The Breeding biology of the Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15641/abb.v2i.1181

Keywords:

breeding, Cape Parrot, conservation, nests, South Africa

Abstract

The Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus is endemic to South Africa where it typically occurs in high-altitude Mistbelt forests. They are listed as Vulnerable internationally with habitat loss being the primary threat to the species. They nest in natural tree hollows in large forest hardwoods which were the target of historical, exploitative harvesting, and which continue to be harvested legally but on a smaller scale. The breeding biology of the species has been described for the central population, but not yet for the southern population, in the Eastern Cape province, where the stronghold of the population resides. There, few nest sites have been located, and the study of the breeding behaviour and biology is a key knowledge gap in the species in need of conservation. This study aims to characterise natural nesting sites in the Eastern Cape, describe breeding behaviour and investigate breeding success during 2017–2021. A total of 43 nesting sites were located of which 20 were occupied. No pairs attempted breeding in 2019 and breeding success was estimated to be 58%. As found in other parts of the range, Cape Parrots in the study area nest in existing hollows predominantly in large, mature, yellowwood Afrocarpus falcatus trees. Parrots also nest in exotic species. They showed no preference for nest orientation and nested as close as 69 m away from their nearest neighbour. Most nest cavities were inaccessible by field researchers and could only be monitored from the ground, but new methods were found that facilitated the inspection of some nests that were unsafe to climb. Nest characteristics and breeding behaviour information gathered in this study provide a practical foundation for the optimisation of the design and installation of more nest boxes in future, to assist in conservation efforts of this threatened species.

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Published

2022-08-24

How to Cite

Carstens, K., Carstens, J., & Wimberger, K. (2022). The Breeding biology of the Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa. Afrotropical Bird Biology: Journal of the Natural History of African Birds, 2. https://doi.org/10.15641/abb.v2i.1181

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Section

Research articles and/or Data papers