet macaw. DNA study found that it was the sister species of two red and two green species of extant macaws. It had a red, orange, yellow, and white head, and a red,. orange, green, brown, and blue body. The species’ original distribution on Cuba is unknown, but it may have been restricted to the central and western parts of the island. It became rare by the mid-19th century due to pressure from hunting, trade, and habitat destruction. Many individuals were brought to Europe as cagebirds, and 19 museum skins exist today. No modern skeletal remains of this macaw are known, but three subfossil specimens have been discovered. Macaws are known to have lived on the Caribbean islands, but many are now extinct. As many as 13 now-extinct species of Macaw have been suggested to have existed, but these were based on various old descriptions or drawings. Only three Caribbean macaw species are known from physical remains: the Cuban Macaw, the Saint Croix macaw, and the Lesser Antillean macaw which is only known from sub-fossils, and which is known only from prehistoric times by Paleo-americans, and prehistoric natives in South America and the Caribbean. The last reliable accounts of the species are from the 1850s on Cuba and 1864 on IslaDeLaJuventud, but may have persisted until 1885.
Some of the preserved specimens are known in captivity in zoos or as cagebird. The single specimen at World Museum, National Museums Liverpool died in Edward Smith-Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby’s aviaries at Knowsley Hall in 1846. There are no records of its eggs, and there is no evidence that the species ever nested in hollow trees or fed on seeds and fruits. It may also have been identical, or identical, to the hypothetical Jamaican red macaw and may have lived in the same area of Cuba as it did in the 15th and 16th century. It is thought that some of the last individuals that regularly fed near the Zapata Swamp in 1849–50 lived in pairs or families, and fed on fruits and seeds. It has no holotype, so it is unknown which specimen this was, and as it is not known which specimen it was, the species has no Holotype. There is no record of it laying eggs, but there are reports that it had red lesser wing covert feathers, but the significance of this is unclear. It lived in open terrain with scattered trees, and inhabited open terrain and hollow trees. It died out in the late 19th century because of habitat destruction and hunting by Europeans, Native Americans, and Native Americans and Europeans in the Caribbean and South America in the 1500s and 1600s.