Monday, 9 May 2011

Outing report- 7th-8th May 2011 Cape Parrot Count

by Andy Ruffle

Anette Bester and her son with Eric Kok
 waiting for parrots on sunday morning
(Photo Andy Ruffle)

The fourteenth Cape Parrot Big Birding Day (CPBBD) took place this year on 7th & 8th May. Students from the University of Kwazulu Natal , Pietermaritzburg, covered forest patches in Ingeli and Mpesheni, whilst Birdlife Trogons revisited their usual site at Mpur in the Glengarry area.

With the weather being kind to them, the Trogons, represented by Andy Ruffle, Jeanette and Herbie Osborne, Eric Kok and MD & Annette Bester and their children, were thrilled to record a total of seventeen birds this year, this being well in excess of previous counts at Mpur. However, despite being an outstanding result for this site, it does not necessarily reflect the full picture of the current status of the Cape Parrot . This will be revealed once Professor Colleen Downs, from UKZN, releases the final data for this year's count.

The Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) is endemic to South Africa . It’s distribution is discontinuous in Afromontane forests from Port Beaufort, E Cape to Karkloof, KZN, with a small relict population at Wolkberg, Limpopo. Formerly common and widespread, the current population of an estimated 1,300 birds is now classified as endangered.
It’s decline is thought to be due to habitat loss, a low reproductive rate, human predation for the pet trade and disease.
With the ongoing research and conservation programmes of the Cape Parrot Working Group, organisers of the CPBBD, it is hoped that this decline can be halted and reversed.

Species recorded:- Long-crested Eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, Burchell's Coucal, Black-headed Heron, Hadeda ibis, Common Fiscal, Cape Wagtail, Black-headed Oriole, Southern Black Flycatcher, Cape White-eye, Speckled Pigeon, Dark-capped Bulbul, Fork-tailed Drongo, Olive Thrush, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Gurney's Sugarbird, Cape Crow, Speckled Mousebird, African Pipit, Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Boubou, Sombre Greenbul, Cape Robin-chat, Forest Buzzard, Natal Spurfowl, African Firefinch, African Crowned Eagle, Black Harrier, Cape Turtle-dove, African Olive Pigeon, Jackal Buzzard, African Harrier-hawk, Knysna Turaco, Cape Parrot, Emerald Cuckoo, Brown Scrub-robin, Southern Black Tit, African Goshawk, Red-eyed Dove, Cape Batis, Barratt's Warbler, Bokmakierie, Yellow-fronted Canary, Red-winged Starling, Little Grebe, African Stonechat, Pied Crow. (47 species) 

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