Macaws are icons of Central and South America, dominating the skies with their stunning colours of blues, greens, reds and golds. They feature some of the most endangered and rarest breeds in the world with the Hyacinth Macaw being one of the most expensive and highly sort after breeds out there.
Macaw is a broad term used to describe and categorise a group of parrots specific to the Americas these birds often exhibiting long tails and bright colours, they are seen to embody the spirit of Central and South America.
A beautiful example of the rich colours and subtle gradient that these birds can have in their feathers (left).
Macaws had enormous significance in Mesoamerican history. For more than two millennia the birds were bred and traded between tribes and their feathers were used in important tribal rituals. In Mayan, Inca and Aztec cultures, macaws were seen as being representatives of the sun gods. The bird’s feathers were frequently used in headdresses, armour and other attire and decoration, they were even mimicked using other materials as a tribute to the birds.
To the Ancient Aztecs, Macaws were a central part of their creation myths even the Ancient God of life, lord of the winds and the day and guardian of the West, Quetzalcoatl was believed to share the features of macaws such as a feathered colourful plumage and a beaked face. The Ancient Aztecs believed that humanity was descended from Quetzalcoatl and paid tribute by decorating themselves with feathers. Today, Macaws are still revered in Mexico and many other South American countries being seen as signs of good fortune as some species have been hunted nearly to extinction over the past hundred years such as the Spix Macaw which is now extinct in the wild. It is only with recent conservation effort that many of the birds have returned back, this itself has been seen as quite symbolic to the people of the regions where this has happened such as Palenque when the Scarlet macaw being locally extinct for almost a century.
A pair of Blue and Gold Macaws, the breed is a sexually monomorphic species meaning that both male and female bear the iconic plumage as opposed to the male usually only showing it (right).
Macaws are the second most intelligent parrots and one of the smartest types of birds in the world being able to feel things like jealousy and love and are very good at reading human emotions. They are also known to have incredibly good creative, logical and predictive thinking these are all things that can make it challenging if one is a first-time bird owner. As iconic as Macaws are, they are known to be tricky as pets because of their keen intelligence, need for large enclosures and their tendency to be bitey in the initial stages. However, once you earn their trust Macaws are known to actually be quite loving, loyal creatures similar to dogs except with wings. What’s more, is that they can live between 60 to 80 years.
Among their collection of Macaws, Lladró’s Dazzle Macaw reinterprets what we traditionally expect of these birds with minimalistic black and white lines instead of their trademark bright colours. This piece is inspired by the Blue and Gold Macaws. The piece uses the Dazzle camouflage technique to distort and play with its shape. Read more about the Dazzle Collection.
Lladró’s Macaw Bird Vase, with two micron, 18 karat gold lustre and a glittery matt finish. It comes in two variants: green-blue (left), and red-green (right).
In addition to the Dazzle Macaw, Lladró has created the Macaw Vase, the piece is inspired by the Southern Mealy Parrot of Mexico, this new addition featuring a macaw with gilded beak and claws shows the exquisite treatment of the bird not to mention the subtle but effective iridescent tinge to its wings adds to the wealth of detail and give it a refined, minimalist look whilst still being a showstopper. The exquisite treatment of the bird and the wealth of detail of its feathering is combined with a simple, refined vase. Furthermore, while the bird is decorated with a range of blue and metallic, iridescent green colours, the vase itself is in matt white porcelain delicately grooved with glazed geometric lines. Macaw bird vase is not just functional and decorative but is also a call to protect these wonderful, colourful and amusing birds which are threatened with extinction.
These birds are a staple of the Americas from their vibrant colours, to the cacophony of noise and squawks they fill the trees and skies with. Lladró aims to bring attention to the plight they face from deforestation and trapping by celebrating their unique form and glorious colours that they bring to the world.