Blu the Spix's Macaw

5:14 PM

Well I'm a little late on this one, but a few weeks ago I finally saw the movie Rio! For those of you who don't know Rio is animated movie (from the creators of "Ice Age") about the rare Spix's Macaw. Spix's Macaws are a critically endangered parrot so rare that most experts believe the entire population now exists only in captivity. The current population as of 2010 is 85 birds, all of them in captive.

The main character Blu (voice by Jesse Eisenberg), a Spix's Macaw, grew up in a cage in the United States with his owner Linda. The story follows Blu as he travels with Linda from the United States to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to meet a female Spix's Macaw, Jewel (voice by Anne Hathaway). Along the way Blu gets in a variety of situations and meets many different birds and other animals which accompany him on his journey.

I personally really liked how as a birder I could identify most of the birds in the film. From the Brazilian Cardinal, Saffron Finch, Red-Legged Honeycreeper, Roseate Spoonbill to the Summer Tanager, this movie has lots of recognizable birds. It was also nice to see an underlying conservation message bringing awareness about bird smuggling. However, the movie was lacking specific information about the Spix's Macaw. Some discussion or perhaps a write up at the end of the movie about the Spix's Macaw would have been the icing on the cake...perhaps this will be a special feature on the DVD?

Overall this movie was very entertaining and funny (even for adults) and definitively deserves the praise received from critics. The actors/musicians in this movie are all A-listers including: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Will.I.Am, Jamie Foxx and Tracey Morgan, to name a few. In addition to the great story, incredible animation and the excellent cast, the music and atmosphere of the movie really captures the feeling of Brazil and makes you want to dance!

I recommend if you are a birdwatcher, conservationist, love birds or have any small children in your family go see this movie! It is a must. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Here are some previews and photos from the movie and of real life Spix's Macaws.

Official Trailer

Sneak Peak at Rio, first 2 minutes.

Movie poster for Rio.

Another movie poster for Rio.

Photo of the last known wild Spix's Macaw nest (Photo from: Parrots International webpage).

Captive Spix's Macaw (Photo from:

If you have seen Rio let me know what you thought!

Good Birding!

~ Kristen Martyn

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