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Rare Parrots That Inspired “Rio” Feared Extinct

Spix's Macaw Rio

The 2011 animated film follows Blu and Jewel, one of the last pair of blue Macaws on an adventure to Rio de Janiero. Unfortunately, what was thought to be fiction is becoming a fact.

“Rio” was inspired by the rare species of parrots called the Spix’s Macaw endemic to South America. In a new study published by BirdLife International, the Spix’s Macaw is feared to be extinct in the wild among with 7 other species, which include the Cryptic Treehunter Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti and the Philydor novaesi, which are from north east Brazil and the Poo-uli Melamprosops phaeosoma, which is native to Hawaii. The Poo-uli Melamprosops phaeosoma was last seen in the wild in 2004.

“Five of the eight confirmed or suspected extinctions took place on the South American continent, four of them in Brazil, reflecting the devastating effects of the high rate of deforestation in this part of the world.”


Scientists are blaming human activity, specifically deforestation for the extinction, with five of the eight feared extinct from Brazil. Climate change and extreme weather also played a role as more and more species have lost their fight for survival.

There is still hope, however, as conservationists are able to breed some of the birds in captivity.

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