Twycross Zoo

Twycross Zoo welcomes Critically Endangered red fronted macaws as part of conservation programme

Posted: 10th July, 2024

Leading conservation charity, Twycross Zoo, has today announced the arrival of two red-fronted macaws — one of the most endangered species of parrot in the world.

The pair recently arrived at Twycross Zoo from Edinburgh Zoo and Welsh Mountain Zoo thanks to a carefully curated move as part of a European zoo conservation programme, designed to help protect and preserve endangered species and support their wild counterparts.

Native to Bolivia, the red-fronted macaws are currently listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as its global population is continuing to decline, leaving less than 300 in the wild.

The move, which was carefully planned and recommended by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), marks an important milestone in the conservation of this species and in Twycross Zoo’s conservation efforts.

The macaws’ arrival at Twycross Zoo is of particular interest to Assistant Bird Curator, Rhys McKie, who previously worked at Edinburgh Zoo and was among the team that was there when the male macaw, hatched.

Rhys commented on the new arrivals, “It’s always an exciting day when a new animal arrives at the zoo but being reunited was a really special moment.

“When he hatched last year, it was the first time in over 15 years that the species had been successfully bred at the zoo. So, to now give him a home at Twycross Zoo where he will continue the conservation journey and hopefully breed more of this rare species, is very momentous for me.

“The species stands out for their bright red forehead of feathers and long blue-green tail. In the wild, these parrots can only be found in a small semi-desert, mountainous region of Bolivia, making them unique amongst macaws. In this arid climate, the birds feed on desert plants like cactus and are one of the main seed dispersers for the plant. I’m looking forward to our visitors getting the chance to see them and our other stunning parrot species in our parrot habitat.”

Dr Rebecca Biddle, Director of Conservation at Twycross Zoo, added: “I’m delighted to welcome a brand-new breeding pair to the zoo and I’m so proud to see Twycross Zoo leading the way for the conservation of this incredibly important species.

“Red-fronted macaws are among the most endangered species of parrot on the planet, so bringing this pair to Twycross to hopefully facilitate breeding further down the line, is a necessary and important step to save this species.”

Twycross Zoo contains 100 acres of outdoor space whilst meeting hundreds of animals from 70 different species — including giraffes, penguins, tigers, its four species of great ape and of course, plenty of birds.

Related Members