I know that a lot of people are against creating hybrids especially in the bird world, primarily macaws. Many people will tell you that birds do not breed outside their own genus in the wild. This is simply not true. In fact, there was once a thread in the Birding Forum that referred to two different genus of cranes breeding. We have seen the results of some beautiful macaws as a result of hybrids.
Is it detrimental to the purity of bloodlines? Or, could it in fact strengthen the species? As a habitat of individual species of macaws is diminished there are fewer macaws, more inbreeding will occur, less of a gene pool; weakening the genetics of the species?
Two common hybrids are harlequin (blue & gold macaw and green-winged macaw) and Catalina (result of a scarlet macaw and blue and gold). There are several more hybrids; one not as familiar primarily because of the price of a hyacinth macaw; Caloshua macaw (combination of a blue and gold macaw and hyacinth macaw). The hybrids make me think of an artist’s palette.
Catalina Macaw enjoying a bath. Photo courtesy of Cedar Hills Birds
The fact remains that these birds do breed in the wild, while it is not real common, it does happen. You don’t see many hybrids flying around though, and one reason could be because of the unnatural vibrant color combinations that standout to predators.
It is interesting on the wee trek across Panama from ocean to ocean the number of parrots you see. It is interesting, even though they have such brilliant colors; it still harmonizes with natures colors. Just one hybrid species does not blend in as well; you really would have to see it to understand.
One logical argument against breeding two species of macaws to produce a hybrid is the fact that the regions in which the macaws’ inhabitant the land is disappearing at an alarming rate as are the macaws. The disagreement being is that the bloodlines must remain pure especially captive bred macaws, since the wild population of these magnificent birds is in jeopardy. Each bird that is pure has valuable genetic coding.
Let’s imagine for a moment, and pray this never occurs. However, at the rate humans are destroying millions of acres of land, this hypothetical hypothesis could occur. That the entire population of wild macaws becomes extinct. The only remaining macaws are in captivity. If there is no remaining pure bloodlines the individual species of macaws could never be reproduced.
At one time the geographic boundaries of various species of macaws were pretty clear cut. But, as the lands that these macaws inhabit disappear, the boundaries are less clear cut; if not altogether encroached.
Look at the number of species of macaws, and other parrots that frequent the mineral rich clay deposits in Peru. There are at least six individual species of macaws seen on the cliffs. So, they do inhabit the same areas.
Macaws don’t simply reproduce they form strong bonds. The same argument could apply to hand-fed baby birds. They are very difficult to breed. They have already bonded. No matter what the argument, any person that keeps a bird in captivity is not playing by naturally occurring rules that nature has set.
The realism that humankind has already intervened in nature makes it a good possibility that there will be no suitable land to start the pure blood lines over again. The probability that the beautiful blue spix’s macaw is extinct in the wild, the spix’s macaw was trapped, poached, hunted, destruction of their habitat, every single one of the causes of the macaw’s destruction was because of humankind. Man also hybridized the African bee that also helped the Spix’s demise. Extinction means – gone FOREVER!
What are your thoughts on hybrids? Why are you for and why are you against hybrids? You have read the article have you decided if I was for or against? Please post your opinions in the forum. Link after article.
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The Parrot Problem Solver