Cape Parrot Project
Peer-reviewed academic articles:
Carstens, J.C. 2016. Courtship displays and mating behaviour of a pair of Cape Parrots in the Hogsback area, South Africa. Bioidiversity Observations 7.72:1-2. http://oo.adu.org.za/content.php?id=265
Regnard, G.L., Boyes, R.S., Martin, R.O., Hitzeroth, I.I., Rybicki, E.P. 2015. Beak and feather disease viruses circulating in Cape parrots (Poicepahlus robustus) in South Africa. Archives of virology 160 (1), 47-54. doi: 10.1007/s00705-014-2226-9
Regnard, G.L., Boyes, R.S., Martin, R.O., Hitzeroth, I.I., Rybicki, E.P. 2015. Beak and feather disease virus: correlation between viral load and clinical signs in wild Cape parrots (Poicepahlus robustus) in South Africa. Archives of virology 160 (1), 339-344. doi:10.1007/s00705-014-2225-x
Published newspaper, magazine & web articles
The Cape Parrot Project has been active in the Amathole region of the Eastern Cape since 2009. This region is one of the strongholds for the Cape parrot, and a large proportion of their population occurs here. Besides working on community involvement and awareness, reforestation and the removing of non-indigenous plants, the Project also investigates the general biology of the Cape parrot such as their population size, daily movement, feeding activity, and nesting behaviour.
South Africa’s Cape Parrot “grew up” throughout history on the fruits of yellowwood trees. Not only did the vast majority of their food come from these trees, but the 200+ year old giants also provided community. They where roost, nest, watering hole and playground.
One more bird saved from disease… One more place to call home… With less than 1,000 adult Cape parrots left in the wild, Dr Steve Boyes has to make conservation count. From rehabilitating parrots with a devastating disease to building nest sites in their increasingly degraded natural habitat, he puts his heart and soul into an otherwise scientific enterprise.
The National Geographic-funded Cape Parrot Project was launched in 2009 to support CONSERVATION ACTION for Africa’s most endangered parrot and one of South Africa’s most endangered birds. Ongoing research over the last 15-20 years has established that Cape parrots were previously dependent on yellowwood trees for nesting and roosting sites, as well as 99% of their food requirements. The parrots even used to drink water from the “Old Man’s Beard” or treemoss that hung from the giant branches and aerial gardens of the ancient, emergent yellowwood trees that used to dominate the Afromontane forests of South Africa.
The Cape Parrot is one of the most endangered bird species in South Africa with less than 1,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Most of the remaining wild population are infected by and dying from a Pssitacine Beak and Feather Disease epidemic that erupts during early winter each year. Early cold snaps and mild droughts escalate this problem with devastating effects on population levels.
Many are aware of the plight of the African Grey parrots of central and western Africa, but few know about that of the continent’s most endangered parrot: the Cape Parrot of South Africa. Today, there are less than 1,000 of these gorgeous birds remaining in the wild, and they are classified as ‘critically endangered’ by the South African government.
In the Amatola Mountains in the Eastern Cape, Cape parrots are as iconic as the giant yellowwood trees they feed on and nest in. But as Mike Burgess reports, initial fears of a deadly viral disease that had apparently infected Cape parrot populations in the area in 2008 and 2009, is now being confirmed by parrot expert Dr Steve Boyes, who believes the disease can wipe out South Africa’s only endemic parrot.
– Farmers Weekly Magazine
Over the last two weeks five dying Cape Parrots have been handed in to the SPCA King William’s Town or directly to staff of the Cape Parrot Project. SPCA workers say that they suspect that double the number of Cape Parrots are not being reported.
– Sowetan Newspaper
The iziKhwenene Project is a small project in the Eastern Cape with huge intentions to plant South Africa’s national tree to save the national parrot. Cape Parrots – known as iziKhwenene in isiXhosa – are one of the most endangered bird species in South Africa, and the most endangered parrot species in Africa. The project uses the parrots as an icon to help conserve the degraded mountain mist-belt forest in the Amathole Mountains where the birds nest and feed.
– Mail & Guardian Newspaper
Endemic to South Africa, the Cape parrot, or Poicephalus robustus, lives in the Afromontane yellowwood forests found mainly in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Over the last 50-100 years the population has decreased dramatically. They are considered critically endangered. Only 1600 remain in the wild. In other words, you have more chance of sighting a white rhino, in South Africa, than you do a Cape parrot.
We have been fascinated by parrots, their colors, characters and voices for thousands of years. As with most wild parrots, the story of the Cape Parrot of South Africa, is a tale of people.
In one fleeting glance I could see more parrots flying in a single flock than I’d seen cumulatively throughout the rest of my entire life. There are 80 Cape parrots in the photo, of around 120 airborne at the time. From a distance their areal manoeuvers seemed erratic, through binoculars I appreciated what skilled acrobatic aviators they are. The airborne parrots landed in an orchard and joined another 90 or so of their comrades. Seeing so many Cape parrots could give the false impression they are common, I was actually witness, at that moment, to almost a quarter of the entire wild global population.
That’s right! South Africa is home to one of the most endangered birds in Africa – the Cape Parrot or Poicephalus robustus. This rare green and gold parrot inhabits pockets of forest in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Southern Africa is actually home to 5 different parrot species: the Grey Headed Parrot, Meyer’s Parrot, Brown Headed Parrot, Ruppell’s Parrot and the Cape Parrot. The Cape Parrot, however, is South Africa’s only endemic parrot and this feathery fellow’s future is hanging in the balance.
To save the only parrot endemic to South Africa, local communities are planting trees critical to the iconic bird’s survival. National Geographic featured the plight of the South Africa’s Cape parrot and the concerted efforts of both international explorers and indigent people to save it from extinction. The green and gold CapeParrot is one of the most endangered parrots in the world with only an estimated 800 to 1,000 individuals left in the wild. Among increasing pet trade and susceptibility to disease, its gradually decreasing habitat of yellowwood forest is one of the greatest threats to the survival of the unique bird.
Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa’s wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on Meyer’s Parrot, Steve is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, and a director of Africa Geographic Holdings, World Parrot Trust Africa, and Wild Bird Trust. This work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa’s endemic and highly endangered Cape Parrot. Based in Hogsback in the Eastern Cape, Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action.
Cape Parrots, which are endemic to South Africa are facing threats from deforestation, climate change, a rapidly spreading virus and their diet which largely consists of the fruit of one particular tree.
Dr Steve Boyes lives the ultimate boy’s adventure, When he’s not raising awareness about (and poling through) Botswana’s Okavango Delta, he’s working hands-on to save the seriously threatened Cape Parrot.
A large green parrot with a yellow-brown head, the Cape parrot could be mistaken for a green and gold springbok supporter. These parrots however, live in evergreen forests far from rugby stadia. But these days they are making fewer and fewer appearances in general and fast becoming the most endangered parrots in the world. These birds only occur in South Africa and due to increasing development and declining
One more bird saved from disease. One more place to call home. With less than 1,000 adult Cape parrots left in the wild, Steve Boyes has to make conservation count. From personally rehabilitating birds with a devastating disease to building nest sites in their increasingly degraded natural habitat, he puts his heart and soul into an otherwise scientific enterprise. These colorful parrots are one of the world’s most endangered species, but Boyes hopes they can bounce back with the help of a team of scientists and volunteers.
Four endangered Cape Parrots (Poicephalus robustus) released back into the wild after an intensive 5-month rehabilitation process. The 4 ill and starving birds were at death’s door when they were found by members of the public and handed in to the Cape Parrot Project. Africa Geographic directors Simon Espley and Steve Boyes were at the release. All 4 parrots have been seen since the release and are doing well.
Interview with John Maytham in June 2010 about the current status of wild Cape Parrots and the recent outbreak of Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD). Footage was taken over 12 months, some of which will be used in an upcoming documentary.