Abundance of the endangered Cape parrot, Poicephalus robustus, in South Africa: implications for its survival

Published in: African Zoology
Volume 40, issue 1, 2005 , pages: 15–24
DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2005.11407305
Author(s): Colleen T. DownsSchool of Botany and Zoology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Factors affecting the decline of the endangered Cape parrot, which is endemic to South Africa, are presented. Its abundance and status were investigated during annual intensive national surveys. The merits of such a census are reported. Presence of birds was unpredictable at forest patches throughout its range. Present distributions in forest fragments reflect past distribution in a larger mosaic of forest patches. Numbers are low and the best estimate of numbers is 300–350 birds in the Eastern Cape, 170–220 in KwaZulu-Natal, and 50–60 in Limpopo Province. This suggests less than 1000 Cape parrots remain in the wild. About 20% of the entire population of the Cape parrot resident within the forest mosaic of southern KwaZulu-Natal roosts in one particular forest, which consequently needs urgent conservation protection.

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