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Spix's Macaw: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The Spix's Macaw, if it survived and recovered, could inspire the world to see what was possiblethrough cooperation and determined efforts to save the earth's natural riches....
On June 3, 1817, Johann Baptist Ritter von Spix set sail for the New World on an expedition sponsored by the Bavarian Royal Academy of Sciences. What he found in Brazil's thorny caatinga woodl
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 16th 2004 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Clare O'Beara
Having visited Loro Parque, a wildlife park on Tenerife which makes a great effort to breed parrot species particularly (loro means parrot), I was pleased to get a look at this book with the history of the rarest parrot and its near relatives. The bright blue Spix's Macaw is described from its finding in Brazil through its collection, black market sales and the destruction of habitat.
When conservationists started to get seriously concerned it was perhaps too late as only a couple of birds were
Juliet Wilson
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
This is the story of the rarest bird in the world and the attempts to save it from extinction. It reads on one level as an exciting detective story with real twists and turns to grip the reader. On another level it is an incredibly sobering look at how we treat the natural world. The plans to build up a captive breeding programme for the bird have been beset by unco-operative private breeders, misfortune and slothful administration. The last wild Spix's macaw died after 19 years alone in its nat ...more
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This one surprised me. I delayed reading it about two years. My mistake.

Macaws seem so alien to me, so Jungle Jim, so Circus Boy, somehow it just didn't resonate. They’re nothing like the birds I see flitting around my East Tennessee home.

Author Juniper not only introduced me to the world of parrots but to the milieu of endangered bird collecting by uber wealthy men who long to possess something rare and almost unobtainable. A Spix’s macaw stolen from the wilds of Brazil sold for thousands tha
Cienna Lyon
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastically tragic book. Those of you who both love science and wildlife stories will whip through this book. The writing style is both complex scientific information as well as compelling storytelling. I loved the way the author wrote about these birds and the way they described the complex political situations surrounding them. This is NOT written like a magazine or newspaper. FINALLY!!! This book is also terribly tragic and there's really no glimmers of hope among any of the narratives. I ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating but tragic examination of the plight of the Spix Macaw, this is a moving, well-written book from Tony Jupiter.
I despair at the selfishness of some people, makes me sad.
When I'd finished the book - which was published 17 years ago - I looked online for an update. Although the Spix has been declared extinct in the wild, some progress has been made in captive breeding and protection of habitat, but they still haven't released any birds back into the wild.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting to a point but most interesting to someone who really likes parrots, and for those who do it just goes over too much basic information. The whole book suffers from too much filler. And the political point of the author, specifically his belief that you can trust a government to solve this problem, is sadly going to be historically one of the things that contributed to the extinction of this bird. Should have been about 50 pages less in the end - I skimmed the last 20.
Chris Cheatle
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eye-opening and depressing at the same time. Well told, you find yourself rooting for recovery of the species and disgusted at the outcomes.

Not sure if it is left out for legal or other reasons, but more information on what was going on with the studbook would have been appreciated.
Neil Crossley
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
An eye opener. Made me weep.
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
A solid book. A bit tedious at times but a good overview by a nonscientist on the history of a critically endangered species, how it got to that point, and what are some potential options for recovery. The epilogue is likely preaching to the choir as I imagine the audience is mainly people interested in conservation to some extent already, but it does a very good job of getting some of the roadblocks and frustrations of conservation work to a broader audience. I imagine that it will inspire some ...more
Dec 16, 2016 added it
Very interesting reading ...
David Ward
Spix's Macaw: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird by Tony Juniper (Atria Books 2004) (598.71). This volume focuses on the four types of blue parrots in the world, all of which are from Brazil: The Hyacinth Macaw (the largest parrot in the world at thirty-nine inches), the Glaucous Macaw, the Spix's Macaw, and the Lear's Macaw. In the 1980's the population of the Spix's Macaw fell below thirty birds. And most if not all of those birds were likely interrelated. This is the story of the attemp ...more
Daniel Hulmes
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: conservation
This is a really fascinating read that manages to be both depressing and inspiring. I had not been aware of the plight of the Spix's Macaw until reading this and couldn't believe that such a magnificent species could slide into extinction with most people completely ignorant of it.

With the book being published over 10 years ago, it would be great to find out how the story has developed since that time. From the little information I could find it would appear that the captive population has incr
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew nothing about the plight of this particular bird until I happened to upon this book in a bargain bin at BookPeople. It is rather astonishing to note that nothing has changed in the status of this bird since the completion of this book. Egotistical people are successfully stymieing any conservation attempt to re-establish a wild population. Interesting perspective on how development in third world countries is wrecking havoc on very critical habitat and rare species.
Tom Schulte
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came to this book interested about the mother-son smuggling ring I read that was arrested in connection with this and other rare fauna. However, I was really drawn into the book's larger, two-century tale of the discovery, decline and effective extinction of a beautiful and rare creature. It is amazing the detail unearthed on individual birds and individuals heroes and criminals.
Jun 01, 2007 rated it liked it
This is a book I started last summer and never finished. The writing is pretty unexciting, but the subject is right up my alley: saving a very endengered parrot species. If you like that kind of stuff and can stand blah writing, give it a try. I have no idea if there's a happy or sad ending.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I know I am saying another book is fantastic but this one is really great. Great though in a horribly tragic way. Such a sad story of human greed and cruelty, with major lessons in evolution, conservation and about the beautiful parrots themselves. So interesting and really well written.
May 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting read but also very sad...
Kourtnie McKenzie
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Very interesting story of a bird gone extinct. It puts endangered species into perspective.
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it
A short review for now: depressing.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction15
Informative and engaging throughout. Plenty to be sad about, but some slight rays of hope too.
Andrew Esposito
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Kori Crane
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Dec 29, 2010
Bobbi Faulkner
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Feb 20, 2017
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