Website for AfricaSkyBlue Wildlife Research Foundation

    The Cape Parrot is South Africa’s only endemic
    parrot, and there is a high probability that they will
    disappear before most South African even knew
    about them. Over the last 50–100 years, a
    combination of habitat loss, disease, direct
    persecution and illegal capture has decimated the
    global population to between 1,000 and 1,500
    (Downs 2009). Parrots have the largest number of
    threatened species of any bird family, whereby over
We need your help and we need it now...
First ever photograph of Cape Parrot feeding in the high canopy on yellowwood
fruit. We were perched on the edge of a cliff above one of the last-remaining
Podocarpus groves in the Hogsback area...
Study area of the Cape Parrot Project - Amathole mountain range extending from Hogsback to Stutterheim.
Cape Parrot resting during the heat of the day.
Photographer: Rodnick Biljon
Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) feeding on Commiphora woodii fruits in the Amathole region, Eastern Cape
Photographer: Rodnick Biljon
Cape Parrot with a
broken wing after
flying into a powerline.
This great
long-distance aviator
will never fly free

    Hockey, P.A.R., Dean, W.R.J. and Ryan P.G. (Eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of
    southern Africa (7th Edition). The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book
    Fund, Cape Town.

    The Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) is recognised as an independent species from their
    two closest congeners, the Grey-headed Parrot (P. fuscicollis suahelicus) in east and central
    Africa, and the Brown-necked Parrot (P. fuscicollis fuscicollis) along the east coast. We are in
    the process of gaining them the international recognition necessary for inclusion in CITES
    Appendix I.
Cape Parrot with advanced symptoms in Psittacene Beak
and Feather Disease (PBFD) in Hogsback Village.
Photographer: Graham Russell
Another Cape Parrot with PBFD symptoms.
Photographer: Rodnick Biljon
Cape Parrot eating photographer's apples in Hogsback.
Photographer: Graham Russell
90 of the 332 recognized parrot species in the world are threatened by
global extinction. Around 73 of these species threatened by global
extinction have habitat loss, fragmentation or degradation as factors
influencing their threat status, while 39 are under pressure from
capture and nest poaching for the wild-caught bird trade (Juniper and
Parr 1998). The Cape Parrot falls in with the 28 parrot species
affected by both pressures.

The primary aim of the Cape Parrot Project is to mitigate all current
extinction threats (i.e. continued logging, disease and illegal trade)
though community-based conservation initiatives (e.g. nest box
construction and tree planting schemes) and collaboration with local
government (e.g. on law enforcement) and other NGOs, all informed
by high-quality scientific investigation and technical support. We aim to
capture more than 100 Cape Parrots (representing 10–15% of the
global population) to take blood for disease testing, screening body
condition, and DNA-archiving (for illegal trade prosecutions and
taxonomy). Captured parrots will be individually-marked and
photographed for identification in subsequent sightings, recaptures
and nest observations. Up to 40 Cape Parrots will be mounted with
radio telemetry backpacks, and subsequently tracked both from the
ground and from the air. Supported by the telemetry work, we will
conduct the most in-depth study of the feeding ecology and breeding
biology of Cape Parrots ever undertaken. We will also undertake the
most comprehensive inventory of the Afromontane forest patches
along the Amathole mountain range, including an analysis of the
fruiting phenology and relative abundance of key food resources (e.g.
Podocarpus fruits). Low-altitude, high-definition aerial photographs
and 72 forest transects in targeted forest patches will be used to
develop rapid, aerial, forest assessment techniques to monitor the
impacts of climate change and further human disturbance. Nest boxes
and playback of vocalizations will be tested as conservation tools. To
kick start forest rehabilitation and solve the problem of no dead
yellowwood trees to nest in, we will be establishing a community-based
yellowwood planting scheme and nest box project in the Aukland
Beautiful Cape Parrot feeding on apples in Hogsback Village.
Photographer: Graham Russell
Volunteer using radio telemetry.
Updated:  3/04/2010
Administrator:  Dr. Steve Boyes  BScFor (NatCon) MEnvDev(PAM) PhD Zoology
DST/NRF Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow: Percy FitzPatrick Institute
University of Cape Town, South Africa